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Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce


Plant and eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits

Planting season is right around the corner, and it’s a great time to plan for eating a rainbow. Vegetables and fruits in a rainbow of colors provide the nutrients necessary for good health...more


Pick a peck of peppers this summer

Peppers come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors ranging from sweet to spicy hot. They are a colorful addition to any meal or they can be enjoyed as a snack...more


Add flavor — not carcinogens — to your cookouts

The intense, direct heat of grilling gives food a wonderful crusty texture and flavor that we love. Unfortunately, at high temperatures, proteins in meat, chicken and fish can naturally form carcinogenic compounds called HCAs and PAHs. Here are tips to avoid charring in order to reduce the formation of these compounds...more


Brussels sprouts can be a nutritious treat

Brussels sprouts are not typically a favorite from the vegetable group. But when they are selected well, eaten soon after picking and cooked properly, they can be a nutritious treat...more


Spice up your cooking with turmeric

Turmeric is a golden colored culinary spice used often in curry dishes. It gives mustard that bright yellow shade and has been commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its health properties...more


Make a mystery meal into a culinary delight

It's time to eat. You open the fridge and find some brown rice, a small piece of meat and some leftover vegetables. How can this possibly become a meal? Here are some tips on converting a mystery meal of leftovers into a culinary delight...more


Enjoy health benefits of avocados on National Guacamole Day

September 16 is National Guacamole Day. Guacamole can be healthy, depending on how you make it. Avocados are the main ingredient in this tasty side dish or appetizer. Learn about the health benefits of eating avocados and how to use them to prepare healthy guacamole...more


Try jicama for a satisfying low-calorie snack

Jicama is something you may have overlooked in the produce section because you didn’t know what it was or what to do with it. Jicama is nutritious and filling but low in calories, and there are a variety of ways you can eat it...more


Garden, grow, preserve with MU Extension

Spring has finally arrived. Now is the time to take advantage of the wealth of resources University of Missouri Extension has to offer to help with gardening and preserving your garden’s harvest...more


Organic produce – Is it the best choice?

Most of us would like to consume the most nutritious foods we can, but it is not always clear what choice to make. There are certain reasons to think organic produce is a better choice, yet some current research indicates that organic may not be as great as once thought in terms of nutrition...more


Make baking easier with Missouri Mix

Missouri Mix is University of Missouri Extension’s make-at-home version of baking mixes that you can buy at the grocery store. It’s a simple, five-ingredient recipe that you can make to have on hand when you are in a hurry...more


Baking with sugar substitutes

An easy way to cut back on calories without feeling deprived is to cook or bake with artificial sweeteners. However, sugar contributes functionality to baked goods so replacing it can be tricky...more


Free Seasonal and Simple app

The Seasonal and Simple smart phone application is available for both iOS and Android devices. The application is FREE to download or you can find the online version at...more



Nutritionally and culinary-wise, tomatoes are considered a vegetable because of the way they are used and their nutrients. Botanically speaking, tomatoes are more similar to a fruit. Either way, this fruit/vegetable is high in nutrients and easy to use in many dishes...more


It’s peach time in Missouri

Summer is the time for fresh, juicy, sweet peaches. You can easily obtain locally grown fruit by visiting area orchards, roadside produce stands and farmer’s markets. Here are tips for selecting, storing and preparing peaches...more


Lists help consumers know how to choose produce wisely

The Environmental Working Group has updated their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce, with its worst findings listed as the “Dirty Dozen” and those least contaminated as the “Clean 15”...more


Drying is a great way to preserve summer berries

Summer is a great time for berries. If you have extra berries that you’re not sure what to with, consider drying some of them...more


Make room for fruits and vegetables during grilling season

Grilling season is upon us with the arrival of warmer temperatures and longer days. People tend to think of hamburgers, steaks, brats and hot dogs for grill entrees. Instead, move the meat over and make room for the fruits and vegetables...more


Go green in the kitchen on Earth Day

One of the goals of Earth Day is to measurably reduce carbon emissions. There are small things that anyone can do in our kitchens and with our food to make a difference...more


Please pass the cranberries

Cranberries are often part of holiday feasts, but they have so much to offer in terms of taste, nutrition and versatility that they should be enjoyed any time of the year...more


Locally grown fruits and vegetables a great choice

Efforts to expand farmers markets are making locally grown fruits and vegetables more accessible for consumers. When you buy locally grown food, you not only contribute to your personal health, you also support Missouri farmers and enhance the economic well-being of communities...more


It’s time for fresh strawberries!

