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What’s The Best Way To Store Fruits And Veggies To Preserve Freshness?

fruits_and_vegetables2

By: April McCarthy, Prevent Disease |

Although room temperature is one of the best ways to store fruit and vegetables in the short-term, due to our busy lives it is often difficult for us to preserve them without using a refrigeration source. Read these pro tips on storing the most popular produce so you can enjoy them when you want to while preventing spoilage.

FRUITS

  1. Bananas – To extend freshness, separate bananas after purchasing and store in a well-ventilated basket.
  2. Apples – Away from heat, these will keep for about two weeks. For longer storage, place in a cardboard box and refrigerate.
  3. Grapes – Store in the fridge, but only wash when ready to use to avoid mushiness.
  4. Peaches – Only refrigerate when fully ripe.
  5. Pears – A cool environment or brown paper bag is best. Pears will keep for a few weeks on the counter.
  6. Watermelon – Let ripen at room temperature for 7-10 days. After that, sliced watermelon can be stored in the fridge for several days.
  7. Pineapples – Can be stored whole in the fridge (cut off the top) or sliced and put in an airtight container (don’t use aluminum foil, as this will alter the flavor).
  8. Strawberries – Keep away from damp, wet places. Refrigerated strawberries placed in a brown paper bag will keep for a week if the bag is kept dry.
  9. Oranges – Oranges lose juiciness when refrigerated. For freshest fruit, place in a ventilated basket and keep on the counter.
  10. Cherries – Store in an airtight container and avoid washing until ready to eat. Keep cherries refrigerated.
  11. Plums – Store at room temperature until they are ripe, and then keep them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
  12. Blueberries – Store dry in a shallow plastic container in the refrigerator. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them, because they will quickly mold if they are stored wet.

VEGGIES

  1. Tomatoes – Always keep at room temperature.
  2. Cucumbers – If you need to keep these fresh for more than a day or two after buying, wrap in a moist towel and refrigerate.
  3. Peppers – Store in a safe BPA-free plastic bag for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. If flash frozen, peppers will last up to 10 months.
  4. Green Beans – These keep well with humidity (drape a damp cloth over them) but not wetness.
  5. Carrots – Keep in a closed contained and wrapped in a damp towel or dip in cold water every few days. For lasting freshness, cut off the tops.
  6. Squash – Will keep at room temperature for a few days if out of direct sunlight.
  7. Peas – Place in an open container and refrigerate.
  8. Onions – Keep in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.
  9. Broccoli – Store in the fridge: either wrapped in a damp towel or in an open container.
  10. Corn – Best to leave these in the husk until ready to be eaten, but more flavorful if eaten sooner. Keep corn refrigerated.
  11. Garlic – Keep away from humidity, dampness, or direct sunlight.
  12. Celery – Wrap in foil and place in the fridge or keep in a bowl of shallow water on the counter.
  13. Lettuce – Keep lettuce damp and refrigerated, preferably in an airtight container.
  14. Mushroom – These are best stored in their original container. Uncooked leftovers should be covered with more plastic wrap before going back in the fridge.
  15. Potatoes – Store in a dark and dry place or a brown paper bag.

Sustainable Gardening: What To Do Before You Plant Your Seedlings

Corn-seedlings

To live more sustainably, I have a small garden bed in my backyard to grow food for my family. Although it isn’t as large as I would like it be and certainly could not grow a year’s worth of food, I am able to grow plenty of fresh vegetables to make sauces, salsas and salad ingredients. As well, I utilize my patio as a container garden to grow bush-type varieties in pots. Using the space I have to the best of its ability saves me money and, best of all, I have the satisfaction of knowing how my food is grown.

Getting My Seeds Started

To gear up for the garden season, I save lots of newspapers (one of my favorite items to keep on hand) ahead of time to use in the garden. I love the sheet-mulching or the lasagna gardening method, so I add lots of newspaper to my garden. As well, I use recycled newspaper to make seed pots. You can learn how to make your own, or use this handy device to secure the paper to make pots.

To keep the cost down on gardening, I make my own seed starting mix. I usually make my own compost. Here are 80+ items to add to your compost pile. This is the best recipe I have found:

  • 4 parts screened compost
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part vermiculite
  • 2 parts coir

Note: To keep the dust down, lightly moisten the ingredients before blending them thoroughly in a dishpan or wheelbarrow.

