Produce Pointers – Blueberries

Produce Pointers – Blueberries

Once known as star berries because of the pointy flower calyxes on top, blueberries have grown wild in North America for thousands of years. They were a staple among Native Americans, who dried and smoked the berries, and pounded them into venison to flavor the meat.

Berries such as blueberries are rich in vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants and can be delicious additions to yogurt, salads, and smoothies. (Photo source: UF/IFAS file photo)

Uses & Preparation
Wash blueberries just before using.  Add to yogurt or cottage cheese or any fruit and mild cheese platter.  For color and great taste, add to salads; or sweeten pancakes, cakes, and muffins.

Selection
Look for firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned berries with a light grayish bloom.  Ripe berries should be deep-purple blue to blue-black.

Storage
Cover and refrigerate fresh berries for up to 10 days.  Blueberries are easily frozen for later use.  Freeze unwashed blueberries in airtight, resealable plastic bags.  If thawed, keep refrigerated and use within 3 days.

Blueberry Pancake Stacks

Vegetable Oil for cooking
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup  all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Dash of nutmeg

In a mixing bowl, stir together the milk, oil, and egg.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add dry ingredients to the milk, and stir just until mixed (batter should be slightly lumpy).  Gently fold in the berries.  Spoon the batter onto a griddle or pan greased with vegetable oil and heated to medium-hot (dollops should be about the size of a silver dollar).  Let the batter cook until the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble, then flip and cook until done.  Stack and serve immediately with softened margarine and warm syrup.  Makes about eighteen 2 1/2″ pancakes.

Blueberry Syrup

Combine 1 pint of blueberries and 1 cup of maple syrup in a saucepan.  Heat to boiling, then lower the heat and simmer until most of the fruit has burst.  Remove from heat and use a fork to mash the berries.  The syrup will thicken as it cools.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information:  Good source of vitamin C.  High in fiber.  Low in calories.

Available Fresh:  April – June

To learn about fresh Florida strawberries, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Blueberries.

.For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.

UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Car Cleaning Tips

Car Cleaning Tips

Even during our ‘Safer at Home’ orders, we must use our vehicle if we are essential workers or run necessary errands.  Learn safe car cleaning practices from UF IFAS Extension Escambia County to help minimize your risks during local travel.

 

Disinfect Your Car

During this time of extreme sanitizing don’t forget your car.

 

  • Cleaning the steering wheel is a must.  Use disinfecting wipes.
  • Touchscreen displays require extra care, disinfect displays using a microfiber cloth sprayed with eyeglass cleaner.
  • Vacuum seats and floorboards thoroughly and often.
  • Wipe consoles and dashboards with hot soapy water, rinse and let air dry.
  • Clean door handles with disinfecting spray or wipes.

 

 

Produce Pointers – Strawberries

Produce Pointers – Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries from Fresh off the Farm event. Taken 04-12-2019 (Photo Source: UF/IFAS Camila Guillen)

Choose locally- grown strawberries during the harvesting season; they will be the freshest and the most flavorful. When picking strawberries, try to pick early in the morning or later in the day when the fruit is cool.  Strawberries are best used within 2-3 days of picking.

 

Uses & Preparation

Freezing Whole Strawberries;  Spread a single layer of prepared fruit on shallow trays and freeze.  When frozen, promptly package (to avoid freezer burn) and return to freezer.  The fruit pieces remain loose and can be used as needed.

Freezing Sliced or Crushed Strawberries;  Prepare berries: Using ripe berries, wash gently and remove caps.  Slice or crush partially or completely.  To 1 quart berries add 3/4 cup sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand 15 minutes.  Pack into containers, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Seal and freeze.

Storage

Sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible and use in sauces, purees or jams. Place the berries in cool, well-ventilated containers.  The moisture content of fresh strawberries is high, so store them unwashed and uncovered, or loosely covered.

Quantities

1 pint = about 3 1/4 cups whole berries (12-36 depending on size of berries) or about 2 1/4 cups sliced berries.  1 cup sliced fresh berries = One 10-oz. pkg frozen, sweetened berries.

