Monthly Archive for: ‘July, 2011’
Freezer Items to Keep on Hand 1-5

This are items to stock in the freezer.  Most will keep 6 month to a year or more and are a great source of last minute meals or  an add-on to a meal in progress.

Freezer Items to Stock

1. orange juice concentrate
2. corn
3. green beans
4. spinach
5. peas
6. mixed vegetables
7. ground beef
8. chicken breasts
9. shrimp
10. dinner rolls or bread
11. ice cream
12. pie crust
13. nuts
14. peppers


1. Orange juice concentrate – OJ as we know it is a good source of vitamin C, but it’s main benefit seems to come from “flavonoids”.  OJ with pulp has more flavonoids than pulp free.  Ever wonder why frozen or concentrated orange juice tastes different than fresh?  It is because the fresh squeezed juice is pasteurized and filtered then the water is evaporated under vacuum and heat.  When most of the water is gone the concentrated juice, now about 65% sugar by weight is frozen to 10 def f.

2. Frozen Corn – good for soup or as a side dish

3. Green beans – also good for soups or as a side dish

4. spinach – loses some texture but is great for dips or a side dish

5. peas – also good for soups or as a side dish


All of these frozen vegetables are treated the same way.  They are cleaned, washed blanched and flash frozen.  During the process there is loss of vitamins because of the blanching process and not the freezing.  Vitamin C takes the biggest loss at over 30%.  Freezing isn’t as effective at killing pathogens as is heating and some believe that the pathogens are just slowed down and will become active again once the food warms.   For that reason long term frozen food should be kept at below -18 deg F which isn’t possible in most home freezers so you shouldn’t keep frozen food for more than 6 months to a year.

More tomorrow,


12 foods that are bad for the planet

Do you think you are green?  Thinking about trying to be green?  It is a nice concept but how many of us are really willing to do what is necessary to turn this planet around?  Here are a few of the major problems we face that MUST be dealt with immediately to even save the planet let alone turn it “green” again.


Farmers, I didn’t start this blog site to get all warm and fuzzy and tree hugging, but damn, I’m turning up some serious problems that are starting to worry me.  Let me know if I’m going over the deep end or if I haven’t even begun to see the tip of the iceberg yet. – Jughandle


1. Rice 

Rice is the major calorie source for half of the world’s population, but growing rice accounts for one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater use, according to Oxfam. Luckily, a new farming method known as System of Rice Intensification has been developed that enables farmers to produce up to 50 percent more rice with less water. Oxfam is working to get rice-producing countries to convert 25 percent of their rice cultivation to SRI by 2025.

via 12 foods that are bad for the planet: Rice | MNN – Mother Nature Network.


2.  Genetically modified foods

As with human health risks, it’s unlikely that all the potential environmental harms of genetically modified foods have been identified, but here are some of the main concerns about GMOs.

  • Lower level of biodiversity: By making a crop resistant to a certain pest, the food sources for other animals could be removed. Also, the addition of foreign genes to plants could be toxic and endanger the animals that consume the plant.
  • Spread of altered genes: Novel genes placed in crops won’t necessarily stay in designated agricultural fields. The genes can easily spread via pollen and share their altered genes with non-genetically modified plants.
  • Creation of new diseases: Some GM foods are modified using bacteria and viruses, which means they could adapt and create new diseases.

3.  Sugar

More than 145 millions tons of sugar are produced in 121 countries each year, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and production on such a scale takes its toll on the Earth. Sugar may be responsible for more biodiversity loss than any other crop, according to a 2004 WWF “Sugar and the Environment” report, due to its habitat destruction, its intensive use of water and pesticides, and the polluted wastewater discharged during the production process.

Thousands of acres of the Florida Everglades have been compromised after years of sugar cane farming — subtropical forests became lifeless marshland after excessive fertilizer runoff and irrigation drainage. Waters around the Great Barrier Reef are also suffering due to the large quantities of pesticides and sediment from sugar farms.


4.  Meat

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American substituted one meal of chicken with vegetarian food, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads. Here are some of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization’s findings on meat and the environment:

  • 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock — more than from transportation.
  • 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon was cleared to pasture cattle.
  • The world’s largest source of water pollution is the livestock sector.
  • Livestock are responsible for a third of the nitrogen and phosphorus in U.S. freshwater resources.
  • Livestock account for about 20 percent of land animals, and the 30 percent of Earth’s land they occupy was once inhabited by wildlife.


