Harvest Desk

The Salt
3:21 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

Read more
The Salt
10:51 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood

A sperm whale entangled in a drift net. A report says commercial fisheries around the world kill or injure 650,000 mammals a year.
Alberto Romero Marine Photobank

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn't as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.

Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.

There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. After a public backlash, fishermen figured out how to minimize that so-called bycatch.

Read more
Kitchen Window
7:14 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Leftover Liquor Finds New Life As Liqueur

Eve Turow for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:24 am

Years ago, on an overnight bus ride in Argentina, a waiter poked his head through the drawn curtains: "Whiskey or Tia Maria?" he offered as a post-meal drink. Unfamiliar with the latter, I decided to take a taste. He steadied himself on the rocking walls and poured me a serving of the almond-colored digestif. I could smell the coffee aromatics as I took my first sip. The sweet liqueur popped on my taste buds with flavors of vanilla, coconut and rum. "Good, right?" he asked. I nodded. As the sugar and alcohol settled my stomach, I knew I had to learn more about this dinnertime tradition.

Read more
The Salt
5:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

A Cheesy Meltdown: Kraft Warns Of Velveeta Shortage

According to an AdvertisingAge report, Velveeta may be a little hard to come by in some areas over the next few weeks.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:24 pm

If I say Super Bowl food, you think ... Velveeta? Maybe Velveeta with Ro*Tel.

Oh, yes. Ro*Tel's Famous Con Queso.

What could be more Sunday-in-January-indulgent than hot, creamy, processed cheese mixed with diced tomatoes & green chilies.

I have to admit, I've scooped up my share of con queso on a nacho chip or two.

Read more
The Salt
6:21 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Think You're Cold And Hungry? Try Eating In Antarctica

Morrie Fisher drinks at Mawson Station, an Australian base in East Antarctica, in 1957. Apparently, these sorts of amusements tend to pop up when you're bored in a barren landscape.
Courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Division

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:24 pm

If the icy blast of polar air that's descended upon much of the U.S. over the last couple of days has you reaching for the cookie jar for comfort โ€” and ready to give up on those New Year's resolutions โ€” then seriously? It's time to toughen up. Just think: At least you're not in the Antarctic.

Read more
The Salt
6:05 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Top Diets Of 2014 (Hint: It's Probably Not What You Think)

Keep the rice brown and the skin off the chicken for a Spanish rice dinner that could qualify for the top-ranked DASH diet. Here's the DASH-approved recipe.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:27 pm

U.S. News has ranked 32 diets, and which one comes out on top?

The DASH diet. It's an acronym for a dreadfully dull name, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. Haven't heard of it?

True, it doesn't get much buzz.

But it's been around for a long time, and there's solid evidence that it works, not just for weight control but also to lower high blood pressure (a condition that affects 1 in 3 adults in the U.S.).

Read more
The Salt
10:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:55 pm

Smithfield, the world's largest hog and pork buyer, announced Tuesday that it's asking the independent farmers with whom it has contracts to get rid of stalls for pregnant sows to improve the animals' living conditions.

To nudge these farmers to make the changes to their facilities by 2022, Smithfield is offering to extend their contracts once they've converted their gestational stalls into group houses, which are generally considered more humane.

Read more
The Salt
7:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!)

At NPR's Sound Bites Cafe, all food gets coded with one of three circles: Green is reserved for the most healthful dishes; yellow flags the "good choices;" and red signals the high-calorie foods to grab "on occasion."
NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:27 pm

Could a little red circle really make me bypass short ribs and mashed potatoes for some cod and rice instead? You've got to be kidding.

Well, a team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital sure think so โ€” at least sometimes โ€” and they have a study that backs them up.

It's research that hits close to home: Last April, when NPR moved into new headquarters, we got a snazzy new cafeteria. And little colored circles started popping up on menus.

Read more
The Salt
2:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Ignatius R

No mouths were harmed in the eating of this sandwich. Except Eva's รขย€ย” she wants Worker's Comp for a bad case of Sandwich Jaw.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:01 pm

It's -16 degrees today here in Chicago, which for many of us has triggered hibernation mode. Fortunately the great Jerry's Sandwiches has created the Ignatius R., with enough calories to get us to the end of winter, which we expect to occur sometime in August.

The ingredient list: fried chicken, cold hickory-smoked sirloin, applewood bacon, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Carolina vinegar, fried shrimp, fried green tomato, mortadella, country ham, pickled okra, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Southwest mayo on a potato bun.

Read more
The Salt
2:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:16 pm

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

Read more
The Salt
2:06 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Amazon Locavore: Meet The Man Putting Brazilian Food On The Map

Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this year.
Cassio Vasconcellos AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

He was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this past year.

