fruit http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3918/all en-US Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing? http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-eating-fruit-salad-467006431-small.jpg" alt="woman eating fruit salad" title="woman eating fruit salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An apple a day keeps the psychiatrist away?</p> <p>That's what medical researchers in the UK have learned.</p> <p>In a recent survey of 14,000 individuals, <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140923085945.htm">33.5% of participants with &quot;good mental wellbeing&quot;</a> consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In contrast, only 6.8% of participants with good mental wellbeing consumed less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day. Other health-related behaviors such as alcohol intake and obesity were looked at, but only smoking and fruit and vegetable consumption were the &quot;behaviors most consistently associated with both low and high mental wellbeing.&quot;</p> <p>Getting your daily five (or more!) servings has obvious benefits for your physical health. And now it may be a boost to mental health, too.</p> <p>Need some ideas to help you get more fruits and vege into your body and your brain? Let's see what Wise Bread's writers have suggested over the years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=classicwb">25 Delicious Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a> &mdash; From Artichokes to Zucchini, Ashley Marcin shares one favorite recipe for each of her 25 favorite vegetables.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables?ref=classicwb">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a> &mdash; Frozen vegetables are a great frugal choice &mdash; almost as nutritious as fresh, often way cheaper, and always convenient. Rebecca Lieb shares a long list of easy, delicious recipes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; You're sold on the idea of getting more fruits and vegetables, but you're unsure about how to choose the freshest, most flavorful ones from the bin. No problem. Ashley Watson used to be a produce stocker at her local grocery, and she learned a lot about ripe produce.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce?ref=classicwb">7 Ways to Use Subpar Produce</a> &mdash; Linsey Knerl shows you what to do with a mushy banana or some wilted celery or a flat of overripe strawberries.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor?ref=classicwb">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fresh Fruit for Best Flavor </a>&mdash; Now that you have it home, where do you store it? Ashley Marcin tells you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-incredible-but-true-facts-about-eating-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">10 Incredible But True Facts About Eating Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; Finally, Beth Buczynski uncovers 10 more astounding facts about fruits and veggies, giving you even more reason to fill your cart in the produce section.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink brain food fruit happiness mental health produce vegetables Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Lars Peterson 1222771 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Worst Things to Grow in Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garderner-carrots-450799137-small.jpg" alt="gardener carrots" title="gardener carrots" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A garden can be an amazing investment for the home cook, foodie, or family provider. Most plants can be grown and harvested for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy even a couple meals' worth of produce in the store. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself?ref=seealso">The Only Fruits and Vegetables Worth Growing Yourself</a>)</p> <p>There are other types of plants, however, that offer a weak return on your investment. Here are the vegetables I tend to shy away from, and why you may not want them occupying your precious garden space, either.</p> <h2>Cauliflower</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cauliflower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Cauliflower is a fickle plant in that it has a long growing season before it matures, but also likes it cool. If your part of the country gets hot early, this vegetable may have a hard time. In addition, it needs a little &quot;pampering&quot; to do well. The outer leaves must be grown so that they can be brought up over the head of the cauliflower and tied into place. Assuming you do everything right, they are still prone to beetles and insect damage, which can be hard to deal with in a veggie that is literally hiding away until it is ready. And when you're done with the process, you usually have just the one head to show for all your work anyway.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/carrot%20plant_0.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I have had luck with growing these beauties at least once in my long gardening life, but it required a ton of work.</p> <p>Carrots need an almost perfect soil bed to give them the right Ph level to grow, as well as a completely unobstructed path downward; if they run into anything on their way south, they can stunt or branch off. Two-pronged carrots, while still tasty, are not the goal of the gardener, and it isn't uncommon to dig up spindly or dwarfed produce after a long season of tending to them. Fresh carrots have a flavor that some may find off, depending on the nutrients in the soil you grow them in. Considering that a bag of carrots is usually less than $1 a pound, they are a cheap commodity best purchased in the store or farmer's market. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt?ref=seealso">Baby Carrots: The Frugal Idea That Isn't</a>)</p> <h2>Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Celery%20plant.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What goes best with carrots? Celery, of course! And this also-affordable veggie can be equally painful to grow at home. It's notorious for requiring water and cool temps, but needs a very long time to mature. If you can keep up with the moisture demands and have a soil type that holds moisture, you will be waiting quite a while for your celery.</p> <h2>Head Lettuce</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/head%20lettuce.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. You simply plant the seed, water, and watch it grow. Head lettuce, on the other hand, requires a watchful wait for the lettuce to grow large enough to create the round ball we are used to seeing in the store. In the meantime, steady watering and temps are necessary to keep the plant from creating flowers &mdash; or bolting. Most gardeners we know stay away from head lettuce, as the Midwest gets so hot, and the premature flowering of the plants make them taste bitter. Going with a leaf lettuce blend isn't just easier, your salads will be more colorful, too!</p> <h2>Corn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/corn2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you have a large area to work with, sweet corn can be an easy crop to raise. For the average backyard gardener, however, the amount of ground needed for a substantial crop is more than available.</p> <p>Since corn requires many factors to pollinate, including air movement, one single row of corn will not easily produce. Tall corn can easily blow over in the wind or bad weather, as well, making it difficult for anything less than 20 plants to stay upright. Corn usually only puts on two ears or so per plant, giving a lower yield than most garden plants. In the end, it might be easier to stop at that roadside stand and invest in their five for a dollar sale.</p> <p>As with any article on gardening, your mileage will vary by your location, experience, and luck. Even the most seasoned growers have bad years &mdash; and favorite plants!</p> <p><em>What veggie have you sworn off growing? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff">Confessions of a Minimalist: 9 Reasons I Miss My Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle fruit gardens vegetables Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1180565 at http://www.wisebread.com Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor? http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-180908039.jpg" alt="fruit" title="fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fruits have been on the planet for far longer than refrigerators have been plugged into kitchen wall sockets. So why are many of us inclined to stick all our fruit in this chilly contraption immediately upon returning home from the store? It probably has a little to do with habit and a lot to do with ignorance, in the sweetest sense of the word. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=seealso">Guide to Choosing Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <p>When it comes to fruits, there are those that thrive in refrigeration and those that don't. A down-and-dirty way to identify these foods is by sight, smell, and touch. Those fruits that are ripe, especially overly so, when you grab them and stash in your cart should be placed in the cold.