Place two or three seeds on the surface, and gently press the seeds down so they are nestled into the mix. If your seeds are very small, like basil or peppers, you can leave them uncovered. If your seeds are larger, like beans or peas, or they require darkness to germinate, cover them with a layer of vermiculite or seed starting mix equal to their height, usually 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

I usually start my seeds indoors in January to give them ample time to grow and establish their roots before I find their permanent homes in my outdoor garden. Rather than purchasing a Jiffy Pot Greenhouse kit each year, I have learned how to make my own. All you need is a used rotisserie chicken plastic container, plastic clamshells that previously held baked goods or even fast food salad containers. These are all great containers for creating a diy hot house for growing seeds. Ideally, you want to add drainage holes at the bottom of whichever container you use so that your seedlings do not sit idly in water, as this can cause root rot and molds grow.

Which Seeds to Grow

Determining when to start plants indoors depends on when the last frost typically occurs where you live, and then counting backward based on the type of plants you want to grow. The seeds I have chosen to grow early in the season are the ones that take between 60-90 days to mature. Seeds such as, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, melons, squash and herbs. As well, I am regrowing some of my food scraps to add to the garden once their roots are established.

If you are short on garden space, many of these varieties can be grown on the patio or deck. In fact, I have a very successful winter patio garden that I started where I grow spinach, lettuce, herbs and kale. These are great for patio gardens because they are shallow rooted, meaning they do not have large root systems that take up a lot of space – all you need is a deep garden pot. The following is a listing of plants that grow well in containers:

  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Mustard greens
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Most herbs

Prepping the Garden Space

Initially, before you put the plants in the ground you need to prep your garden space. This will give you ample time to prepare your beds and condition and layer the soil. I use a lot of natural gardening methods that I have learned over the years.

1. Don’t work the soil too early.

This website discusses the dangers of working the soil too early. “Working the soil too early is a mistake. When the earth is still saturated with melting snow or spring rain, it is easily compacted by treading across it, or even worse, driving heavy equipment on it. In addition, large clumps of wet soil turned over at this time will only bake into impervious clods that will be very difficult to break up later…

How can you tell whether your garden has dried out enough to be worked? The truest test of soil condition is that age-old gesture of the gardener—fingering a handful of soil. Pick up about half a cup of earth in your hand. Now squeeze the soil together so that it forms a ball. If the ball of earth can readily be shattered by pressing with your fingers or dropping it from a height of 3 feet or so, it is dry enough to dig. If the ball keeps its shape or breaks only with difficulty into solid sections rather than loose soil, it still contains too much water. Clay soil that is too wet will feel slick when rubbed between thumb and forefinger. If it is very wet (75 to 100 percent moisture), the mass will be pliable, and a ribbon of earth can be drawn out and pressed with your finger. Working soil that wet can spoil its texture for the whole season.”

2. Clear debris.

Removing any leaves, pine needles or debris from the garden will ensure that your transplants will have the best living conditions and the soil will drain efficiently. Because many compost piles are short on carbon-rich materials, add the debris and items you remove into the compost pile.

3. Declare war against weeds.

Weeding now, while the weeds are still young and tender is the best time to remove. Waiting until their root systems have established and the weeds have grown will make it more difficult to remove. As well, by removing them now, you can add any additional soil amendments to make the soil more fertile. As well, you will want to “dead head” and clear dead foliage and add to the compost pile.

4. Repair beds, trellises or fencing. 

The high winds and heavy moisture from winter can damage garden beds, trellises and fencing. Repairing them now when there is less growth to work around and fewer roots to disturb. Doing so will help better protect your plants.

5. Top dress your beds.

The spring is the best time to add soil amendments. Resist the urge to dig the bed; established beds have a complex soil ecosystem which is best left undisturbed. Nutrients added from the top will work their way down into the soil. I usually add a of compostables (egg shells, paper, food scraps, bits of cardboard, etc.), then I add layers of soil amenders, add some water and leave the bed alone. Some of my favorite soil amenders are:

I usually mix these up together in a wheelbarrow and add them to the garden.

Living sustainably and starting a garden is economical and will help your children learn the essential skill of growing food as naturally as possible. In addition, it helps you use compostable items in the garden that you would otherwise throw away. Use these time-tested gardening tips will ensure your garden is a successful one.

