Harvest Desk

The Salt
9:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Dry January: Giving Up Booze For A Month Does Have Benefits

Give your liver a break every now and then.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 11:37 am

As New Year's resolutions go, cutting back on food and drink are right at the top of the list. And while those resolved to change their eating habits may cut the carbohydrates or say a sweet goodbye to sugar, for regular drinkers, the tradition may involve what's known as a dry January: giving up booze for a month.

But could such a short-term breakup with alcohol really impart any measurable health benefits?

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Harvest Desk
8:58 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Slow Food Film Festival Returns For 5th Year

Credit slowfoodspringfield.org

  Springfield residents curious about raising chickens in their backyard may want to stop by Benedictine University on Saturday, January 25. 

Mad City Chickens is one of five films to be screened at the 5th Annual Slow Food Springfield Film Festival.

The University of Illinois Extension is co-sponsoring the event.  

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Around the Nation
4:12 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Drinking Water Not Tested For Tens Of Thousands Of Chemicals

Al Jones of the West Virginia Department of General Services tests water as he flushes faucets and opens a rest room at the State Capitol in Charleston, W. Va., on Jan. 13, four days after a chemical spill into the Elk River. It wasn't until Jan. 21 that state officials were told by Freedom Industries that a second contaminant had also entered the river.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:48 pm

The fact that a second contaminant in West Virginia's drinking water eluded detection for nearly two weeks — despite intense testing of the water — reveals an important truth about how companies test drinking water: In most cases, they only find the contaminants they're looking for.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data

4-MEI, a chemical created during the manufacturing of caramel color used to dye sodas brown, is under new scrutiny.
iStockphoto

A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.

The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.

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Found Recipes
2:46 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

This paprikash recipe may be well-traveled — from Hungary to Australia — but its belly-warming comforts haven't changed a bit.
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:32 pm

For many people, paprikash means winter. After all, it's a dish fit for cold, gray days: A belly-warming mix of meat and spices, it's the perfect cure for the doldrums of late January.

For Merelyn Chalmers, though, the classic Hungarian casserole recalls someone far dearer: her mother, Yolanda. A survivor of Auschwitz, Yolanda had rebuilt her life in Perth, Australia, after the war. "My mum was Hungarian," Chalmers explains. "We ate paprikash probably five nights a week. This was something that she just threw together when I wasn't feeling well."

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The Salt
11:48 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Turns Out The Ancient Greeks Were Quite The Grill Masters

Souvlaki skewers in a replica of a tray the Mycenaeans used to prepare their food in ancient Greece.
Courtesy of Julie Hruby

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:33 pm

Mycenaean civilization, the forerunner to classical Greece and the backdrop for the Illiad and the Odyssey, is best known for its lavish palaces and treasure-filled tombs.

But thanks to one enterprising researcher, we've learned that the Mycenaeans also knew how to throw a pretty mean barbeque.

For a long time, archaeologists couldn't figure out how ancient Greeks used the cookware found at excavation sites from the Mycenaean period, which lasted from 1600 to 1100 B.C.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Thu January 23, 2014

An Innovative Plan To Reel In Sport Fishermen To Feed The Hungry

Students prepare fish cakes that will be part of a free dinner offered at Parkside Neighborhood Center in Portland, Maine.
Courtesy of Samantha Laster

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:41 pm

Portland, Maine, native Hollis McLaughlin's recollection of his mother's fish cookery produces a wistful expression as he takes a bite of the fish cakes given to him as part of the regular Wednesday night meal he is served free of charge at the Parkside Neighborhood Center.

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Harvest Desk
5:46 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Cargill Settles Hiring Discrimination Suit At Beardstown Plant, Others

The Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Beardstown
Credit WBEZ

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. will pay $2.2 million as part of settlement with the federal government over discrimination allegations involving three of its U.S. meat processing plants.
 
The money will be used to pay back wages and interest to nearly 3,000 applicants who were rejected for jobs at facilities in Springdale, Ark.; Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Beardstown, Ill., between 2005 and 2009.
 
U.S. Department of Labor officials say the company's hiring process discriminated based on sex, race and ethnicity.
 