</p> <p>Thing is, a lot of the foods shipped to your local grocer are picked <em>before</em> they are ripe. If they don't have opportunity to develop properly, you'll be more inclined to toss them out, along with whatever money you spent on them. Over time, that waste can add up to some major lost dollars. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor?ref=seealso">How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Flavor</a>)</p> <p>Here's a quick guide for how to handle some of your favorites.</p> <h2>Avocados</h2> <p>How many times have you reached down to squeeze the flesh of an avocado, only to find it hard as a rock? That firm texture means the fruit isn't ripened and, therefore, will not thrive in the refrigerator. Avocados can take up to five days to ripen, so Haas experts suggest storing &quot;<a href="http://www.avocadocentral.com/how-to/how-to-store-how-to-ripen-avocados">unripe [avocados] at room temperature</a> unless room conditions exceed that range.&quot;</p> <h2>Bananas</h2> <p>Bananas, when ripe, should be a cheery yellow color with even a few brown spots in the mix. Often when we see them at the store, they are still green and need a few days to graduate. The ripening process will be slowed &mdash; or halted entirely &mdash; by placing bananas in the refrigerator. They might also turn black in the fridge, though they'll still be edible. Chiquita experts recommend <a href="http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Banana-Information/selecting-handling-ripening-bananas.aspx">keeping bananas on the counter</a>, perhaps beside those lonely avocados. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels?ref=seealso">Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a>)</p> <h2>Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Watermelon</h2> <p>Unless you grab a particularly sweet smelling, heavy melon from the bunch, you'll likely want to keep these guys out of the fridge as well. These types of fruits take up to two days to ripen fully, but once they achieve those classic signs (soft, sweet smelling, heavy), you can <a href="http://www.organicauthority.com/fruits/honeydew-melon.html">store them in the fridge</a> for up to five days (whole) or three days (cut and covered).</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>I always placed my tomatoes in the refrigerator until my CSA farmers told me not to. Texture is the main issue, as they will get softer prematurely. The good news: Tomatoes left out at room temperature (out of direct sunlight, note our farmers) do surprisingly well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tantalizing-fresh-tomato-recipes?ref=seealso">25 Fresh Tomato Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>Citrus Fruits</h2> <p>According to the folks at Sunkist, most citrus fruits &mdash; oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, limes &mdash; will last on the <a href="http://www.sunkist.com/products/buying_storing_handling.aspx">counter for several days</a> before requiring refrigeration. They also suggest once transferring to the refrigerator to &quot;store in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer&quot; for best results.</p> <h2>Mangoes</h2> <p>As yet another fruit that will not ripen in the refrigerator, mangoes can reach their peak ripeness with <a href="http://www.mangoes.net.au/buying_storage/storage.aspx">a few days on the counter out of the sun</a>. A paper bag may help move things along, but once they're soft and fragrant, experts say to move those mangoes to the refrigerator for up to a week.</p> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p>Did you know that a pineapple's color doesn't indicate its ripeness? I certainly didn't! Instead, their color is dictated by the time of year. Regardless, pineapples are picked when they are ready to eat, so Dole experts recommend <a href="http://www.dole.com/Company-Info/FAQ/Fresh-Fruit#4">storing pineapples at room temperature</a> until they are cut into. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-ways-to-use-pineapple?ref=seealso">Delicious Ways to Use Pineapple</a>)</p> <h2>Stone Fruits</h2> <p>Sadly, peaches, plums, and nectarines are almost always unripe when I see them at our grocery store. I used to refrigerate, but I found they never softened or sweetened. Experts suggest letting them sit &mdash; stems down &mdash; <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/select-store-cook-summer-produce-10000001816223/page11.html">on the counter until they show those classic ripening</a> signs. I then transfer mine to the refrigerator to use within a few days, if I don't eat them all first.</p> <h2>Berries</h2> <p>Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and all other varieties can be frustrating. They are usually quite ripe upon inspection and seem to spoil almost immediately upon returning home. Refrigeration helps, but to avoid the green fuzz and mushy texture, follow these helpful steps, including <a href="http://food52.com/blog/6970-how-to-keep-berries-fresh-for-longer">washing them in a solution of water and vinegar</a> to ward off the dreaded mold.</p> <h2>Apples</h2> <p>Well, apples are tricky. You technically <em>can</em> place them in the refrigerator right away. However, if you're low on space, they stay fresh just as long on your countertop as they do in the cold. I've found that when I keep my apples out and visible, I use them up before they spoil, which helps eliminate food waste.</p> <p><em>Did I overlook your favorite fruit? Where do you store it &mdash; fridge, pantry, or counter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor">How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Freshness and Flavor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better">How to Store Herbs to Make Them Last Longer and Taste Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar">Going Back to the Root Cellar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food storage fruit fruit storage Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:36:29 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1127921 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Freshness and Flavor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruit-picking-3606314-small.jpg" alt="picking fruit" title="picking fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you stand in the produce section poking and prodding your fruit before making your picks? That&#39;s OK in some instances, since many fruits continue ripening after they&#39;ve been picked. But not all fruits are created equal. For some, the ripening process stops once they&#39;re plucked from the plant from which they came. How do you know which fruits continue ripening and which don&#39;t? Take a look at our list of fruits that get better with age and those that come as they are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">Produce Worker&#39;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <h2>Fruits That Ripen After Picking</h2> <p>These fruits, called climacteric fruits, <a href="http://host.madison.com/news/local/ask/curiosities/curiosities-why-do-fruits-such-as-peaches-and-melons-stop/article_2efcffd2-03c1-11e1-b065-001cc4c03286.html">continue to ripen</a> after picking because of the natural chemicals they contain &mdash; primarily ethylene gas &mdash; that are produced from within the fruit. These <a href="http://www.chemistry-blog.com/2011/10/12/fruit-ripening-how-does-it-work/">chemicals release enzymes called amylases, which turn stored starch into sugar</a> making the fruits sweeter. Other enzymes &mdash; hydrolases &mdash; break down the fruit&#39;s chlorophyll, resulting in richer color. The fruit also becomes softer, which can lead to &quot;over-ripening,&quot; as the amount of pectin is lessened by enzymes called pectinases.</p> <p>Once you bring them home, here&#39;s how to store climacteric fruits to ensure that they ripen properly, courtesy of <a href="http://fruitguys.com/almanac/2012/07/02/fresh-fruit-storage-and-ripening-tips">The Fruitguys Almanac</a>:</p> <p><strong>Melons</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate for up to 10 days.</p> <p><strong>Peaches and Nectarines</strong></p> <p>You can speed up the ripening process of peaches and other stone fruits by placing them in a paper bag. Otherwise, they should be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight and heat.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-4760143-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Apples</strong></p> <p>Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat. Apples can last up to six weeks in the fridge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-fantastic-uses-for-apples">23 Great Ways to Use Apples</a>)</p> <p><strong>Avocados</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe. A ripe avocado will yield to firm gentle pressure, and the color will be almost black. To speed up the ripening process if you&#39;ve bought under-ripe avocados, place them in a paper bag for a couple of days.</p> <p><strong>Mangoes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days.</p> <p><strong>Pears</strong></p> <p>Pears are normally picked before peak ripeness to avoid bruising during transit. Store at room temperature away from sunlight and heat. When a pear gives to touch, it&#39;s ready to eat.</p> <p><strong>Tomatoes</strong></p> <p>Do not refrigerate tomatoes until they&#39;re fully ripe; allowing to ripen at room temperature <a href="http://lifehacker.com/10-food-preservation-tips-in-60-seconds-1442183179">with the stem side down</a> will result in more flavorful tomatoes.