MERRY FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

1 9- inch pie crust, baked

1 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons strawberry flavored gelatin mix

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1cup boiling water

2 pints strawberries, cleaned and stemmed

2 cups whipped topping (optional)

Combine sugar, gelatin, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Stir in boiling water. Boil mixture for 3 minutes over high heat, stirring constantly. Cool completely.

Arrange whole strawberries in pastry shell. Pour gelatin mixture over berries.  Chill before serving. Top with whipped topping, if desired.

Nutrition Information:  Low in calories – High in Vitamin C – Good source of folate, potassium & fiber
Available Fresh:  April – May

To learn about fresh Florida strawberries, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Strawberries.

.For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.

 

Produce Pointers – Greens

Produce Pointers – Greens

Spring showers not only bring flowers, but beautiful fresh produce from the garden.

March in National Nutrition Month. Celebrate with nutritious delicious GREENS.

 

washing kale in the sink

Be sure to carefully wash greens before preparing to ensure a safe and delicious product. (Photo source: Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS)

The dark leafy vegetable we refer to as “greens” range from earthy to peppery in flavor. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and kale are often grouped together because of their texture, pronounced flavor, and general uses. They actually come from several vegetable families. In general, these tart greens are cooked before eating. The season for some varieties peak November through March.

Choose leafy greens with fresh full leaves. Avoid greens that are brown, yellow spotted, wilted, or have slimy leaves.  Wash greens before use. Cut stems from leafy greens before cooking.  Sauté collard greens with garlic, onions, and tomatoes a little bit of olive oil. Simmer greens in low-sodium chicken broth until greens are wilted and tender. Store greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to five days.

NUTRITION TIPS: A 1/4 cup of cooked greens is about the size of one cupped handful.

 

 Beans and Greens

 1 can white kidney beans or cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh kale, stemmed and chopped into large pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

  Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add greens to the skillet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon of water. Cook, tossing often, until greens are bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat.   Drain and heat beans and add to green mixture. Toss mixture, season and serve. Serves four; 1 cup serving

 

Savory Greens

3 cups water
1/4 pound skinless turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 green ground ginger
2 pounds mixed greens (collards, turnips, mustard, and kale)

Place all ingredients except greens into large pot and bring to a boil. Wash greens and remove stems. Chop greens into small pieces and add to stock. Cook 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Serves six; 1 cup serving

 

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Cooked greens are excellent sources of Vitamins A, C, K, and Calcium.

AVAILABLE FRESH: March – June & October – December

 

To learn about fresh Florida greens, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Greens.

For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.

 

Go Red for Women’s Heart Health

Go Red for Women’s Heart Health

February is National Heart Health Awareness Month.  On February 7th join the nation and wear red to show support and awareness for women and heart disease.

National Heart Awareness Month is sponsored by the American Heart Association.  It is designed to provide the public with information that could lead to a more healthful lifestyle and reduce heart disease.

Red words "Go Red 2-7-2020" inside white heart inside red paper heart

Go Red for Women’s Heart Health
Photo Source: Dorothy Lee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States yearly.  According to the American Heart Association heart disease and stroke kills one in three women yearly in the United States. Heart disease is a silent killer.  It often strikes without warning.

Know the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease.  Risk factors are family history of heart disease, diabetes, poor diet, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, excessive alcohol use, smoking and physical inactivity.

The diet choices we make today are important to our nutritional well-being tomorrow. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fruits and vegetables, and grain products that contain some type of dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Our health is our most precious possession. A healthy diet is only one part of a heart healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is another important component.  The American Heart Association physical activity guidelines recommend some type of aerobic exercise daily.  Walking, dancing, biking, swimming, or gardening are good examples.  Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

We are all concerned about maintaining good health.  Take steps to a healthier heart.  Develop good eating habits based on moderation and variety, plus physical activity can help keep and even improve your health.  So, reach in the back of the closet and find that little red dress and wear it this year on Friday, February 7th in support of Women’s Heart Healthy Awareness.  Go Red!

Resource:  www.heart.org

For further information, contact:

Dorothy C. Lee, C.F.C.S.

UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County

3740 Stefani Road

Cantonment, FL  32533-7792

(850) 475-5230

dclee@ufl.edu