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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Why I'm the cupcake police
Put yourself for a minute in some kid-sized shoes. Let's call you Maggie. You are in third grade. Your dad works full time and he picked you up from the afterschool program at 6:00 p.m. You and dad got home about 7:00 p.m. because you had to stop by QuikMart to pick up something for dinner and put a little gas in the car. When you got home dad cooked the frozen pizza and you sat down to eat and drink your soda around 7:30 p.m. By the time you finished eating, took your shower, helped dad...




New preschool food mural to encourage healthful eating to be unveiled Feb. 23
Students' surroundings can greatly impact their learning and health, research has shown. In an effort to enhance nutrition, learning and health for these students in Oakland, the University of California Cooperative Extension, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, Luther Burbank Preschool and Oakland Unified School District Early Childhood Education supported the installation of a mural that features silhouettes of children of different abilities among flowers, fruit and other foods cast...




Farmers can increase income by expanding small operations with creative new businesses
Farms that sell only fresh produce are dependent on buyers for markets and pricing. The UC Cooperative Extension small farms team in Fresno and Tulare counties believes farmers can earn more money by taking production a step further, by adding extra value to their products with processing, preserving and packaging the produce. UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and Fresno State's Office of...




On Super Bowl Sunday, don't drop the ball on food safety
At Super Bowl parties, dropped passes and missed tackles should be the only things making football fans' stomachs churn. Leaving food out for more than two hours can be hazardous to your health and that of your guests, cautions a UC Cooperative Extension nutrition expert. You may be thinking, “I've eaten food that sat out longer than two hours and not thrown up.” Consider yourself lucky. “We keep learning more about foodborne illness,” says Patti Wooten Swanson, UC...




4-H chili cookoff: Heralding green and white
What's green and white and wins a county 4-H chili cookoff? Chili, 4-H chili. And it's just in time for Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 4 when the New England Patriots square off in Minneapolis, Minn., with the Philadelphia Eagles. A sibling team from the Dixon Ridge 4-H Club won the 2018 Solano County 4-H Chili Cookoff with a recipe titled “4-H Green and White Chili," featuring pork shoulder and pork sausage and four different varieties of peppers. The five-team competition took place at...




Keep spoilage away with UC Master Food Preserver guidelines
What's the best aspect of food preservation in the winter? Safely enjoying the fruits (veggies and meats) of your labor! How do you ensure that time is spent savoring the sight, smell, and taste of a home preserved product, rather than turning up your nose at unsightly mold speckled contents? First, stay organized. From the very beginning, implement a canning system. For example, jars, lids, and rings are used in the canning process, but not all can be re-used. Visibly mark used lids to...




Produce safety training ensuring continued enjoyment of specialty crops
Oakleaf, Mizuna, Red Rib Chicory, Lollo Rosa, and Lamb's Lettuce, are the names of a few of the leafy vegetables which graced my salad plate. The thinly sliced fresh red onion, juicy pomegranate kernels, and fresh citrus dressing added to the delectable ensemble. I, as well as so many other California diners, have grown accustomed to the taste-bud sensations that await us in this day of the farm-to-fork movement. As I inhaled my salad, I couldn't help but think of the recent E. coli O157:H7...




New project seeks to build on the benefits of elderberries
Can plants typically grown for hedgerows also be a source of income? That's the question guiding a new UC study on the potential for farmers to grow elderberries as a commercial crop. Blue elderberry, a California native plant with clusters of small bluish-black berries and a sweet-tart flavor, have long been eaten by Native Americans in the western states and are used today in jam, syrups, wines and liqueurs. And while elderberry orchards are popping up in parts of the Midwest, California's...




Trends we're watching in 2018: experts weigh in on water, GM, science communication and more
As we settle into 2018, it's natural to wonder what the New Year may bring. There have been dozens of "trend pieces" discussing what's in store. In this wrap, we consider possible 2018 trends in water, the GM debate, science communication, and food and nutrition. Water After one of the driest Decembers on record, many Californians continue to worry about water supply. I turned to UC ANR water expert Faith Kearns. Faith is a scientist and communicator at the California Institute for Water...




No joke: The reality of the starving student and what UC is doing to help
As we celebrate the winter holiday season with its many joyful occasions, it's sobering to think how many people are in need of nutritious food. Millions of people are at risk of going hungry, says Feeding America. And according to groundbreaking studies by the University of California, we now know that a large number of college students are among the hungry. A significant problem, “starving students” are not a lighthearted joke: students are going hungry and sometimes homeless,...