</p> <p><strong>Bananas</strong></p> <p>Store bananas at room temperature away from direct sunlight and heat. Bananas should not be placed in the fridge as this will turn the skin black. To speed up the ripening process for not-quite-ripe bananas, place them in a paper bag with an apple overnight. Once they&#39;re ripe though, keep them longer by <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Keep-Bananas-Fresh-Longer-slices-too/?ALLSTEPS">wrapping the stems in plastic</a>.</p> <p><strong>Plums</strong></p> <p>Like peaches and pears, plums are sweet and delicious when they give softly to gentle touch. Store away from direct sunlight and heat.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-3564389-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Guava</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <p><strong>Cantaloupes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.</p> <p><strong>Kiwis</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe. A ripe kiwi will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days, while a very firm unripe kiwi will keep in the fridge for up to two months.</p> <h2>Fruits That Don&#39;t Ripen After Picking</h2> <p>These fruits, called <em>non-climacteric</em> fruits, ripen only while they&#39;re still attached to the plant. Once they&#39;re picked, the ripening process stops. Unlike climacteric fruits that you can allow to ripen at home if they&#39;re under-ripe when you buy them (giving you an increased amount of time to consume them), when non-climacteric are picked at the peak of ripeness, the rapid-rot potential is hastened. On the flip side, if these fruits are picked when they&#39;re not quite ripe yet, the result could be a harder, tarter fruit than you&#39;d like.</p> <p>Here&#39;s how to store them.</p> <p><strong>Berries (Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries)</strong></p> <p>Since berries are a non-climacteric fruit, they&#39;re already ripe when you buy them. As such, they should be consumed immediately. But you can help them keep a little longer by <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5917593/make-berries-stay-fresh-longer-by-storing-them-in-a-single-layer-and-other-produce-freshness-tips">storing them in a single layer</a>, so the juices don&#39;t leak onto the berries below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts">How to Preserve In-Season Foods for Off-Season Treats</a>)</p> <p><strong>Watermelons</strong></p> <p>Wrap cut up melon tightly in plastic or foil or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <p><strong>Cherries</strong></p> <p>Do not wash cherries until you&#39;re ready to eat. Excess can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to a week.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-5312635-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Figs</strong></p> <p>Another non-climacteric fruit, figs are picked ripe. Enjoy them right away or store them in the fridge until you&#39;re ready to eat them.</p> <p><strong>Grapes</strong></p> <p>Do not wash grapes until you&#39;re ready to eat. Excess can be stored in the fridge in a perforated plastic bag (what they usually come in from the supermarket) for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Grapefruit</strong></p> <p>Grapefruits will stay fresh at room temperature for a week and up to several weeks in the fridge.</p> <p><strong>Oranges and Tangerines</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature for a couple weeks or in the fridge for up to several weeks.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-5262409-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Lemons and Limes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature for a couple weeks or in the fridge for up to several weeks.</p> <p><strong>Pineapple</strong></p> <p>Wrap cut up pineapple tightly in plastic or foil or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <h2>How to Pick the Best Fruit at the Supermarket</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-4854094-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>I found this <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Fruit">handy guide to picking fruit</a> (from wikiHow) that may help you take home the best produce available the next time you&#39;re shopping. Three tips include:</p> <p><strong>1. Buy in Season</strong></p> <p>Out-of-season fruit has a longer distance to travel because it comes from further away, so it&#39;s always best to buy in-season produce to ensure a higher quality of freshness and flavor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Veggies By the Month</a>)</p> <p><strong>2. Use Your Senses</strong></p> <p>Employ your senses of touch, smell, and sight to pick the best produce. Instituting a little common sense doesn&#39;t hurt either. If there are a lot of bruises or (eek!) mold, steer clear.</p> <p><strong>3. Check the Stem</strong></p> <p>If your fruit has a stem on it, use it as a guide to determine freshness. A green stem on ripe fruit is a winner; a green stem on hard fruit permits caution.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for choosing the best fruits and how to store them properly? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food storage fruit fruit storage groceries ripe fruit Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1015627 at http://www.wisebread.com The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_produce.jpg" alt="Child looking at fresh produce" title="Child looking at fresh produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've had a few requests lately from readers who want to know more about how to get the most out of their fruits and vegetables. Keeping your produce fresh begins at the store. As a former produce stocker, I can tell you that most grocery stores use a variety of tricks to keep profit margins high and the waste to a minimum. If you know what to look for, then you can be sure to pick fruits and veggies that will have a longer shelf life at home.</p> <p>I put together a list of 25 commonly purchased grocery items and provided some basic purchasing tips based on my experience working in the produce department. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables by the Month</a>)</p> <h3>Avocados</h3> <p>Choosing that perfect avocado can be tricky. Because avocados will only ripen after they are picked, it's really hit or miss in terms of what shape they are in by the time they reach their destination. You can tell if an avo is ripe by the color and how firm it is. If it is bright green and hard, it won't be ready for a few days at least. A ripe avocado will be slightly soft and have a dark green skin, but it shouldn't be too soft. If push your finger into the skin and feel a &quot;space&quot; between the skin and flesh, it is past its prime. If you can't find a ripe avocado at the store, you can always speed up the ripening process by placing it in a brown paper bag, which helps trap the natural <a href="http://www.catalyticgenerators.com/whatisethylene.html">ethylene gas that causes many fruits to ripen</a>. Placing an apple or banana in the bag also helps.</p> <h3>Bananas</h3> <p>Finding ripe bananas is similar to hunting for ready-to-eat avocados &mdash; they are grown in tropical regions, picked early, and shipped to far away places. Customers would often pass up bananas with a few brown spots because they thought they were &quot;overripe.&quot; I would always peel one and let the customer taste, and most people would agree that this is when the banana is at its best. Lastly, from a strictly environmental perspective, you don't have to put your bananas in a plastic bag to bring them to the checkout (same for avocados). I've never understood this phenomenon, since this is one of the only fruits that has an inedible skin. Just be mindful next time you are at the store, and ask yourself, &quot;Do I really need a bag for this?&quot;</p> <h3>Basil</h3> <p>In the summer, many stores will display large bunches of basil in a bucket of water, which tends to look nice for about 24 hours. Make sure you are picking the healthiest bunch; the leaves shouldn't be droopy or shriveled, and they should have a strong aroma. If the basil is bagged, make sure there aren't any black leaves inside. A few spots are okay, but look for the bunch with the greenest leaves. Like most produce, the older items are rotated to the front when the display is restocked, so you may have to dig around a little. If you still can't find healthy-looking basil, ask someone in the department to check in the back. Basil is one of those items that is delivered often, but the new batch may not be on the floor yet.</p> <h3>Beets</h3> <p>Beets, turnips, parsnips, celery root, and other root veggies should never be soft. If your store displays them in a cooler that is too cold or wet, they will tend to get soft faster. Make sure they are hard and colorful, particularly if you plan on making a fresh beet salad or juice. It isn't as much of an issue if you plan to cook root veggies.