Chill Hours

You’re thumbing through the newest seed/plant catalog you’ve just received and decided that you may want to plant a peach tree or two this spring. While looking at the varieties available you see: Contender ‘Needs 1,050 chill hours’, Elberta ‘Needs 850 chill hours’, TruGold ‘Needs 600 chill hours’, etc. The first thing that runs through your mind might be ‘What the heck are chill hours?’ You’re in luck. Here’s the story on ‘chill hours’.

It widely known that the Southeastern states is the best area in the U.S. to grow peaches. But growing peaches is not as easy as one might think. The most important item in establishing a peach tree, or a peach orchard, is correct variety selection. Over the winter, each variety of peach or nectarine must collect a set number of hours of temperature being below 45 degrees. They will not begin the blooming process until this set number of hours has been accumulated. Once the pre-determined number of chill hours has been accumulated, they will start to bloom rapidly. Thus, while a low chill hour variety tree will grow quite well in the Northern states, its blossoms and buds will almost always be frozen and the chance of fruit ruined by the frost.

As the temperature varies from year to year, the total accumulation of chill hours will also vary. If the required number of chill hours below 45 degrees is not reached, peaches and nectarines will not set fruit or if they do, it will be very sporadic. Along the Gulf and Centeral Atlantic coast states, select varieties with a chill range of 350 to 650 hours. For states north of these areas, select varieties with 700 or more chill hours so they will bloom later in the spring. Check with your local extension office for publications that show the number of chill hours for all areas of each state. On line, go to http://www.extension. org and select the link to your state and area for the exact number of chill hours required.

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Which Grain for Your Culinary Creation?- #8

This is #8 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grains used in  recipes.

  • Wheat – High levels of protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are among the nutrients in whole wheat. Studies have shown that the insoluble fiber in wheat bran may help fight colon cancer and at the very least is beneficial for digestion. Wheat contains gluten but has a multitude of health benefits. There are many types and forms of wheat available for cooking/baking. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, wheat contains 158 calories, 1 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 32.75 g carbs, 5.75 g dietary fiber and 7.5 g protein. Here are some facts for Hard Red Winter Wheat. HRWW may be for making flour and in yeast breads. This whole wheat may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in pies and pastry. If soaked, it may also be used in pilafs & side dishes.
  • White rice – The husk, bran and germ have been removed (polished) from white rice which allows it to cook rapidly. Removal of these items makes it the least nutritious of rice varieties although it is the most popular of all varieties. White rice is often enriched with nutrients such as iron, thiamin and riboflavin to restore some of the lost nutritional value. If you are gluten intolerant, flour milled from rice is an excellent choice for your use. Rice is available in many varieties that retain the bran and germ, making them more nutritious. These include brown rice, red rice, black rice and brown basmati, to list a few. Based on 1/4 cup dry grain, rice contains 171 calories, 1.25 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.25 mg sodium, 35.75 g carbs, 1.5 g dietary fiber and 3.75 g protein. Both long grain and medium grain white rice may be used for making flour. Both rices may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads and pies & pastry. They may also be used in pilafs & side dishes and are considered fast cooking.
  • Wild rice – Being slightly higher in protein than most other whole grains, wild rice is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6 and niacin. One study of wild rice determined it to be high in antioxidants while other studies showed it to be effective in lowering cholesterol and other lipids. Based on 1/4 cup dry grain, wild rice contains 146 calories, 1.5 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, .5 mg sodium, 30.5 g carbs, 4.25 g dietary fiber and 5.75 g protein. Wild rice may be used for making flour and as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads and pies & pastry. It may also be used in making pilafs & side dishes.

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My, How Time Flies

Remember when we were young? It took forever for Christmas to come, for us to be a year older or for the school year to end. I think you get my drift. Now that we are older it seems that birthdays come quite often, they’re playing Christmas music again and events that happened years ago seem like they happened yesterday. Why is this? What can we do to slow it down?

Our brains contain thousands upon thousands of neurons. Every time we encounter something new, thousands of these neurons are stimulated to code and store as much information as  possible about this event. This causes you to feel and notice a lot about this new experience. As time passes, these ‘new experiences’ become old and your brain uses less energy to code information because you already know it. Here’s an example of this. The first few times we drove the 14 miles from the bridge to our place, the neurons in the  ‘old noodle’ were really stimulated to code and store things we saw. Now, with every trip in/out our brains are not stimulated as much as we know where every pothole and low hanging branch is located.

We experienced most of our ‘firsts’ in the earlier parts of our lives. This causes us to feel that much more happened when we were young. Our first encounter with the opposite sex, our first car or our first ‘party’, the likelihood of new experiences is much greater at a young age. Add this likelihood of new experiences at a young age to the declining proportion of time that one year represents in our lives and the feeling is compounded. To a 1-year-old, this is 100% of their life. A 2-year-old, one year is 50% of their lives while to a 50-year-old, one year is 2% of their lives. Every year represents a smaller proportion of your life as a whole, and it seems like time went by faster. As my Dad always said, “Getting older sure beats the alternative!”