Strawberries are in season in May and June so now is the perfect time to pick or purchase fresh strawberries. Strawberries are always a nutritious choice and a wonderful treat...more


Choose persimmons for a sweet fruit treat

If you’ve never had a persimmon, now is the time to try! Ripe persimmons are a small, orange-red, smooth-skinned fruit...more


Ingredient substitutions and equivalents

If you’ve ever started to cook or bake and realize mid-stir you didn’t have a needed ingredient, or if there are some ingredients that you just never have on hand, this list is for you. Here are some substitutions that may come in handy...more


Make quick, tasty meals with a slow cooker

Something about cold weather makes us long for a warm meal waiting for us as we come in the door at night. Slow cookers are a great way to enjoy family favorites year-round...more


Pumpkins can be used in many tasty ways

Although we often think of pumpkins in terms of pie or Halloween decorations, pumpkins and pumpkin plants are more versatile than most people think...more


Time to pick Missouri apples

There is nothing tastier than an apple picked right off the tree. In Missouri, that’s an easy thing to do during the fall season...more


It’s time for asparagus!

Asparagus is always a welcome sight in early spring as a first opportunity for a fresh vegetable straight from the garden. It is important to know how to prepare and store fresh asparagus for the best taste and maximum freshness...more


Acai berry health claims – more hype than substance

The popular Brazilian acai berry has been touted as a “superfood” that can promote weight loss, reduce wrinkles, cleanse colons and bolster the immune system; however, a University of Missouri Extension nutrition & health education specialist encourages consumers to be skeptical...more


Edamame is a new, healthy snack

Edamame is a great food to add to your family’s food repertoire. It’s new, it’s different, and it’s fun...more


Sooty Blotch in Apples Not a Health Concern

The good news is that sooty blotch is only ‘skin deep.’ Because it is confined to the surface of the fruit, it is easy to remove it...more


Cooked or raw, tomatoes are a healthy choice

Is a tomato a fruit or vegetable? Botanically, tomatoes are a fruit with healthful benefits of both lycopene and vitamin C...more


Get rid of pantry pests

The first sign that you have pantry pests is the presence of small brown beetles, moths or worms in your cupboards or even on the kitchen counter. They can come from a lot of places...more


Select the Right Apple

There are lots of varieties of apples and knowing how to select the best apple for the preparation or eating method can make all the difference...more


It’s that peachy time of year

It’s time to take advantage of fresh juicy peaches. Peaches are a healthy choice for a snack when picked right off the tree but their other uses are endless...more


Preserving Berries

When the season gets into full swing and they are either too plentiful in the garden or too good a deal at the store to pass up, one way to preserve the sweet treat of berries is to freeze them...more

Melons are a good value financially and nutritionally

Many people have a hard time getting the needed amount of fruits and vegetables daily. This may be because they prefer fresh fruits and vegetables but they are just too expensive...more


Eat blueberries for good health

Blueberries pack a healthful punch that you really shouldn’t miss out on. And, they taste great...more


Mold on Food can be Dangerous

You might think that the little bit of mold on your bread or on top of your cream cheese is easily cut away and discarded. What most people don’t know is that, like an iceberg, there is a lot more than what you are able to see...more


Choose Lean Ground Beef for Better Health

While shopping at the grocery store, it is easy to spend a long time at the meat counter trying to make a decision about which package of ground beef to buy. There are percentages written on the package and there is a big price difference. For health, it is best to purchase the leanest ground beef...more


Beans are inexpensive, healthy and convenient

Beans are one of the best values around when it comes to the amount of nutrients for your dollar. Beans are low in fat and calories and high in fiber and protein, which will help you feel full longer for very little cost. Follow these steps for cooking beans in a microwave or slow cooker...more


Alter Holiday Recipes for Health

Some of the favorite recipes are heavy in fat, sugar and calories. These favorites can be improved and made more healthfully. You just have to know the rules...more


Winter squash is a great addition to fall menus

Winter squash is a healthy addition to any meal and easy to prepare. During the fall, it is reasonably priced and available at most local grocery stores...more


Many types of margarine have different uses

There are many different types of margarine on the market, so it can be confusing to know which to purchase for spreading, cooking or baking...more


Cook Once, Eat Twice

Life can be so hectic. Wouldn’t it be nice to have good home-cooked meals ready to eat with little effort? With a little extra effort now and some freezer space, a person can cook once and eat twice...more


Grow Chilies Hot, Hot, Hot!

Chili pepper lovers can grow their own peppers as ho as they can stand them in their backyard garden...more


Crockpot Cooking

There’s nothing quite like coming home to the smells of a home-cooked meal. But if you’re the one responsible for the cooking, that could be a problem – unless you use a slow cooker or crockpot to make that meal...more


Many uses for pumpkin

The most popular use of pumpkins this time of year is for jack-o-lanterns and fall decorations. But pumpkin is healthy and versatile, so we could be preparing and eating it in a variety of ways as well...more


Recipes are Chemical Formulas

Understanding what functions different ingredients have in a recipe can help you make decisions about altering recipes successfully...more


Sweet potatoes are healthy and tasty

It’s that time of year when many people are harvesting their sweet potatoes. Not only do sweet potatoes taste great, they are healthful as well. Learn more about purchasing or harvesting, storing and using sweet potatoes...more


Summer garden produce brings bounty of food preservation questions, concerns

When backyard gardens are overflowing with cucumbers, grandma’s home-canned pickles are not far behind. Before you take the first bite of that crisp, tangy pickled cuke, it might be wise to ask, “Is her recipe safe?”...more


Tips for Making Jams and Jellies

A lot of work goes in to picking and preparing fruit to make jellied products so you want to be sure that they are going to turn out the way you expected. When you are making jelly, you have a high quality product if the end product is clear and firm enough to hold its shape when spooned out of the container...more


Preserving Fresh Peaches

Who can resist a fresh, juicy peach? Let’s look at some tips for buying great tasting fresh peaches and some ways you can preserve this delicious fruit for a winter time treat!...more


Why the Little Sticky Label on Fruit?