</p> <h3>Berries</h3> <p>Mold is the biggest issue with berries, particularly the more delicate ones, such as raspberries and blackberries. In the summer, try to buy local berries sold in paper pints. Pick up the pint to check for any wet spots on the bottom, and try to gently shake the berries around to see if there's any hidden mold or broken berries. Mold spreads quickly once it is in the package, particularly plastic packaging. But even in the package, you can often detect bad berries by the smell. It's generally better to buy berries when they are in season since they will have more flavor and cost significantly less. Because they are so delicate and there's a lot of loss, produce departments have to mark up out-of-season berries.</p> <h3>Broccoli</h3> <p>There is some contention over whether it is best to buy crowns or bunches. Crowns tend to be more expensive, but bunches are sold by weight, and if you add the weight of the stalk, it can be just as costly. It really depends on whether or not you will use the stalks. In any case, you want to make sure that the crowns have a dark green hue. If they look pale or have yellow spots, they are on their way out. You can also squeeze the tops to make sure the broccoli is firm. The same goes for cauliflower. Look for a firm head with little to no brown spots.</p> <h3>Carrots</h3> <p>If your store offers bulk carrots, these are your best choice for quality, and they are much cheaper. As a general rule, bagged items have traveled many miles and may have begun to break down. Buying local will guarantee that you are getting the crispest carrots, but if local carrots aren't available, find out the source of the other options (most of the time you can find this information on the bag or ask an employee). Usually, you can find carrots that haven't traveled too far. Carrots should be bright in color and look &quot;alive.&quot; Avoid anything that looks limp, dry, dark, or moldy (similar to other root veggies).</p> <h3>Citrus</h3> <p>A good rule of thumb for citrus is that most varieties <a href="http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/2006/06/what_is_ripe.html">will not ripen after they are picked</a>. So it is best to buy citrus that is ripe but not rotting. Look for a firm fruit with vibrant colors. Avoid anything that is bruised, wrinkled, or lacking in color.</p> <h3>Corn</h3> <p>Corn will last longer if you buy it with the husk and don't shuck it until you are ready to cook it. The husk keeps the corn moist and fresh. Look for a thick, bright-green husk, and don't buy anything that has dry ends or has too many brown spots. Even if it looks healthy, bugs can still be an issue (particularly with organic corn). Before you buy, peel back the husk without taking too much off, and make sure there aren't any places where the corn is pale, dry, or nibbled on. You can also tell which ears are healthy by weight. The heavier the ear, the more moisture it has retained.</p> <h3>Cucumbers</h3> <p>Cukes should be firm and dark green in color. Pickling cucumbers tend to be lighter in color, but you can always check to see if there are any soft or dark spots. I love Italian cucumbers &mdash; the long, slender ones &mdash; but they don't last as long and are typically sold in plastic wrap, which holds in the moisture and causes more breakdown. For any type of cuke, try to find ones that are not packaged.</p> <h3>Eggplant</h3> <p>Eggplant should be dark purple and firm, though there are <a href="http://www.foodsubs.com/Eggplants.html">many eggplant varieties</a> that have different shapes and colors. All eggplant varieties should have skin that is free of wrinkles and soft spots. Only buy eggplant if you plan to use it soon, since it doesn't store very well. Smaller varieties are less bitter.</p> <h3>Figs</h3> <p>While figs may not be as common as other fruits such as peaches or apricots, they all share the same qualities when they are ripe. Fresh figs are harder to find than dried ones, but they are a real treat if you can buy them when they are ripe. A ripe fig should have the same soft texture as a ripe peach, but it shouldn't be too soft. The skin should be slightly wrinkled but not shriveled. The color depends on the variety, but the most common variety sold in stores is the Brown Turkish Fig, which should have a deep brown color when ripe. But if you ever have the opportunity to eat a fig right of the tree, this is the best way to experience a fresh fig.</p> <h3>Green Beans</h3> <p>You should be able to break a fresh green bean in half without any effort, and it should have a snap to it. Buy green beans in bulk if you can, and put them in paper bags if your store offers them (the paper might absorb some of the moisture, but plastic encourages mold). Like berries, green beans tend to mold quickly, so look for the white furry stuff, especially if the beans are pre-packaged. Avoid anything that looks dark or mushy; a few spots are okay, but don't buy spotty, pale, or limp beans (same goes for snap peas).</p> <h3>Kale</h3> <p>A healthy bunch of kale has a rich color, and the leaves won't droop when you hold the bunch upright. This is true for other leafy greens, such as collards and chard. If you gently squeeze the leaves, they should make a squeaky sound and bounce back immediately. Think about a house plant that hasn't been watered in a while &mdash; don't buy any leafy green that looks like a sad or dying plant.</p> <h3>Lettuce</h3> <p>You can always tell if a head of lettuce is fresh by looking at the bottom where it was cut from the ground. If it is brown and dried out, it hasn't retained any water during its trip from the farm to the grocery shelves. Working in produce in the winter meant a lot more prep work, since we received lettuce from the West coast &mdash; a long distance from Vermont. To revive lettuce, we would trim off the bottom of the heads and soak them it in a sink full of water, which you could do at home, but it is better to pick out the healthiest lettuce at store. Look for lettuce that is crisp, vibrant, and that doesn't have wilted leaves, holes, or dark mushy spots. Avoid pre-packaged lettuce and buy mixed greens in bulk when available. Of course, local is always the best choice when it is in season.</p> <h3>Melons</h3> <p>To halve or not to halve. Forgive the hackneyed cliche, but this was always a debate in the produce department. From my experience, dividing and shrink-wrapping melons was an easy way to help customers see if the fruit was ripe. If a cantaloupe, for instance, had a good color, not too pale but not too dark, and didn't have any dark or pulpy spots, it was ready to eat. Avoid anything that looks too watery or that has a strong musky odor. For an uncut melon, smell the outside, and if you can tell what the fruit is with your eyes closed, it's ripe (this is true for pineapples too).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unique-ways-to-eat-watermelon">Watermelons</a> are in a slightly different category because they don't smell as strongly, and tapping to see if they sound hollow has never really worked for me. Avoid watermelons that have funky shapes, major discoloration, or anything that feels too light for its size. Heavier watermelons have more water inside and will be juicier. If you aren't sure, you can always compare it to the other ones around the same size and pick the heaviest one. Last word on melons &mdash; be adventurous. There are many types of melons out there, and you never know if one of them might be your new favorite.</p> <h3>Mushrooms</h3> <p>Picking out mushrooms that aren't molded can get dicey, since by definition, they <em>are </em>mold. One of my co-workers grew mushrooms for many years, and he said the best way to tell if a shroom is funky is the smell. Don't buy mushrooms if they smell fishy (not suspicious, but literally like fish). Color and texture are also good indicators. Lots of dark spots, slimy surfaces, and mushrooms that are too spongy are not good signs.</p> <h3>Onions</h3> <p>As with other alliums, such as garlic and shallots, sprouting is a sign that the onion is beginning to break down, but you can always check for wet or dark spots. Although onions have a strong odor to begin with, if the odor is overwhelming, it's probably bad. Look for fruit flies around the bin at the store, and always ask if there are fresher onions in the back since many root veggies are lower on the priority list in terms of restocking.</p> <h3>Pears</h3> <p>Like bananas, pears are actually better if they have brown spots on them. You don't want them to fall apart in your hands, but they should be relatively soft and aromatic. You can always request to taste one if there are many in the bunch that look too ripe. I've found that most people who work in produce are very friendly and generous with sampling, but as a rule, the brown spots on the skin are more of an indication of ripeness than rotting fruit.</p> <h3>Peppers</h3> <p>Smooth skin usually means a healthy pepper; however, wrinkles on jalapenos are okay, but be wary, because this often means that they are extra hot! All peppers should be firm and free of holes or dark spots, and they shouldn't feel like a rubber when you gently squeeze them.</p> <h3>Potatoes</h3> <p>You'll often find that potatoes are sold in plastic bags, which is the worst possible way to store potatoes. I'm assuming this is done so that customers can see the condition of the potatoes, but try to buy potatoes in bulk or sold in paper bags. Again, sprouts and spots are usually good indicators of a bad potato, but wrinkled skin is another one, along with soft flesh. Sometimes you can pick off the sprouts and they are still fine, but always check for green potatoes by scraping away a little of the skin. There's still a debate over <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/health/nutrition/03real.html">how toxic green potatoes really are</a>, but it's definitely a sign that the root has begun to break down.