Now Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, is putting a new kind of Brazilian food on the map.

Read more
The Salt
1:32 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

In Sao Paulo, Organic Markets Are Beginning To Take Off

As demand for organic food in Brazil rises, organic produce is getting more affordable.
Paula Moura for NPR

Sao Paulo holds the title of the biggest city in Latin America, with an estimated 22 million people in its metropolitan area. But when it comes to local, organic food, the pickings are pretty slim: The city has just 20 organic farmers' markets.

Read more
Food
9:51 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:44 am

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

Read more
The Salt
3:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods โ€” such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken โ€” due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

Read more
The Salt
11:15 am
Fri January 3, 2014

'Cut Food': Take A Peek At The Beauty Inside Everyday Edibles

A hotdog and ice cream cone from Beth Galton and Charlotte Omnes' "Cut Food" series.
Courtesy of Beth Galton

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 10:18 am

Let's assume you've got a beautiful stuffed turkey, some time to kill and a hacksaw just itching to slice things apart. This could be the ingredient list for a real culinary disaster. But if you're Beth Galton and Charlotte Omnes, what you get is a peek inside the beauty baked into everyday foods.

They're the duo behind "Cut Food," a photo series that literally cleaves into edibles โ€” hot dogs, ice cream, fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy โ€” to reveal gorgeous geometric patterns tucked within.

Read more
NPR Story
3:39 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Want To Make Your Life Better? Keep Track Of It

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:51 am

The Quantified Self movement promotes something called life logging. That means tracking all kinds of details of your life in order to improve it. To find out more about the topic, David Greene talks to two people involved with life logging: Kitty Ireland, who works for a life logging app called Saga, and to David Goldstein, who turned to life logging with the help of a coach.

The Salt
2:49 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Cork Versus Screw Cap: Don't Judge A Wine By How It's Sealed

Winemakers are increasingly turning to screw caps. Now consumers are learning to get over their prejudice for cork, too.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:18 pm

Step aside, cork.

If you're a wine drinker, you've probably noticed that screw caps are no longer considered the closure just for cheap vino. Increasingly, bottles of very good wines are unscrewed, rather than uncorked.

Read more
The Salt
4:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Why The Cod On Cape Cod Now Comes From Iceland

With local cod so scarce, Chef Toby Hill of Lyric Restaurant in Yarmouth Port, Mass., tries out a dogfish salad โ€” served here with garlic aioli on toast โ€” instead. Dogfish is still plentiful in New England waters, but wholesale fisheries say there's not much demand for it in the U.S.
Christine Hochkeppel Courtesy of Cape Cod Times

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 1:53 pm

Good luck finding local cod in Cape Cod, Mass.

The fish once sustained New England's fishing industry, but in recent years, regulators have imposed severe catch limits on cod, and the fish remain scarce.

"I've never seen cod fishing this bad," says Greg Walinsky, who has been fishing on Cape Cod for more than 30 years. "It looks to me like it's over. And I can't catch any codfish."

It's so bad, many fishermen say, that for the first time, they cannot catch enough cod to even reach shrinking government quotas.

Read more
The Salt
4:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution

A dead carp floats in water near the shore at Big Creek State Park on Sept. 10 in Polk City, Iowa. Like many agricultural states, Iowa is working with the EPA to enforce clean-water regulations amid degradation from manure spills and farm-field runoff.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 9:27 am

It's a quandary of food production: The same drive for efficiency that lowers the cost of eating also can damage our soil and water.

Take the case of one simple, essential chemical element: phosphorus.

Read more
The Salt
2:53 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Food As Punishment: Giving U.S. Inmates 'The Loaf' Persists

Lisa Brown for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:49 pm

In many prisons and jails across the U.S., punishment can come in the form of a bland, brownish lump. Known as nutraloaf, or simply "the loaf," it's fed day after day to inmates who throw food or, in some cases, get violent. Even though it meets nutritional guidelines, civil rights activists urge against the use of the brick-shaped meal.

Tasteless food as punishment is nothing new: Back in the 19th century, prisoners were given bread and water until they'd earned with good behavior the right to eat meat and cheese.

Read more
The Salt
10:24 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Tummy Beer, Coffee Maker Cooking And Mini-Fasts: 2013's Most Read

Latte art, debunking Julia Child and dishwasher cooking: 2013 had something for everybody.
NPR staff

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 10:10 am

As we review our most popular posts of 2013, we can't help but notice some patterns, dear readers. It seems that you gravitate towards stories on the escapades of bacteria inside the gut, dieting, icky-looking school lunches and cooking tips ranging from how to handle raw chicken to coffee maker and dishwasher cooking.