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Small-Batch Distilleries Ride The Craft Liquor Wave

Evan Parker built the interior space of the distillery himself in a small warehouse near the coast. Parker and his business partner, Mat Perry, have desks overlooking their 400-gallon copper kettle and still.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Wherever you live, you're probably not too far from a local microbrewery making beer. Now, the latest trend is the spread of what you might call "micro-boozeries." Craft liquor distilleries are springing up around the country like little wellheads spouting gin, whiskey and rum.

Turkey Shore Distilleries in Ipswich, Mass., is one of them.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.

Monsanto and John Deere are offering competing versions of this service. Both are promising to mine that data for tips that will put more money in farmers' pockets.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How A Little Chill In The Air Could Help You Lose Weight

Researchers say that setting your thermostat a little lower can help you burn more calories.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:11 am

When it comes to tackling obesity, eating right and staying active are usually the way to go. But a research team in the Netherlands says there's an environmental factor that might help and that is often overlooked: the cold.

We're not talking bone-chilling temperatures that'll make you shiver endlessly, but a milder cold between 62 and 77 degrees.

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Shots - Health News
12:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Failing To Get Off The Couch May Contribute To Heart Failure

I'll be what I am, a sedentary man.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:12 am

The more we learn about sitting, the more perilous it seems to be.

Flabby muscles, fuzzy thinking and all manner of cardiovascular disease can get started or get worse when we're hanging out on the couch, stuck in traffic or just parked in a chair for too long.

Now there's evidence that heart failure — when your heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood through your arteries — can be brought on by a sedentary lifestyle and also, more generally, a lack of physical activity.

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Long John Silver's Throws Trans Fats Overboard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)

But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.

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The Salt
10:27 am
Wed January 22, 2014

More Signs A Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Ills

A study found that a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and olive oil was associated with a lower risk of a cardiovascular condition called peripheral artery disease.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 1:54 pm

There's fresh evidence that a Mediterranean diet can help cut the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

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Harvest Desk
8:17 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Opinions Pouring In On EPA Ethanol Proposal

Some commenting on the EPA's proposal to reduce the ethanol mandate even include hand-written appeals.
Credit Regulations.gov

Dear EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

Your inbox is filling up fast. Both ethanol supporters and critics are responding in bulk to the agency’s November proposal to reduce the ethanol mandate for 2014. Over 13,000 comments are in so far.

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Kitchen Window
6:48 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Sea Scallops: A Winter Treat From Maine's Chilly Waters

Laura McCandlish for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:52 am

A joy of living in Maine is year-round access to bountiful, relatively affordable, ultra-fresh seafood. Sure, there's the ubiquitous lobster, especially plentiful come summer.

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Harvest Desk
6:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Harvest Desk: Ethanol At A Crossroads

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. The company also make distillers grains from the corn, which is used to feed livestock; corn oil which can be made into biodiesel; and CO2 which is used in soft drinks.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A steady stream of semi-trailers rolls across the scales at the E Energy ethanol plant near the town of Adams in southeast Nebraska. The smokestack behind the scale house sends up a tall plume of white steam. The sweet smell of fermenting corn is in the air.

E Energy buys 65 million bushels of corn each day from area farmers and turns it into 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.

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The Salt
2:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?

A woman shops in the produce section at Whole Foods in New York City. The company recently announced it would prohibit produce farmed using biosolids in its stores.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

If you've ever shopped at Whole Foods, you've probably noticed that some of the foods it sells claim all kinds of health and environmental virtues. From its lengthy list of unacceptable ingredients for food to its strict rules for how seafood is caught and meat is raised, the company sets a pretty high bar for what is permitted on its coveted shelves.

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The Salt
9:57 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Why Letting Kids Serve Themselves May Be Worth The Mess

Adults tend to overestimate how much small children can eat, a child development researcher says.
Getty Images/iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:58 pm

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals "family-style" — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

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Food
4:19 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It's A Cultural Heritage ... And An Art Form

Genuine soba noodles are difficult to find in the U.S.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:10 am

Traditional Japanese cuisine, known as washoku, is now an intangible cultural heritage, according to the United Nations.

Tofu, mochi and miso are a few examples, but it's the buckwheat noodle, or soba, that many consider the humble jewel of Japanese cuisine. It's not easy to find in the U.S., but one Los Angeles woman is helping preserve the craft of making soba.