</p> <h3>Radishes</h3> <p>If the radishes are sold with the tops, you can tell how fresh they are by the health of the greens. Yellow or wilted leaves are a sign that the radish has been on the shelf for a while; however, always check the actual root. If it is still firm, then it is still fresh.</p> <h3>Tomatoes</h3> <p>Tomatoes have three simple fresh indicators: Color, texture, and fruit flies. Avoid pale tomatoes (heirlooms are exceptions to this rule) and any tomato that has been damaged. Once the skin is broken, they will break down much more quickly. When buying packaged cherry tomatoes, pick up the package. If you see fruit flies buzzing in all directions, put it back. If you aren't sure how to tell if an heirloom is ripe, just ask someone. For the most part, a tomato is ripe when it is soft enough to squeeze without breaking the skin.</p> <h3>Winter Squash</h3> <p>Winter squash will last for quite some time after harvest if stored properly. Whether it's butternut, acorn, or delicata, look for the squash that is heavy for its size (like watermelons), and don't buy winter squash if it is soft or if the rind is shriveled or dark in places.</p> <h3>Zucchini (and Summer Squash)</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-preserve-zucchini">Zucchini</a> and summer squash are very similar, and you will often find them displayed near one another. Like most items on this list, avoid anything with mushy brown spots or that is too pale. Depending on the variety, the color should be bright and consistent. You can tell by the ends as well. Don't buy anything that has dry or squishy tips. The skin should also have a nice sheen and rubbery texture.</p> <p>From avocados to zucchini, you can always rely on color, texture, and size to help ensure freshness and quality when buying produce. Just remember three basic rules to guide you along the way: Ask questions, buy in season and local if possible, and don't be afraid to handle the goods. As long as you are gentle and not causing more damage, you have every right to inspect your produce before you buy it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating fresh fruit grocery shopping produce vegetables Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:36:16 +0000 Ashley Watson 615096 at http://www.wisebread.com The Food Strainer: My New, Old-Fashioned Gadget http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6172466580_7c9949ee70_z.jpg" alt="food strainer" title="food strainer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Those of you who follow my blogs know my obsession with do-it-yourself food processing. I usually find that making things yourself results in better quality food products, and often, less expensive ones.</p> <p>As background, one of the fruits my husband (aka &ldquo;Mr. Green Jeans&rdquo;) grows is lilikoi. We estimate that this summer we have, so far, processed close to 200 pounds of it. With the nectar, I make jelly, butter, juice, and other products. Before he gifted me with the food strainer, this was the process: Cut lilikoi open with a knife. Scoop the pulp out with a teaspoon into an old, clean dishtowel. Squeeze the dishtowel until all the juice comes out. Repeat. Talk about a laborious process! I used to dread seeing the full bucket of fruit at the back porch door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-kitchen-tools-that-stretch-your-budget-and-your-time" title="Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Kitchen Tools that Stretch Your Budget and Your Time">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Kitchen Tools that Stretch Your Budget and Your Time</a>)</p> <p>Besides cutting the processing time dramatically, the food strainer also does a much better job of straining out the seeds and pulp than I did. The fruit goes into the top section of the strainer, and then you turn the crank, which forces the fruit out through the conical screen. The juice goes through the holes in the screen and is collected by the &ldquo;squirt guard,&rdquo; which funnels it into a collection bowl. The pulp goes out the end of the conical screen and falls into a waste bowl. Talk about easy &mdash; and no electricity is needed!</p> <p>I realize most of you probably do not grow lilikoi and are wondering what use a food strainer would be to you. Well, how about marinara sauce? I found beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market, and into the strainer they went. I had no idea what a difference fresh, minimally processed tomatoes would make to the flavor of a sauce.</p> <p>If you like applesauce, no peeling or removing the core or seeds is necessary. Wash the apples, remove stems, quarter, and run them through the strainer. Other ideas from the instruction booklet include vegetable-tomato juice (similar to V-8), applesauce butter, and even carrot cake.</p> <p>I wish I had owned this product when our daughter was a baby, because I would have loved to have made my own fresh baby food. You simply simmer the vegetables, such as squash or carrots, until tender, and then put them through the strainer. Purees are seedless, skinless, and free of tough fibers. If you enjoy cooking with your kids, I think they would like helping to make things with the strainer, too. It is pretty safe (no exposed sharp parts) and even little hands can turn the crank easily.</p> <p>If you are a home canner, you would love this appliance. It really takes the tedium out of processing berries and fruit, and it cuts canning time in half.</p> <p>My strainer came from Amazon.com, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-favorite-mail-order-websites">one of my favorite websites</a>. It is a Back to Basics brand, which, according to Internet folklore, is made by the Victorio company. The cost was about $76, which included an accessory kit with three additional sizes of straining screens and a grape processing spiral. The accessory kit came with a brand name of Roma, apparently also made by the Victorio company. Some strainers come with suction cups, rather than clamps, for fastening to tables or countertops, but our research indicated the suction cup mechanisms were not as reliable as the clamps.</p> <p>Lastly, if you want to try making that marinara sauce in your new strainer, you can find the recipe I use in the <a href="http://downloads.mendingshed.com/strainermanual.pdf">strainer manual</a> (PDF).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30">10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-cooking-and-save-with-these-11-kitchen-tricks">Learn to Love Cooking (and Save!) With These 11 Kitchen Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink canned fruit Cooking cooking tools fruit kitchen tools strainer Thu, 11 Nov 2010 14:00:23 +0000 Marla Walters 289714 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruit melons.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="197" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grocer has a little known secret: It sells damaged and past-date produce weekly. To find it, you have to go around the corner of the regular produce aisle, next to where the employees take their breaks, and right in front of where the forklifts go in and out. It&rsquo;s in a wire bin with no special markings or signage. It&rsquo;s our little piece of heaven.</p> <p>In addition to finding your typical antique bananas and bags of slightly bruised apples, there are other delicious treasures: plastic-wrapped packages of bell peppers, bags of pre-washed organic lettuce hearts, and sacks of hodge-podge items that combine avocados, artichokes, and lemons in the same space. While not everything here is worth buying, they charge 50-99 cents for each package &mdash; regardless of what&rsquo;s inside or what shape it&rsquo;s in.</p> <p>Because we are not food snobs, and we&rsquo;ve learn to adapt our diet to include the parts of produce that others throw away, we love stocking up as much as we can fit into our cart. Anything that gets home in too bad a shape for us to eat happily goes to our 40+ laying hens for some much needed dietary excitement. Here are the ways we use up the good stuff, and how we eat well for pennies per pound of produce.</p> <h3>Dehydrate (drying)</h3> <p><img width="454" height="500" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/banans_in_trays.jpg" /></p> <p><img width="454" height="276" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/bananas_dried_in_glass.jpg" /></p> <p>This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to use up food. Bananas are especially delicious when sliced thinly and placed on the drying racks of our $25 food dehydrator. Other foods we have had fun doing this with include whole chili peppers and apple rings.</p> <p><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/peppers_on_trays.jpg" /></p> <p><img width="500" height="359" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/peppers_in_jars.jpg" /></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll want to consult the directions that come with your food dehydrator to see if you&rsquo;ll need to add citric acid to your produce, but as long as the portions you are drying are not too bruised and are mold-free, you&rsquo;ll have a way to keep food for many months or even decorate your kitchen! (Our dried chili peppers are beautiful on the counter.)