What can we do about this feeling? If we continue to find new things to do that stimulate different parts of our brains, time may slow down again. Learn a new language, travel, take a class or do an activity you’ve never done before to escape the monotony that everyday life brings. By doing these new things, you’ll get the feeling that time is once again passing slowly.

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Which Grain for Your Culinary Creation? – #6

This is #6 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grains used in recipes.

  • Quinoa – Quinoa was the main grain used in the Incan empire but lost favor with the passage of time. Helping in the control of blood sugar, quinoa has the highest level of potassium of any grain. Making you feel fuller longer, quinoa is also more nutritious for gluten-free diets. It is also a complete protein, with a high protein to carbohydrate ratio based on the germ which makes up 60% on the grain. Studies show that quinoa is a good source of antioxidants and vitamin E, has excellent nutritious properties with a high protein content, and has great amino acid balance.Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, quinoa contains 159 calories, 2.5 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 29.25 g carbs, 2.5 g dietary fiber and 5.5 g protein. Quinoa can be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads, pies & pastry and ass a quick cooking cereal. This whole grain can also be used in pilafs and side dishes.
  • Rye – Rye, being a rich whole grain, is a versatile source dietary fiber. It has arabinoxylan , a fiber source known for its high antioxidant activity. Phenolic acids, lignans and alkylresorcinos, among others, are compounds contained in rye. Other benefits of rye include improved bowel health, aid in controlling blood sugar levels and weight management. Rye does contain gluten, unlike some other grains.Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, rye contains 142 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.5 mg sodium, 29.5 g carbs, 6.25 g dietary fiber and 6.25 g protein. Rye berries can be used in making flour, as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in making yeast breads and in pies & side pastry. If soaked, rye berries can also be used in pilafs & side dishes.

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Reuse Cooking Oil

Deep frying fish once in vegetable oil and then discarding the oil is not necessary. When on a fishing trip, using the oil only once means you must tote extra weight into camp which is neither desirable nor necessary.

Simply take along  an empty container, the same size as your oil container, to strain the used oil into. After frying up and enjoying your day’s catch, let the oil cool. When thoroughly cool, strain the oil through a coffee filter or a milk filter into the empty container. You can purchase the later from Filter-Clean in boxes of 100. If you have real deep pockets, you can purchase cooking oil filters from a place such as Gander Mountain. After the next night’s fish feast, use a clean filter to filter the oil back into the original container. You can do this several times before using new oil.

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What Grain for Your Culinary Creation? – #5

This is #5 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grain used in recipes.

  • Millet –  is easily digestible, high in antioxidant activity, and can help in the control of blood sugar and cholesterol. This whole grain is high in magnesium and iron. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, millet contains 189 calories, 2 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.5 mg sodium, 36.5 g carbs, 4.25 g dietary fiber and 5.5 g protein. Millet may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient in making flour, yeast breads and pies & pastry. It may also be used in pilafs and side dishes and as a fast cooking cereal.
  • Oats – Due to nutrient benefits which help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease, in addition to help control weight is what makes oats one of the best whole grains. Oats are higher in protein and healthy fats, while being lower in carbohydrates than most whole grains. They contain 20 polyphenols called avenanthramides, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activities. Their soluble fiber helps to control blood sugar, and they have beta-glucans which can aid the body’s endurance through chemotherapy and other nuclear therapies, as they are thought to be radioprotective. Introduction to children early in life can help produce asthma. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, oats contains 152 calories, 2.75 g total fats, .5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, .75 mg sodium, 25.75 g carbs, 4.25 g dietary fiber and 6.5 g protein. Oats come in many forms, including but not limited to, quick cooking oats, rolled oats, oat bran, oatmeal, steel-cut oats, baby flake oats and oat groats. As an example, quick rolled oats may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient in making yeast breads. It may also be used as a quick cooking cereal.

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What Grain for Your Culinary Creation? – #4

This is #4 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grain used in recipes.

  • Flaxseed –  is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial in reducing cholesterol and lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Flaxseed contain soluble fiber which also helps in reducing cholesterol levels. About 1/3 of the fiber in flaxseed is soluble and 2/3 is insoluble, which is an important component in aiding digestion. Flaxseed is the best source of lignin, which may play a role in fighting certain types of cancer. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, flaxseed contains 224 calories, 17.75 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 12.5 mg sodium,12.25 g carbs, 11.5 g dietary fiber and 7.75 g protein. Flaxseed may be purchased as either brown or gold grain and either in whole or ground form. Brown, ground flaxseed meal may be used as an added ingredient, but not the main ingredient in yeast breads, as a cooked cereal, or in pilafs & side dishes. T may be used for making flour. Certified organic and gluten-free flaxseed are available.
  • Kamut® – is a variety of wheat which has a higher level of protein and vitamin E than wheat. Kamut® is a good source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral that helps to maintain a healthy immune system and is thought to guard against cancer. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, Kamut contains 160 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 4 g dietary fiber and 7 g protein. Organic Kamut® whole grain may be used for making flour, yeast breads, as a cooked cereal, and in pilafs & side dishes.

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