Related Articles:

The No-Brainer Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Farmer’s Almanac Growing Calendar

Urban Gardening: Grow Anywhere


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

 

Grassfed Label Watered Down By USDA

beef

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has rescinded the grassfed meat labeling standard, due to the possibility that the USDA agency which approves meat labels, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), may not recognize it. FSIS will now only consider feeding protocol in their verification process, leaving the issues of confinement; antibiotic and hormone use; and the source of animals, meat, and dairy products to the discretion of producers. The change reduces transparency and is sure to cause confusion, but consumers can still rely on the rigorous standards of the American Grassfed Association label, verified by an independent, third-party, on-farm yearly audit.

READ MORE

Seeds Of Revolution

seed growth

Dr. Vandana Shiva’s work around seed sovereignty and organic agriculture is perhaps best known in India. But she influences and inspires on a global scale.

With special thanks to, and permission from Acres U.S.A., North America’s monthly magazine of ecological agriculture, we reprint the following introduction and in-depth interview with Dr. Shiva.

Americans who visit India often come back more or less overwhelmed by its vast size and complexity, and if they are not stunned into silence they are at least much less willing to engage in generalities. Timeless beauty, explosive economic growth, persistent poverty and about a billion people all make for an intense experience if you’re used to the predictable movements of cars and shoppers.

One thing that does emerge from the ancient nation’s recent history, though, is the way societies that seem chaotic and disorganized to outsiders actually offer opportunities for their citizens who are willing to act with boldness, imagination and fierce resolve. Gandhi was one such actor, and Vandana Shiva may well be another. Increasingly well-known here as an author and lecturer, her popularity makes her a pain in the neck to proponents of industrial agriculture.

Read the Acres U.S.A. interview with Vandana Shiva

The Importance Of Organic Carpet Cleaners

Vacuum cleaner brush

Every time toxic cleaners are used, there’s a heavy impact on our environment. It does not matter whether the cleaners are poured, sprayed, washed, rinsed, or dumped; the harmful effects are the same. When we use these things we risk adding toxins to the air and to the water, both of which come back to us and are shared with the public. If you are not sure whether your cleaning products are harmful to you and the environment, take a look at the product labels to see the various types of chemical ingredients that are listed. What you find might surprise you!

Some products you may want to review are your carpet cleaners. For many of the cleaning needs today, there are healthier, organic alternatives for the usual toxic products. Carpet cleaners are no different. If you are concerned about this issue, and would like to use products that are healthier for you and the environment, consider switching to organic cleaning products. Organic carpet cleaners, for example, are generally dry cleaners that are much less harmful than traditional carpet cleaners.

Dangers of Non-Organic Carpet Cleaners

Most of the popular brands of carpet cleaners that are sold in stores can be quite harmful to us because they are made with chemical solvents that are very similar to the ones used by dry cleaners. The most common carpet cleaners give off powerfully strong odors that can aggravate a number of chronic respiratory conditions and allergies.

Some of the harmful ingredients that may be found in carpet cleaners include:

  • Pesticides
  • Disinfectants
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrances
  • Acids
  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

These ingredients can cause endocrine issues, hormonal imbalance, and even infertility according to some studies. [1] In addition to these, there are a wide variety of additional compounds that are frequently found on product labels. It is helpful if you are aware of at least some of these potentially dangerous chemicals so you can avoid using them.

You’re Putting Toxic Chemicals on Toxic Materials

Carpets are often made of synthetic fibers and they’re treated with toxic chemicals that are hazardous to you and your family’s health. These carpets pose a threat to the families that have them installed as well as those who install them. Often times, those facing the greatest risks are infants, toddlers, and pets, which spend the most time breathing closest to the floor.

The following are some of the dangerous chemicals found in carpets in emissions tests:

  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Styrene
  • Hexane
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Caprolactam
  • Xylenes
  • Vinylcyclohexene
  • p-Dichlorobenzene

Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic. [2] If carpets are putting out these toxins, then people are surely breathing them in. Compound these chemicals with those in the cleanser formulas and you can begin to see the dangers present.

Why Should I Use Organic Carpet Cleaners?

Organic carpets don’t give off the noxious fumes that regular carpet can. Toxic fumes from carpet come from the synthetic fibers, the chemicals used in the manufacture, as well as the chemicals used to treat it. Your carpet padding can be treated with equally harmful chemicals. These toxic chemicals can cause allergic reactions in people and pets.