</p> <h3>Breads</h3> <p><img width="500" height="318" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/wrapped_bananas.jpg" /></p> <p>Sweet breads, muffins, and cakes are very forgiving to the quality of fruit and veggies you can use. The parts of the bananas that are too mushy or brown to be dried effectively end up in a plastic bag that gets mushed up and made into banana bread. As long as the fruit hasn&rsquo;t reached the stage of fermentation (smells like alcohol), you&rsquo;re usually safe to put past-date fruits of all kinds into your favorite baking recipes. Don&rsquo;t forget that you can do this with some veggies, too! My <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Carrot-Cake-III/Detail.aspx">favorite carrot cake recipe</a> uses a whopping 3 cups of grated carrots, and this <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,164,145163-240196,00.html">vegetable garden bread</a> puts cabbage and celery to good use!</p> <h3>Soups</h3> <p>While salads are often more about presentation than flavor, soups are the exact opposite. Traditionally, soup pots have been a final destination for the parts of the veggie that most of us today just chuck into our compost pile. The skins and rinds of certain produce, however, can contain more than just hearty flavor; they also house some of the most nutritious portions of the vegetable. Potatoes, for example, are chock full of vitamins when the skin is left on (just avoid anything that has already begun to sprout or places where the skin is green &mdash; this signifies a high glycoalkaloid content, <a href="http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/potato.asp">which is toxic</a>!) By using up your slightly wilted celery, less-than-juicy onions, and blemished carrots, you can create delicious soup bases, stocks, and stews for mere pennies. Hungry for a skin-on potato soup? Check out this <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/01/12/hearty-baked-potato-soup-a-quick-and-frugal-recipe-for-january/">mouth-watering rendition</a> from J.D. Roth!</p> <p><em>Note: Please be careful to wash all produce carefully, and be aware that some items will be healthiest when purchased as an <a href="http://wisebread.com/deciding-which-produce-to-buy-organic-the-dirty-dozen">organic offering</a>.</em></p> <h3>Freezing</h3> <p>My favorite way to quickly store the oodles of green, red, and yellow bell peppers that my grocer likes to put on quick sale is to simply rinse each pepper, slice into fourths, remove the seeds, and toss into a freezer bag. This is a great way to have green peppers on hand for making fajitas, <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/meatloaves-with-style-5-ways-to-jazz-up-the-wednesday-night-special">meatloaves</a>, or any other dish that requires cooked bell peppers. You can also freeze most any fruit or veggie, but blanching and citric acid may be required to maintain quality. (Dicing up tiny pieces of peppers, celery, and berries and then <a href="http://wisebread.com/ice-cube-trays-your-passport-to-huge-savings">freezing them in ice cube trays</a> make preparing soups and smoothies a breeze!)</p> <h3>Jams and Jellies</h3> <p>Much more labor-intensive, but possibly the most long-term of all solutions, making up a batch of strawberry jam or jelly is a tasty way to use up that couple of pints that didn&rsquo;t look so appealing at the grocery store. While the process itself takes some mastering, you can enjoy the &ldquo;fruits&rdquo; of your labor for many months to come!</p> <p>(Editors Note: As a few readers have pointed out, some types of overripe fruit may not be suitable for typical jams and jellies, as they will not contain the pectin needed to set well.&nbsp; Some ideas for long-term storage of fruit concoctions include chutneys, some berry jams that are stored in the fridge, and using overripe fruit as an addition to a basic jelly/jam or in homemade applesauce.&nbsp; Thanks to our many jam and jelly experts for helping us finetune this article!)</p> <h3>Juice</h3> <p>Have one of those expensive juicers at home just taking up space? Maybe you don&rsquo;t use it more because you hate cleaning it after every use. Or you just figured out how darned expensive it is to feed your juicing habit. Enter the miracle that is discounted produce: Use those bruised apples, bumpy carrots, and overripe berries to fuel you up before you leave for work. Feel good and save money!</p> <h3><baby food=""></baby></h3> <p><img src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/baby_food.jpg" style="width: 324px; height: 243px;" alt="" /></p> <p>Yes! My absolutely most frugal tip of this article is for the tiniest of foodies. Avoid buying premade baby food if you can make it yourself &mdash; for far less with reduced price produce! Whether you enjoy making up tiny portions of applesauce (crockpots work nicely for this), or you want to give a steamed, mashed broccoli mix a try, any edible, thoroughly washed, and properly cooked fruit or veggie can be blended into a beautiful and affordable puree for baby. Freeze or refrigerate for weeks&rsquo; worth of snacks and meals!</p> <p>Before you turn up your nose at the &ldquo;Manager&rsquo;s Special&rdquo; offered in your grocer&rsquo;s produce aisle, consider how much money you could save by buying their unwanted fruits and vegetables. Then look at the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html">typical amount of fresh food wasted by the average American family.</a> Buying slightly damaged produce isn&rsquo;t disgusting &mdash; throwing away your money on overpriced food that you&rsquo;ll eventually let rot in the bottom of your crisper drawer, in my opinion, most certainly is.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living fruit produce save money veggies Tue, 23 Mar 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 5954 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Back to the Root Cellar http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-back-to-the-root-cellar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rootcellar.jpg" alt="Root cellar" title="Root cellar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grandmother once told me about her parents&#39; root cellar: it was just a story of something so different from modern day that she thought I would get a kick out of it. But root cellars seem to be experiencing a revival. </p> <p> Storing food for the winter used to be a big deal. Without a well-stocked root cellar (or a grocery store around the corner), it was impossible to eat well all year around. But with the advent of supermarkets shipping in produce from all over, the root cellar became a historical oddity. Its revival isn&#39;t a matter of a lack of produce. Instead, people are turning to root cellars as away to cut costs on produce. Root cellars also offer an opportunity to eat locally-grown produce year round.</p> <h2> What can you store in a root cellar?</h2> <p> Root cellars are officially for roots: potatoes, turnips, beets and carrots are the easiest to store. At the low temperature provided by most root cellars, these foods are unlikely to rot. Squash, onions and garlic can do equally well. Some fruits can also be stored, such as apples, but most must be preserved in some manner. My grandmother&#39;s parents kept their preserves and jams in their root cellar, as well as salt meat and fish. </p> <p> In the summertime — at least before electricity offered other options — many families kept items in need of refrigeration in their root cellars. Milk, butter, fresh meat and more were kept cool by the even temperatures of a root cellar. </p> <h2> What does a root cellar look like?</h2> <p> Creating a root cellar is surprisingly simple. Dig a hole, add some shelves and you effectively have a working root cellar. Most root cellars are underground rooms with minimal insulation and dirt floors. They use the cold of their surroundings to keep food chilled and are ideally constructed below the frost line (four feet in many areas). There are above ground options as well: if you have some sort of shed at ground level, you can pile rock or dirt around it or cover it with sod to help keep temperatures down. Survivalist Ted Wright has published plans for a root cellar that&#39;s as simple as digging a whole and swiping a few pallets from a local warehouse. </p> <p> Don&#39;t have an area around your home where you can start digging? The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/garden/06root.html">New York Times</a> interviewed a couple last week who turned their basement into a root cellar. In their brownstone, Cynthia and Haja Worley have an unfinished basement lined with shelves. The temperature remains constantly cool, allowing the Worleys to store all sorts of produce. </p> <h2> The Important Details</h2> <p> <ul> <li> Keep these details in mind if you want to store foods in a root cellar or your basement:</li> <li> The food must be dry before you store it.</li> <li> Some foods require special preparation to ensure they&#39;ll last longer. This <a href="http://standeyo.com/News_Files/Food/root.cellar.chart.html">chart</a> includes information on specific foods.</li> <li> The ideal temperature of a root cellar ranges from 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what you&#39;re storing. </li> <li> Humidity of 80 to 90 percent is necessary to preserve fresh vegetables.