And that's just fine with us, since those are some of the food stories we love, too.

Read more
The Salt
2:04 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die

Villages in the Lower Shire valley of Malawi, like this one named Jasi, rely heavily on subsistence farming and steady rainfall, and are struggling to produce steady harvests.
Jennifer Ludden/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 10:42 am

Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.

In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.

Read more
Kitchen Window
11:03 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Cooking With A Cup O' Kindness (Beer, Cider Or Booze)

Sheri Castle's quick bread is based on popular beer bread recipes but uses hard apple cider instead.
Sheri Castle for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 5:32 am

In case you want to add a pinch of celebratory beverage to your first meal of the year, we invite you to look through the Kitchen Window. A spirited New Year's can come from the kitchen as well as the bar.

We've featured a number of stories using alcohol as an ingredient in cooking as well as in bartending โ€” if it tastes good in a glass, it tastes good on a plate. It's also a great way to use up any leftover libations from your holiday celebrations.

Read more
The Salt
5:07 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Here's How Young Farmers Looking For Land Are Getting Creative

Chris and Sara Guerre are among a growing number of farmers who have made the choice to rent land to farm instead of buy because of increasing property values.
Zac Visco for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:02 pm

Across the country, there's a wave of interest in local food. And a new generation of young farmers is trying to grow it.

Many of these farmers โ€” many of whom didn't grow up on farms โ€” would like to stay close to cities. After all, that's where the demand for local food is.

The problem is, that's where land is most expensive. So young farmers looking for affordable land are forced to get creative.

Read more
The Salt
2:26 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

A Judge's Cookbook Reveals The Secrets Of Bialys And Bagels

Judge Michael Zusman's bialys are topped with roasted onions, poppy seeds and coarse salt.
Daniel Zwerdling NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:40 pm

There are two important things that you learn about Michael Zusman, baker and co-author of The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home, when you bake with him.

First, his real job has nothing to do with bread or writing recipes: He's a trial judge. "Full time," Zusman says. "Wear a black robe every day."

Read more
The Salt
1:51 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Does Champagne Actually Get You Drunk Faster?

Each bottle of Champagne contains around 50 million bubbles. But will any of them accelerate the inebriation process?
Victor Bezrukov Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:39 pm

Every time I spend New Year's Eve with my mom, she tells me the same thing: "Be careful with that Champagne, honey. The bubbles go straight to the head. And it won't be pretty tomorrow."

Thanks, Mom. Glad you're looking after me after all these years.

But is she right?

Read more
The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

The Other 'F Word': Brewer Responds To Starbucks Over Beer Name

After being told that one of his products infringed on a Starbucks trademark, brewpub owner Jeff Britton wrote the coffee company a check.
Exit 6 Brewery

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:51 pm

In general, getting a cease-and-desist letter from a big corporation isn't the mark of a good day. But after a brewery owner got a letter from a law firm representing Starbucks, he saw a chance to draw distinctions between the businesses โ€” and to be funny.

The coffee company's bone of contention, Missouri brewer Jeff Britton was told in a Dec. 9 letter, was the use of the name "Frappicino" to describe a stout served at Exit 6 Brewery, a brewpub in a tidy strip mall in Cottleville, northwest of St. Louis.

Read more
The Salt
4:57 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Was 2013 Really The Year Of The Paleo Diet?

A paleo-inspired breakfast of salmon, egg, cabbage and bacon.
David Leo Veksler Flickr

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:52 am

Google Trends has released its annual Zeitgeist list so that we can mull over the burning questions of the day.

Read more
The Salt
3:52 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar, But One Variety May Be Best

Studies suggest cinnamon can help control blood sugar, but if you want to incorporate more of this spice in your diet, consider using the Ceylon variety.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:47 am

If I say cinnamon, you say ... sugar? It's a popular combination, of course.

But if you're interested in the health-promoting effects of cinnamon, you may want to think anew about the spice.

For instance, says John Critchley, executive chef at Bourbon Steak Restaurant in Washington, D.C., why not add it to savory dishes? He uses cinnamon to create a spice and herb rub for lamb loin. He also whips up a great spinach salad with raisins, pine nuts and cinnamon.

Read more
Food
7:59 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Taking The Snobbery Out Of Studying Wine

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:12 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

It's almost New Year's Eve when the bubbly flows freely, as friends and family gather reflect on the year that was and raise a glass to the one to come. But it can be tricky to select the right bottle to present to your host or to accompany your own meal, especially if terms like tannin and terroir can make the whole endeavor feel intimidated.

Read more

Pages