Monthly Archives: September 2016

Fall is Upon Us…Don’t Let Summer Produce Go to Waste!

Farmer’s markets, home gardens, a friendly neighbor’s garden, county fairs, farm stands, or your local produce store: these are the reasons why there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables in my patient’s homes during the summer months in New Jersey. We stock up on the farm market deals!

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However, as fall approaches, we are running out of time to consume all of these good finds. Have you ever found your fruits and vegetables to spoil before you had time to use them? What a waste!

Here are some general guidelines about how to preserve those delicious and nutritious additions to our days.

  1. “Freezing fruits and vegetables will retard the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeasts. However, once thawed, the microorganisms may continue to grow.” Therefore, save your favorites before they sit out for a week or two. Your fruits and vegetables will last longer, and continue to taste great! According to the National Center for the Home Food Preservation, fruits and vegetables can be stored in the freezer up to 8-12 months.
  2. You must blanch vegetables prior to freezing to prevent enzyme activity loss. This will cause some nutrient loss, but not as much as results from not blanching the vegetables before freezing.” Always follow recommended blanching times, for this can cause loss of flavor.
  3. Should you put the fruit or vegetable directly in the freezer? Absolutely not! Foods that are not packaged properly in the freezer can become dry or tough, which can lead to off flavors. Use moisture vapor-proof or resistant packaging, glass jars, plastic freezing containers, heavy-weight aluminum foil, plastic-coated freezer paper, and plastic wrap. This will help prevent moisture from escaping from the food (helping to prevent freezer burn!)

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Above are the reasons why…but what is the how? How do we freeze fruits and vegetables?

  1. Freeze vegetables ASAP. You can freeze them after picking, when they are at the prime of their ripeness. Be sure to research specific guidelines on how to blanch each specific vegetable, for vegetables must be blanched before being frozen. You can find how to freeze your favorite vegetable here: http://www.nutrition411.com/content/freezing-fruits-and-vegetables-tips-and-tricks
  2. Freeze fruit ASAP. Wash the fruit, pare and remove pits, seeds, and blemishes. Ascorbic acid can be helpful on fruit that is more likely to turn brown (for example, apples). Flavor is most preserved when sweetening is used.

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It’s the end of the summer, but you still have a kitchen stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. Do you have to eat all of them in a few days in order to prevent them from going to waste? OF COURSE NOT. Freeze them properly, and you will be able to enjoy those summer fruits and vegetables up to 12 months AFTER the season concludes!

Want more tips? Ideas? Suggestions? Recipes? Contact one of our dietitians today to schedule an appointment for a consult! Let us do the research for you to help you get health. Call now: 609-738-3143.

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Michele Wroblewski, RDN

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501

www.carusoptrd.com

mwroblewski@carusoptrd.com

609-738-3143

 

 

References

How do I?…freeze. National Center for Home Food Preservation Web site. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html. Accessed September 19, 2016.

How to freeze 16 fruits and vegetables. EatingWell Web site. http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_techniques/kitchen_tips_techniques/how_to_freeze_16_fruits_and_vegetables. Accessed September 19, 2016.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Freezing: Fruits and Vegetables. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/publications/PM1045.pdf. Revised July 2011. Accessed September 19, 2016.

Organic vs. Inorganic Foods…Marketing Scam? Or Does it Impact Our Health?

I am often asked as a dietitian, do you feel organic foods are more beneficial? Is it worth spending the extra money on foods that contain non-GMOs, no artificial sweeteners, and are grown organically? What does organic on a food label even signify?

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Within this article, I will outline the facts on what the term “organic” really means when referred to on food labels, and allow you as the consumer to make the call. Will organic foods benefit your individual needs?

Get the facts before you shop.

“The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.”

“Farmers who grow organic produce don’t use conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds. Examples of organic farming practices include using natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.”

So what should you look for on the product’s label to determine whether or not the food is organic or inorganic? Can labeling companies lie or deceive?

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.”

Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. However, using the following seal is not required, but is typically included.

Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal.

 

Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal.

Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal.

However, a product does not have to be completely made of organic ingredients to be labeled organic. Foods that are composed of multiple ingredients can still be labeled organic even if all of the ingredients are not organically grown. “Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term. Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can’t use the seal or the word “organic” on their product labels. They can include the organic items in their ingredient list, however.”

Is organic food more nutritious? Research is still being conducted on this topic. Although higher antioxidant levels, lower levels of the metal cadmium, and decreased pesticides were found in organic foods, not enough studies were conducted of the effect this has on human health. Studies have consistently shown that organic and inorganic foods are no different in nutrient content.

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So why do consumers choose organic? Some prefer the taste. Others like that there are fewer pesticide residues than conventional produce. However, it is important to note that residues do not exceed governmental safety standards, both on inorganic and organic. If you are looking to decrease the amount of food additives you consume, such as artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and monosodium glutamate, organic is the way to go, for the term bans or severely restricts food additives.

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So what can you do to make sure you are an informed consumer? Be sure to read the food label. Just because a product is “organic” does not mean it is healthier, it will most likely be higher in sugar, sodium, and fat to compensate for the lack of preservatives.

Not sure where to start on the food label to determine whether or not the food is beneficial to your journey to health? Shoot us an email or call one of our dietitians at Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition at 609-738-3143! Let us be your reliable source to all your nutrition needs!

 

Michele Wroblewski, RDN

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501

www.carusoptrd.com

mwroblewski@carusoptrd.com

609-738-3143

References

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279564.php

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880