Connecting with farmers over pineapple postharvest practices
At the end of a long year, sometimes it helps to reconnect with what motivates your work. For Karin Albornoz — a Ph.D. student who works in the Diane Beckles Lab at UC Davis on molecular biology related to tomato postharvest chilling injury — that means getting out into the world to work directly with small-scale farmers. "I spend so much time in the lab," she said. "Sometimes I spend a whole day in the lab extracting RNA or writing a paper. This reminds me why I am doing this...




California’s nascent coffee industry to hold summit Jan. 18
Coffee is being commercially grown in California and coffee drinkers can't get enough of the locally produced beverage, which currently retails for about $18 per cup. Anyone who is interested in growing, processing or marketing specialty coffee in California is invited to a Coffee Summit on Jan. 18 at Cal Poly Pomona. Until recently, American coffee was grown commercially only in Hawaii. To make the most of their precious water, California farmers have begun experimenting with coffee plantings...




Visit mountain mandarin orchards for tasty treats
Nestled in the rolling foothills of Placer County, just northeast of Sacramento, are more than 35 beautiful small family farms growing mandarin oranges. The warm days and cool nights in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn make this area a perfect place to grow sweet, juicy, seedless mandarins. Welsh settlers in the town of Penryn first planted Satusuma mandarin orchards in the 1880s; some of their descendants are still tending Satsuma groves today. These original growers have been...




Vibrant purple sweet potatoes are a healthful Thanksgiving surprise
Candied sweet potatoes – dripping with butter, brown sugar and pecans – or a casserole of mashed sweet potatoes smothered with toasted marshmallows are common sides on the Thanksgiving table. These rich dishes belie the true nature of sweet potatoes, which are nutrient packed, low-glycemic root vegetables that can be a part of a healthy diet year round. Research by UC Cooperative Extension advisor Scott Stoddard is aimed at making sweet potatoes an even more healthful and...




Simple tips for the best Thanksgiving
“What if, today, we were grateful for everything?” asks Charlie Brown. You don't need to be a beloved cartoon character to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving. Giving thanks seems like an excellent goal for this year's celebration … and every day, really. Here are some important steps for a healthy, delicious and memorable holiday. First, be safe Millions of Americans will be celebrating this Thanksgiving. Foodborne illness is a real concern. So, let's...




Thanksgiving persimmons are autumn joy
When the weather cools in the fall and the holidays draw near, orange orbs ripen on persimmon trees in California to offer a fresh autumn sweetness in time for Thanksgiving recipes and holiday décor. At the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) in Irvine, a collection of 53 persimmon varieties are at their peak in November when the public is invited for tasting and harvesting at the annual persimmon field day. “We want to raise awareness about persimmons,”...




'Know beans' about a delicious Thanksgiving
If you say "I don't know beans" about beans, you ought to. Beans are one of civilization's earliest cultivated crops, dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE. Today there are more than 40,000 varieties of beans worldwide. Beans can also have a place on the Thanksgiving table. The Maple Spice blog for vegans shares a meat-free substitute for turkey that combines mashed white canelli beans, nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten and spices to create a loaf that slices like turkey breast....




Military veterans and beginning farmers invited to poultry workshops
Prospective, beginner or intermediate farmers interested in raising poultry flocks on pasture or free-range are invited to attend poultry workshops. The lessons will apply to both egg-laying hens and broilers. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the Farmer Veteran Coalition have partnered to provide training for military veterans who are embarking on careers in farming, but all farmers are welcome to the workshops. Workshops will...




Joining forces to promote child health and wellness
According to current statistics, approximately 40 percent of school-age children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. This statistic is reflected in rising rates of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and heart disease risk factors. Nearly one-quarter of all children are pre-diabetic or diabetic at the time when they leave high school, a figure that has increased dramatically in the last decade. Dental problems, the other very common health problem of youth, carry the potential for current and future...




Tree fruit and nut growers invited to two-week UC orchard management course
Tree fruit and nut growers are invited to attend the “Principles of Fruit and Nut Tree Growth, Cropping and Management” course offered by the UC Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center. The annual two-week course will be held from Feb. 19, 2018, through March 1, 2018, at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). Understanding the fundamentals of tree biology is essential to making sound orchard management and business decisions in the fruit and nut industries....




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