In a cooking classroom off a busy street in L.A., Sonoko Sakai is teaching about the simplicity of making buckwheat noodles.

"Basically, soba is only two things: flour and water," Sakai explains.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

D.C. Barbecue Joint Serves Food For Soul And Mind

Chef Furard Tate says he wanted to "bring love back" to a Washington, D.C., neighborhood damaged since the 1968 riots.
Allison Keyes NPR

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Chef Furard Tate is the kind of man who never sits still. He flits from the order desk at Inspire BBQ back to the busy kitchen, where young men are seasoning sauce, cooking macaroni and cheese, and finishing off some dry-rubbed ribs smoked on a grill.

"We grill on a real grill," Tate says. "None of this electric stuff."

But as important as the food is, Tate says it's also important that it's made by young hands who must learn a slow, consistent process.

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The Salt
7:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

How Food Hubs Are Helping New Farmers Break Into Local Food

Marty Travis (right) started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:10 pm

Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.

But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

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Harvest Desk
6:56 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Illinois Meat Packer Recalls Hams

Credit USDA

A northern Illinois meat packer is recalling more than 67,000 thousand pounds of sliced spiral ham due to possible Listeria contamination.

Gusto packing shipped the hams to wholesalers in Illinois and three other states.  It includes Centrella Signature, Amish Valley and Ripple Creek Farm Brands.

The problem was discovered when Gusto Packing’s internal sampling program found some of its products tested positive for the bacteria which causes isteriosis

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants

Kendall Schrantz, center, stretches after a class at Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth.
Lauren Silverman for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you want to lift weights or use the treadmill at Downsize Fitness, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

Kendall Schrantz is a fan – and a member.

The 24-year-old has struggled with her weight since she was in the second grade. The looks she got at other gyms made her uncomfortable.

But now she drives more than an hour to Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth three times a week, just to exercise.

"It's worth every single penny I paid for gas," she said. "It's worth the time I spend on the road, the miles."

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The Salt
4:16 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Cooking With Conifers: An Evergreen Trick That's Newly Hip

Gabrielle Hamilton prepares pine needles at Prune Restaurant in New York City.
Julia Gillard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:17 pm

If you still have your Christmas tree up in your living room because you just can't bear the thought of throwing out all that fine pine scent, then you may be an evergreen addict. If you still have it up because you're too lazy to take off the ornaments, then you may be a hoarder, but that's another post.

Fear not, conifer connoisseurs. You don't have to wait for the holidays to surround yourself with spruce. American chefs from coast to coast are using evergreens to develop unique flavors in dishes, from white fir and sorrel broth to pine needle vinegar to smoked mussels.

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

And The Best Supporting Actor Award Goes To ... Side Dishes

To appeal to the high-rollers of the world, like the ones in The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, restaurants are doling out more expensive sides.
Mary Cybulski AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:57 pm

There's a lot that's over the top about "The Wolf of Wall Street," the Oscar-nominated film that's up for best pictures. Including the side dishes.

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Diet Soda: Fewer Calories In The Glass May Mean More On The Plate

Ditching sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of diet ones shaves the empty calories. But it doesn't help if you make up for those calories on your plate.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:17 pm

If only dropping pants sizes were as easy as switching from Coke to Coke Zero.

Sure, you're cutting out empty calories when you ditch the sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of artificially sweetened ones. But there's a growing body of research that suggests this isn't really helping in the battle of the bulge.

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The Salt
7:20 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Congress Blocks Slaughtering Horses For Meat In U.S.

Americans may recoil at the thought of eating horse meat, but other countries feel quite differently, as the sign above this butcher shop in Paris attests.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 8:07 am

When a federal ban on slaughtering horses to produce horse meat was lifted several years back, ranchers including Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co., stepped up to start operations with an aim to export the meat.

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Harvest Desk
5:48 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Midwest Takes A Look At Labeling GMOs

Labeling advocates in Colorado are hoping to get an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Credit brdavid/flickr

Last year, we counted between 20 and 30 state legislatures considering bills that mandate labeling on genetically engineered foods or foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Still a hot-topic, many labeling laws are working their way through statehouses all over the nation – even in farm country.

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The Salt
2:37 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

Lunch at the West Salem School District in Wisconsin.
Michelle Kloser for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

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