5.  Fast food

Fast food is hurting more than just our waistlines. A typical fast-food meal often comes with overly packaged food, straws and plasticware, and an assortment of individually wrapped condiments. According to Californians Against Waste, less than 35 percent of fast-food waste is diverted from landfills even though most of it is recyclable paper and cardboard. So it’s no surprise that litter characterization studies have identified fast-food restaurants as the primary source of urban litter.

But it’s not just the packaging that’s a problem.  A recent Hong Kong study found that a fast-food restaurant making four hamburgers emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds as driving a car 1,000 miles. If you calculate the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger, you’re in for a real shock: The greenhouse gas emissions arising each year from the production and consumption of cheeseburgers is roughly the amount emitted by 6.5 million to 19.6 million SUVs.


6.  Foods that contain palm oil

Palm oil is found in an estimated 10 percent of U.S. groceries — it’s in chips, crackers, candy, margarine, cereals and canned goods. About 40 millions tons of palm oil, which is considered the cheapest cooking oil in the world, is produced each year, and 85 percent of it comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. In these countries, 30 square miles of forests are felled daily, and palm oil plantations account for the highest rates of deforestation in the world. When the rain forests disappear, so does almost all of the wildlife, including orangutans, tigers, bears and other endangered species.


7.  Packaged and processed food

The majority of the food you’ll find in the grocery store is processed and packaged, which is bad news for the planet.  Processed food contains multiple chemicals and often involves energy-intensive production processes. Plus, all that packaging typically ends up in a landfill, where plastic poisons the environment and can take thousands of years to break down. In fact, in 2006 the U.S. generated 14 million tons of plastic through packages and containers alone, according to the EPA. Unfortunately, even those eco-friendly packaged items made from cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. The solution? Buy local, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and buy foods like rice, oats and pasta from the bulk bins.


8.  Many non-organic foods

Organic produce is grown without pesticides, which keeps chemicals from entering the water supply and helps prevent soil erosion. Organic farming also uses fewer resources than traditional farming. According to a study by The Rodale Institute, organic farming practices use 30 percent less energy and water than regular growing.  In fact, a study by David Pimentel, a professor at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, found that growing corn and soybeans organically produced the same yields as conventional farming and used 33 percent less fuel. However, not all produce needs to be bought organic.


9.  Some seafood

Fishery analysts at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully or overly exploited, depleted or in a state of collapse.  Fish like bluefin tuna and Atlantic salmon are severely overfished, and environmental groups are working to get them endangered species status. The overfishing of a particular species doesn’t damage that population alone — it can have serious effects further up the food chain and decrease biodiversity. Check out the Environmental Defense Fund’s seafood eco-ratings to determine what fish is safe for both you and our oceans.


10.  White bread

It’s well known that whole grain and wheat breads are more nutritious than white bread, but brown breads are also less harmful to the environment.  Wheat flour must be refined and go through a series of alteration processes to make white bread, but whole wheat flour spends less time in production.  Any ingredient that requires extensive refining requires more energy and resources and has a greater impact on the planet.


11.  High-fructose corn syrup foods

High-fructose corn syrup is one of the most environmentally damaging ingredients for a variety of reasons.  Firstly, corn is grown as a monoculture, meaning the land is used solely for corn and not rotated, which depletes soil nutrients, contributes to erosion and requires more pesticides and fertilizer.  The use of such chemicals contributes to problems like the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, an area of the ocean where nothing can live because the water is starved of oxygen, and atrazine, a common herbicide used on corn crops, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites. Milling and chemically altering corn to produce high-fructose corn syrup is also an energy-intensive practice.


12.  Much non-local food

Many people eat local for the freshness or to support the community, but the most widely touted benefit of local food is that it reduces fossil fuel consumption.  According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the average fresh food items on your dinner table travel 1,500 miles to get there.  Although there’s disagreement over whether “food miles” are the best measure of a food’s carbon footprint, buying food at your local farmers market is one way to guarantee that your food hasn’t traveled too far to get to your plate.

Pesticides in our Food

This post is a follow up to my poorly researched story on buying organically grown foods.  I’d like to point out and clarify a few things.  First I’d like to introduce you to the dirty dozen and the clean 15.  The 12 foods with the most and the 15 with the least pesticide residue according to  Here is the complete story:

Q – Can I effectively wash off pesticides from my conventionally grown fruits and vegetables?

If pesticides are present on the surfaces of your fruits and vegetables, you can definitely remove a substantial amount of those surface pesticides through careful washing and light scrubbing. However, you cannot remove all of them nor can you remove pesticides that have been incorporated into the fruits and vegetables while they were growing.