Have you noticed the little "brand" stickers on your bananas, apples, peaches, pears, mangos, kiwi and other seasonal fruit...more


All about asparagus

Asparagus, in season in April and May, is a fat-free, low-sodium vegetable that provides lots of nutrients and only three calories per spear...more


Strawberries – tasty and nutritious

As days grow longer and warmer, strawberries are first to show up in the market. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, potassium and soluble fiber, and 1 cup of strawberries only contains around 45 calories...more


Make good use of abundant zucchini

Anyone who has grown zucchini knows that a little planting goes a long way. Zucchini is abundant in many gardens, and there are a variety of ways it can be prepared and used...more


Enjoy and preserve fresh blueberries

Blueberries contain cancer-fighting antioxidants and may play a role in reducing your risk for heart disease. Here are some tips for making the most of your blueberries...more


Salsa – Some Like It Hot

When tomatoes and peppers are ripe and plentiful, folks will wonder what to do with all that produce. Salsa is one good option...more


Improving Machine Breads – All You “Knead” to Know!

Come on, admit it! You just had to have a bread machine and now you use it a couple of times a year. Lots of kitchen appliances are like this…we want to believe we use it daily, but the truth is that we struggle with making a good product with the appliance. I hear this commonly, particularly when it comes to machine breads. You definitely have to do some things differently...more


Making Delicious Jerky at Home

If you have hunters in the family who bring home deer, a lightweight way to preserve meat is drying it into jerky. Or, if you want homemade jerky year around, purchase lean beef roasts or loins, slice thinly and you’re a day away from delicious jerky...more


Ready, Set, Go! Barbecue

While some save barbecuing for summer, we strike up the grill nearly every week of the year-if I don’t let the grill tank run out of gas...more


From Harvest to Health

How to select, store, prepare and preserve a variety of farm-fresh produce
Apples  Blueberries  Corn  Grapes  Green Beans  Honey
Nuts  Peaches  Pumpkins  Raspberries  Strawberries  Tomatoes


An apple a day...

...really is good for you! Apples pack a nutritional punch. And at only about 100 calories per medium apple (about the size of a baseball), they make a wonderful, inexpensive snack...more


Home-Style Roasted Soybeans

Roasted soybeans make a good snack and the planning needed is worth the wait. Start with the basic roasted soybean procedures then get creative with your flavorings. Cookbooks can give you some ideas of coatings that will work well...more


Cooking with Delicious 'Missouri' Apples

It's hard to beat a juicy (sometimes tart) bite of a crisp apple. But sweet, warm chunky applesauce provides good competition for eating. Apples are good fresh and cooked in pies, cobblers, sauces and butters...more


Give Fresh Green Soybeans a Taste Test

Recently a friend and extension user came into my office and shared her frustration in not being able to buy “edamame” at the farmer’s market. Pronounced “Ed a ma may,” it’s really green soybeans. Knowing there is a window of opportunity to picking the green fuzzy pods, I explored the taste testing opportunity with her promptly...more


“Can I Can Yellow Tomatoes?” and Other Tomato Questions

"How do you can yellow tomatoes?" "Can I can pink tomatoes?" “Can I mix red, orange and yellow tomatoes?” "To can tomatoes safely, do I need to add acid?" “What causes the white spots under the skin?”...more


Beets Add Variety to Table: Plain, Fancy or Pickled!

Our “baby” beets are ready for harvest!  While we won’t have a huge crop, we’ll have several meals worth.  We like our beets buttered.  Sometimes I Harvard them (thicken the sauce). Others like them pickled!  Pickling beets is easy and if you have any left you can can them...more


Extra morels? Freeze them!

The most important rule of mushroom hunting is to know precisely and positively what you're after. Here are some tips on identifying, preparing and freezing the morel...more


Planning a “Nutrient-Rich” Garden

When planning and planting your garden, plant seeds which will produce vegetables which will be rich in nutrients. Since garden seed packets aren’t labeled with nutrient labeling, here is a listing of different nutrients, followed by the vegetable which provides that nutrient...more


Your Garden Can Be Your Salad Bar!

You don’t have to have a large garden to have a salad garden. Short rows or even large patio containers of your favorite salad ingredients, will add variety to your palate... more



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Last update: Tuesday, August 08, 2017