</li> <li> Soil floors can help increase humidity .</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget">The Food Strainer: My New, Old-Fashioned Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-vi-apples">When Good Food Goes Bad Part VI: Apples</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink fruit root cellar vegetable Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:45:38 +0000 Thursday Bram 2582 at http://www.wisebread.com Dumbest packaging ever? http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/unbearably-stupid-packaging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stupid1.JPG" alt="" title="From the Department of Redundancy Department" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I understand the need for clean, sterile packaging of food. We live in an era (soon to be ending, mind you, if you believe the peak oil people) in which food travels great distances before it arrives in the massive grocery stores where we purchase it. It is true that frozen peas need to be placed in some kind of container for shipping, and a plastic bag or a thin carboard box are currently appropriate methods for keeping all those rolling green balls in a single package. </p> <p>However, we&#39;d be naive to think that our food is merely grown, harvested, processed and packaged. The agro-industrial complex is alive and functioning, and millions of dollars of research and thousands of man-hours go into determining the best packaging for, say, a can of beef stew.</p> <p>I understand the business need to keep consumers interested in buying your products, but there&#39;s a side to the food marketing that really bugs the heck out of me. And that&#39;s the way in which the same food is repackaged in a novel way, and pitched to the consumer in such a way that makes it seem like we just HAVE to have it, when in fact:</p> <ul> <li>only actual difference is the packaging</li> <li>the packaging causes the food item to cost more</li> <li>the packaging is unbearably superfluous</li> </ul> <p>Take Blueberry Blasters, which I saw recently at a local Safeway. One normal package of blueberries had been split up into four individual... well, servings, I guess. It&#39;s sort of hard to describe the containers used without giggling a bit. A plastic narrow cylinder about four inches tall is topped off by a big plastic blueberry that serves as the lid for the bottle. The cylinder has holes punched in it so that you can rinse the blueberries in the bottle without having to go to the trouble of removing them and washing them.</p> <p>The cost of four of these <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljc_pics/2497092539/">oddly-phallic containers</a> of blueberries rang in at around $7. Seven dollars??! This is the same weight and class of blueberries that come in less sexy plastic boxes, which cost between $2-4 (in season).</p> <p>I can&#39;t, for the life of me, figure out why the current method used to prepare and eat blueberries is so arduous as to necessitate the repackaging of these fruits into lidded tubes for easier consumption. Which part is difficult? Is it removing the berries from the plastic box to wash them? Is it touching the berries directly with your fingers that turns people away from fruit? </p> <p>What marketing bozo was sitting around one day and suddenly said to himself, &quot;You know what&#39;s really hard to eat? Berries! If they only came in a sort of tube that I could use to pour them directly into my mouth....&quot;</p> <p>I was similarly irked by <a href="http://www.yoplait.com/products_gogurt.aspx">Gogurt</a> a few years ago. I can understand similar packaging for frozen, drippy treats, like popsicles, but since when did raising a spoon from yogurt container to mouth get to be so difficult that we need to suck yogurt from a flexible tube? How long before we end up like the humans in Wall-E, crusing around on hovering scooter, too fat to walk, simply slurping our meals through a plastic straw?</p> <p>And there&#39;s no actual <em>blasting</em> going on in Blueberry Blasters, unless I misunderstood the instructions for the containers. You&#39;re not (thankfully) able to use some sort of air gun to shoot blueberries across the room into someone&#39;s mouth. The blueberries themselves, while no doubt very tasty, don&#39;t explode in your mouth like Pop Rocks (again, thankfully). It&#39;s just a stupid alliteration that some poor copywriter was forced to come up with.</p> <p>Besides being shocking waste of marketing and sales time and materials (how much plastic do you NEED to sell someone a few ounces of blueberries?), Blueberry Blasters are just another product in a long line of products that serve to remind you just how little time you have left to do anything. Feeling the pressure to work extra hours or more than one job so that you can afford your mortgage or health care? Carting kids around to a variety of sports and hobbies? Overstretched with volunteer activities? <em>No time left to do things like allow produce to come into contact with your outer epidermal layer?</em> <strong>Don&#39;t worry!</strong> We&#39;ve created an even easier way to get your nutrients without performing tedious, time-consuming tasks like food-prep.</p> <p>I can just envision a commercial touting this product as an &quot;on-the-go&quot; kind of snack, but really, aren&#39;t blueberries ALREADY an on-the-go kind of snack? I mean, the darn things have a skin that keeps all the insides neatly contained, are easily washed, don&#39;t require peeling or slicing or de-seeding - they&#39;re just about the most easily-eaten item in nature.</p> <p>What&#39;s next? Pre-masticated bananas wrapped in plastic so we don&#39;t work our jaws too hard? IV drips for beer? Wait. Well, that one might actually be OK.</p> <p>Of course, the stupidity of re-packing blueberries to make it more fun and appealing is that it doesn&#39;t actually save you any time. Pre-sliced apples almost make some kind of sense, even if the time saving is less than a minute, but blueberries? You still have to wash the blueberries before eating them, and you will still have to use one or more appendages to lift the container to your mouth. The only advantage to eating Blueberry Blasters is that you get to tip the berries into your mouth from a blue-tipped phallic tube. The shape of the container makes me wonder if the design wasn&#39;t the result of some kind of wager (&quot;Dude, I&#39;ll bet you a six-pack of Alaskan Amber that you can&#39;t get a vaguely penile-like container through the design process without <em>someone</em> noticing&quot; &quot;Oh, yeah? You&#39;re on!&quot;). Oh, and you get to pay more for the honor.</p> <p>Listen, I&#39;m not terrible busy in life; I&#39;ve mostly limited my hobbies to drinking and napping. I don&#39;t have any children to care for, or a partner to worry about - so things are more or less easy for me. But even with all that ease, sometimes I feel too tired after a long day of work to make dinner from scratch, and prepared foods are a life-saver. But there&#39;s a point where I draw the line, and Blueberry Blasters stepped WAY over that line.</p> <p>I keep Googling &quot;Blueberry Blasters&quot; to see if it&#39;s some kind of hoax created to get bloggers with too much time on their hands riled up over stupid packaging, but alas, I have found nothing. Has anyone else seen these little gems while shopping?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/packing-it-in-the-independent-of-london-issues-a-challenge">Packing it in - The Independent of London issues a challenge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/look-but-dont-touch-avoiding-market-manipulation">Look, But Don’t Touch: Avoid Marketing Manipulation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-supermarket-insider-reveals-5-ways-your-grocer-is-trying-to-upsell-you">A Supermarket Insider Reveals 5 Ways Your Grocer Is Trying to Upsell You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Green Living Lifestyle Shopping consumerism Food fruit groceries healthy food marketing packaging produce shopping Wed, 27 Aug 2008 21:17:58 +0000 Andrea Karim 2273 at http://www.wisebread.com Pom - Wonderful? http://www.wisebread.com/pom-wonderful <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/pomegranate.jpg" alt=" " width="300" height="200" /></p> <p>The health benefits of pomegranates are something like folk wisdom outside of the Western world, and like <a href="/is-green-tea-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-its-close">green tea</a>, are only starting to seep into the American consumer&#39;s consciousness. Not only are pomegranate-derived juices very popular, but the flavor is showing up in weird places, like yogurt. You know a flavor has made it once it&#39;s enshrined in yogurt.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/pom2.jpg" alt=" " width="235" height="312" /></p> <p>Anyway, because the pomegranate is SO popular with everyone right now, I have to raise my objections over the company that really got the craze going. POM Wonderful, with their snazzy bottles and their brilliant marketing and their Oprah endorsement, found a way to turn acres of unwanted fruit trees into a <a href="http://www.pomwonderful.com/pdf/13114.pdf">massive trend</a>. And bully for them. But I&#39;m not buying it.