From field to field and from year to year, the amount of pesticides used on different fruit and vegetable crops can vary greatly. However, some environmental organizations, like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) headquartered in Washington, D.C., have sampled large groups of fruits and vegetables to determine which non-organic foods most consistently contain pesticide residues (and how many different residues they contain). To see more details about the EWG pesticide measurement process, you can visit the EWG website at: The worst offenders in the group have sometimes been tagged with the name, “Dirty Dozen.” They named another group the “Clean 15” which are the ones that were found to have the least amount of pesticide residues. Following are the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” as found in their 2011 report.

Ranking The “Dirty Dozen”
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines-imported
7. Grapes-imported
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries-domestic
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens
Ranking The “Clean 15”
1. Onion
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe-domestic
10. Kiwifruit
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Source: Environmental Working Group (2011). Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Available online at:

On its website, the EWG reminds all of us that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it would be most important for us to purchase organic when we are dealing with the “Dirty Dozen” because these fruits and vegetables had the most problem with pesticide residues. However, on our World’s Healthiest Foods website we go one step further and encourage you to purchase organically grown produce whenever possible. If organic options are not available, you’re likely to lower your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides if you select from the “Clean 15” versus “Dirty Dozen” end of the EWG spectrum of fruits and vegetables. But remember that all non-organically grown foods can differ dramatically in their pesticide residues and that your best bet is to choose from organically grown foods that cannot by law be treated with the vast majority of synthetic pesticides.

Jughandle says,  That is all I’m posting on this subject today.  This will be an on going study for the Fat Farm.  But I and the Farm are now completely converted and true believers of buying organic when ever possible.  I’m not surprised I’ve had cancer twice, with this information.

Refrigerator items to stock 11-17

Refrigerator items to stock 11-17

These are food items that will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more. The only exception might be the fresh meats and fish that should either be eaten or frozen within 3 days.

1. milk
2. eggs
3. butter
4. cheese
5. yogurt
6. cottage cheese
7. cream cheese
8. sour cream
9. meats/fish
10. deli meats
11. bacon
12. juices
13. carrots
14. celery
15. lemon
16. mushroom
17. lettuce


11. bacon – Ah bacon.  Everything tastes better with bacon either on it, in it or beside it.  Bacon of course is the cured belly meat from the pig.  It is high in nitrates and sodium and can be very fatty.  For more information on bacon visit Bacon Today.


12. juices – these include anything from orange juice to prune juice.  Generally we would like to have on hand, orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice and possibly grape juice.  Use your own judgement but always read the label and keep the ingredients to a minimum. Most importantly, avoid added sugars or sweeteners such as HFCS.


13. carrots – We’ve always been told that carrots will help you see better.  That is because carrots contain Vitamin A or carotene.  But did you know that carrots also are high in other nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, folic acid, potassium and pectin fiber which helps to lower cholesterol in addition to several strong antioxidants.  But you only need one small carrot per day to get those nutrients.  Carrots are unusual in the sense that unlike most vegetables, the nutrients in carrots are more readily absorbed into the body when they are cooked or grated.  Carrots are one of the foods that are best bought grown organically, to avoid ingesting poisons from pesticides and fertilizers.



14. celery– Have you ever heard that eating celery produces negative calories? says it’s true!  It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. According to raw celery has a fullness factor of 4.5, a Glycemic load of 1 and a inflammation factor of 14.  These are good numbers.  Jughandle always keeps cleaned and cut celery in a glass of water in the refrigerator for a quick snack when needed.  FYI eat only organically grown celery or consume up to 67 different pesticides.


15. lemon/limes – Even though lemons and limes have a distinctively different favor they both are great additives in food to “brighten” the flavor with a little citrus acid.  Lemons are in season from May through August and Limes May through October.  Other times of the year their prices are very high.  For more on the pucker fruits go to “the world’s healthiest foods“. Individual Concerns

Lemon and Lime Peels and Oxalates

The peels of lemons and limes are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating lemon or lime peels. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we’ve seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits—including absorption of calcium—from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their oxalate content. For more on this subject, please see “Can you tell me what oxalates are and in which foods they can be found?”


16. mushrooms – Mushrooms are a great way to add texture and flavor to almost any savory dish.  For many great ideas and recipes using mushrooms try Freshmushrooms.


