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In brief

Which foods rot first when power quits?

If you lose power, bacteria growth can take place in these foods that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more:

Pitch these

  • Meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, yogurt, eggs, leftovers, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats, pizza, shredded cheeses, casseroles, pasta and pasta sauces.
  • Cream-based salad dressings, sauces and soups.
  • Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce and horseradish.
  • Pasta salads with creamy or mayonnaise-based dressings.
  • Sour cream-based dips.
  • Fruits and vegetables that have become slimy or spoiled.

Keep these

  • Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, jelly, jams, soy sauce and bottled marinade. Typically these have high salt and sugar content that can act as a preservative.
  • Fresh bread and rolls.
  • Fruits and vegetables that show no signs of decay.

The best rule to follow: "When in doubt, throw it out."

Serve veggies first to sell kids on them

How do you get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables? Pennsylvania State University nutrition scientist Barbara J. Rolls and colleagues worked with preschoolers and found that if you feed them generous amounts of vegetables as their first course, they will eat more of them.

Cooking terms worth knowing

  • Garnish: To add visual appeal to a finished dish.
  • Glaze: A thin, glossy coating. Savory glazes are made with reduced sauces or gelatin; sweet glazes can be made with melted jelly or chocolate.

Scaling back the sodium in your diet

Research shows that too much sodium in the diet is associated with high blood pressure, which can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Here are some tips for cutting salt intake:

  • Taste buds adjust. Scientists have found that when you cut back on salt, you get used to it in about three weeks.
  • Note that pickles, cheese, smoked meats, gravies, sauces, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, soy sauce and broths are usually high in sodium, so use them sparingly. A tablespoon of soy sauce, for instance, contains 1,000 mg of sodium. Hot sauces are often sodium-free; read the labels.
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