</p> <p>Well, I&#39;m not buying POM Wonderful. Here&#39;s why:</p> <ul> <li>It&#39;s just too expensive for what you get out of it. The POM Wonderful at my local Safeway sells for $4.50 for a 16 oz bottle. Custom bottles means a higher cost. Nice advertising means higher costs. I&#39;ve noticed that POM changed their packaging from their distinctive glass bottles to distinctive plastic bottles. You <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">may</a> or <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-2">may not</a> know how I <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-3">feel about that</a> already.</li> <li>Although POM claims now that neither they nor any of their subsidiaries <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POM_Wonderful">conduct animal testing</a>, all of their health claims (see below) were based on animal testing that they paid for. While I like pomegranate juice, I don&#39;t like the way POM went about makreting the product using all sorts of health claims about it - health claims that were taken from their OWN studies. It reminds me of that Kentucky Fried Chicken poster that explained how KFC can be a healthy part of a balanced diet. Sure, pomegranates are better for you than fried chicken, but doesn&#39;t it seem cynical that the company that is finding all these benefits is the same company that stands to make so much money from people believing in the benefits?</li> <li>POM&#39;s juice cocktails contain more juices than just pomegranate, blueberry, and cherry. (POM does make pure pomegrante juice as well)Although the cocktails are pretty darn tasty, they&#39;re still getting away with giving you less pomegranate for your money. POM Wonderful&#39;s Pomegranate Cherry juice contains: pomegranate, cherry, apple, pineapple, plum, and aronia juices.</li> </ul> <p>Here are my preferred alternatives:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Knudsen</strong> <a href="http://www.knudsenjuices.com/products/detail.aspx?groupID=7&amp;categoryID=53&amp;flavorID=342&amp;productID=449">makes a variety of pure juices</a>, one of which is pomegranate. That&#39;s pure pomegranate juice, with no other juices added. This was going to be my end-all solution to the issue of pomegranate juice, but this stuff is almost as expensive as POM. I swear that, a couple of years ago, it didn&#39;t cost as much - so I look for it on sale. When it goes on sale, it&#39;s maybe 70% the cost of POM Wonderful. I almost never see POM Wonderful on sale, but that might be because it&#39;s very popular here.</li> <li><strong>Trader Joe&#39;s sells organic, pure pomegrante juice</strong> at HALF the price of POM Wonderful - about $4 for 32 fl oz. Trader Joe&#39;s the solution to many of my frugal problems, but unfortunately, isn&#39;t a solution for people who live outside of metropolitan areas. Trader Joe&#39;s also does a nice variety of other juices - I like aronia and cherry. </li> <li>I <strong>don&#39;t drink pure juice</strong> anymore - I like to cut it with soda water. It makes the juice go further, and I can reduce my caloric intake without sacrificing a tasty treat. Pure juice sugars are absorbed much more quickly by your blood stream than the sugars from, say, raw fruit because juices don&#39;t have nearly the amount of fiber to slow down the sugar absorbtion. A 16 oz bottle of pomegranate juice has roughly 300 calories - that&#39;s a lot, especially for something that doesn&#39;t really satisfy hunger or anything.</li> </ul> <p><em>(Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/s-tar/"><em>kowabungat</em></a><em>)</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pom-wonderful">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-juices-that-are-surprisingly-bad-for-you-and-5-to-drink-instead">2 Juices That Are Surprisingly Bad for You (and 5 to Drink Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multivitamins-arent-as-good-as-you-think-eat-these-real-foods-instead">Multivitamins Aren&#039;t as Good as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar">Going Back to the Root Cellar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink anti-oxidants blood flow fruit health benefits heart juice POM pomegranate vitamins Wed, 25 Apr 2007 19:16:46 +0000 Andrea Karim 520 at http://www.wisebread.com When Good Food Goes Bad Part VI: Apples http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-vi-apples <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/evilapp.jpg" alt=" " width="269" height="286" /></p> <p>I hail from The Apple Capital of the World, so I know a thing or two about apples. For instance, <a href="http://www.3appleplan.com/Success/">eating three apples a day</a> helps you lose weight.</p> <p>That is, if you can manage to eat three apples a day. As somone who really loves apples, I can attest that apple fatigue is REALLY easy to come by. </p> <p>My mother, in addition to supplying my Peeps habit, is my apple dealer. OK, apple-giver. When she comes to visit, she brings me bags of apples from the warehouses of our hometown, where apples are much, much cheaper and can be purchased directly from growers. And I eat at least an apple a day, and it&#39;s true that I do feel better and get sick less when I keep up the &quot;at least one per day&quot; regimen. I still go see my doctor, though, because he is incredibly handsome.</p> <p>Anyway, I recently found myself, through a chain of events that is far too boring to recount here, to be the recipient of at least three bags of apples. Even eating three a day, I wasn&#39;t getting anywhere. My newly-restarted veggie and fruit deilvery service delivered another bag, and my fridge was starting to look like the apple warehouses back home.</p> <p>So, apples: I tend to make apple sauce and apple tarts, just so I can get my fix. The apple sauce still falls within the realm of healthy eating - the tart, alas, counteracts most of the goodness brought by the apples. And of course, the BEST way to eat an apple is raw. But if you&#39;ve got too many and you&#39;re worried about one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch, here are a couple recipes to help you prevent waste and eat happily.</p> <h4>Apple-Berry-Sauce</h4> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/applesauce_0.jpg" alt=" " width="259" height="216" /></p> <p>The great thing about apple sauce is that you cook it and mash it up quite a bit, the result being that you can&#39;t really tell what was in there before. Any kind of apple will do. I also throw in other fruit that is looked threatening aged. Tonight, for example, my apple-fruit sauce consisted of three Granny Smith apples, five pink lady apples, one mango, a bag of organic blueberries, the juice from one orange that was starting to mold on th outside, and one Fuji apple for good luck. I don&#39;t add any sugar to my apple sauces, because I like them a little tart, and there&#39;s enough sugar in fruit as it is - but that&#39;s really up to you.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bunch of fruit, sliced into large chunks, rinsed</li> <li>Water</li> </ul> <p><strong>Directions</strong></p> <p>Throw about 1/2 cup of water in a big pot. Boil, add fruit, boil for 10 minutes, then cook on low for about an hour or until everything is mushy. Smash with a potato masher or blend in a food processor. Add sugar (or Stevia, or Splenda) to taste with each individual serving.</p> <h4>Fruit Tart</h4> <p>Because I&#39;m diabetic, I can&#39;t have lots of pastries. So I compromise by making the apple tart without the tart.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Lots of apples and pears (peeled or unpeeled, enough to more or less fill a baking dish), sliced thin (I bought a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Oneida-Polished-Mandolin-Interchangable-Slicer/dp/B0009HHZ20/ref=sr_1_12/102-9974338-1444907?ie=UTF8&amp;s=kitchen&amp;qid=1176443450&amp;sr=1-12">mandoline</a> to do this)</li> <li>Additional fruit (optional)</li> <li>Brown sugar</li> <li>Kosher salt</li> <li>Half stick melted butter or margarine</li> <li>Chopped nuts of your choice</li> <li>Wheat germ (optional)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Directions:</strong></p> <p>Layer the apple and pear slices in a thin layer at the bottom of a large greased baking pan. Drizzle melted butter on top, then sprinkle with chopped nuts and wheatgerm. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used up. Every third later, sprinkle an eensy bit of salt.</p> <p>Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees until the volume has decreased by about half. Uncover, turn off heat, but leave the pan in the oven to brown the top lightly. You can broil it if you wish to get a more crispy top. Slice and eat. REALLY good with ice cream.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-vi-apples">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/four-inexpensive-breakfasts-in-under-five-minutes">4 Inexpensive Breakfasts in Under Five Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt">Baby Carrots: The Frugal Idea That Isn&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perfect-peanut-sauce">Perfect Peanut Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas">20 Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink apple sauce apples cinnamon cook diet fruit healthy ingredients mangos oranges recipe refrigerator rotten waste Fri, 13 Apr 2007 05:59:27 +0000 Andrea Karim 500 at http://www.wisebread.com