17. lettuce – there are dozens of different types of lettuce and most of use eat only iceberg and leaf lettuce.  For a culinary change of pace try a mixture of several.  Some good examples are bib, boston (butter), romaine, oak leaf, frisee and chicory.  Add arugala, or watercress for a suprisingly good flavor.  The bad news is that unless you eat organically grow lettuce you will ingest the following:

12 – known or probable carcinogens

29 – suspected hormone disruptors

9 – neurotoxins

and you’ll be contributing  21 honeybee toxins to the world.


More tomorrow farmers,


Refrigerator items to stock 6-10

Refrigerator items to stock 6-10

These are food items that will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more. The only exception might be the fresh meats and fish that should either be eaten or frozen within 3 days.

cottage cheese
cream cheese
sour cream
deli meats


6. cottage cheese – Wikipedia defines it as

“a cheese curd product with a mild flavor. It is drained, but not pressed, so some whey remains and the individual curds remain loose. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity, giving sweet curd cheese. It is not aged or colored. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milks with different fat levels and in small curd or large curd preparations. Cottage cheese which is pressed becomes hoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese or queso blanco.”

via Cottage cheese – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jughandle uses it for dips in place of sour cream and it makes a great creamy cheese to add to lasagna.  I buy the low fat, low sodium kind even though the regular tastes a little better.  It also make a great healthy snack.


7. cream cheese – Most of us are familiar with the silver packages of Philadelphia brand cream cheese.  I my opinion nothing else touches it for flavor.  I’ll give you my recipe later for Cheese cake made with 6 packages of the stuff.  Cream cheese is very spreadable and it great on crackers and can be softened even more to combine with other stuff by putting it in the microwave for 30 sec on high.
8. sour cream – believe it or not, sour cream is exactly that.  Cream that has soured by the introduction of certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria.  Sour Cream is high in fat and is fabulous for dips and dressings.

9. meats/fish – A well stocked refrigerator will have the meat or fish that you intend to cook with in 2 to no more than 3 days, unless you are aging beef. (that is another story for another day).  Keep the meat or fish covered and cool.  Bring to room temperature before cooking.
10. deli meats – such as smoked or cured, turkey, ham, or sausages like baloney, salami, pastrami are great to have on hand to make sandwiches or hors d’oeuvres.  These will keep for at least a week well packaged.  Remember, deli meats are usually high in sodium and fat.


More tomorrow farmers,


Things to stock in the Refrigerator – Items 1-5

Refrigerator items to stock 1-5

These are food items that will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more.  The only exception might be the fresh meats and fish that should either be eaten or frozen within 3 days.

cottage cheese
cream cheese
sour cream
deli meats


1. milk – Per Wikipedia is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk containscolostrum, which carries the mother’s antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many diseases in the baby. The precise components of raw milk vary by species and by a number of other factors, but it contains significant amounts of saturated fatprotein and calcium as well as vitamin C. Cow’s milk has a pH ranging from 6.4 to 6.8, making it slightly acidic

2. eggs – We could go on and on about eggs, and we have.  Visit – Eggs or you can visit the Egg Board.

3. butter – The best butter I ever had was butter a client brought us back from France.  Amazing.  Buy the best butter available, you’ll be able to tell a difference and you won’t have to use as much.  DO NOT EAT MARGARINE OR BUTTER SUBSTITUTES!
4. cheese – According to

“Cheese is nutritious food made mostly from the milk of cows but also other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. Around 4000 years ago people have started to breed animals and process their milk. That’s when the cheese was born.”


5. yogurt – Yogurt comes in many forms, from frozen to plain Greek Yogurt and is made from the milk of Cows, water buffalo, goats, sheep, camels and yaks.  It can be a healthy substitute for sour cream and makes great dips and sauces.  Try not to buy the stuff with the fruit in the bottom, most of those have added sugar.
6.cottage cheese
7. cream cheese
8. sour cream
9. meats/fish
10. deli meats
11. bacon
12. juices
13. carrots
14. celery
15. lemon
16. mushroom
17. lettuce


More on these Refrigerator items tomorrow – jug

Pico De Gallo Recipe
Pico De Gallo Recipe
Recipe Type: condiment
Author: Alice
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely
  • 1 med-large onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1.2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. Gently combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Allow the salsa to rest for 10 minutes before serving



Pico De Gallo Recipe

by Alice of


4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely ( I like vine-ripened tomatoes)

1 med-large onion, chopped coarsely

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely (be careful to wash your hands well after handling jalapenos)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lime


Gently combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Allow the salsa to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!