One of the main benefits of organic carpet cleaners is that they don’t pollute the air. Organic carpet cleaners are healthier for you and they’re healthier for our environment. Traditional carpet cleaners generally leave a concentrated vapor hanging in the air, which causes indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is a very serious concern, as it can cause sneezing, headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, irritation to the lungs, nose, and eyes, coughing, congestion, fatigue, and a host of other symptoms.

By using organic carpet cleaners, the potential for mold growth is greatly reduced. Since most organic cleaners are dry, the environment where mold spores readily sprout and flourish is minimized. Once mold develops in a carpet or carpet pad, it is nearly impossible to remove. The only alternative at that point is to replace all of it.

The most important point to remember is to be aware of the harmful chemicals that are typically found in commercially sold carpet cleaners, and make an effort to select organic carpet cleaners for the sake of your family’s health.

There are other alternatives that you can consider when you’re planning to have a greener home and work environment. For example, you could look into purchasing an organic carpet made with natural materials. A very safe carpet to purchase is one made of 100% natural wool fibers.

Carpet is not your only alternative for floor covering. Remember that alongside all-natural carpets made of wool or hemp, you can also elect to have natural wood flooring, not pressed or chipped board.

When you’re having new materials put on your floor, whether it’s wood, carpet, or some other beneficial covering, be sure to use proper backing; natural rubber is a good one. And then there’s the fixative. Sometimes the glue used can give off toxic fumes that linger for a long time after the flooring is installed. Check with your installer to make certain that he’s using the safest products for everyone.

One simple and effective product for deodorizing carpet between major cleanses is baking soda. You can sprinkle this dry substance freely over your carpet. Let is sit for as short as 30 minutes or as long as overnight; then vacuum. If you’ve ever used baking soda in your refrigerator, then you know how effective it is at removing odors. It can do the same for your carpet.

What to Consider When Cleaning Carpet

The best organic carpet cleaners are biodegradable and nontoxic. It is equally important to ensure a product’s packaging is made from 100% recycled material.

If you want your carpets to be professionally cleaned, you should know that there are professional organic carpet cleaners who specialize in natural cleaning of even the dirtiest carpets. If you have trouble locating professional organic carpet cleaners locally, try searching online to see if you can find one that is close to your area.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Mehrpour O, Karrari P, Zamani N, Tsatsakis AM, Abdollahi M. Occupational exposure to pesticides and consequences on male semen and fertility: a review. Toxicol Lett. 2014 Oct 15;230(2):146-56. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.01.029.
  2. McMichael AJ. Carcinogenicity of benzene, toluene and xylene: epidemiological and experimental evidence. IARC Sci Publ. 1988;(85):3-18.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

 

Scrambled Eggs

Broken egg

Should you look for the USDA seal when you buy eggs?

Yes,  if you don’t have any trustworthy local egg suppliers whose production methods meet or exceed organic standards, based on your own personal verification.

But consumer beware. Not all USDA certified organic eggs are equal, according to a recent report by the Cornucopia Institute.

From the report, titled “Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture:”

Since 2002, the use of the term “organic” on food packaging has been regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Federal regulations determine which farms and processors qualify as “organic” and, therefore, are authorized to use the official “USDA Organic” seal on their food packaging.

However, while consumers expect the organic label to provide an alternative to the industrialized food system, approaches are diverging in the organic-egg-producing sector. One path affords adequate outdoor access (often on well-managed pasture), intentional diversity on the farm, and conditions which allow hens to exhibit their natural behaviors outdoors. The other path favors large numbers of laying hens raised in confinement conditions nearly identical to conventional, industrial-scale egg production.

Want to “score” eggs that come from hens that are allowed to roam outdoors? Check out the Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Brand Scorecard.

Read the full report

Read the scorecard

Learn more

 

The Benefits Of Organic Shampoo And Conditioners

shampoo

Harmful chemicals in cosmetics can lead to health problems and if you’re trying to live a clean, green life it only makes sense to seek out non-toxic, all natural options. Choosing organic shampoo and conditioner products is one of the best places to start. They’re easy to find and usually only marginally more expensive than traditional brands. If you’ve used cheap shampoo or conditioner and your hair or scalp needs reviving, organic alternatives can help.

Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid

When shopping for shampoo or conditioner, always check product labels. Just because chemicals are toxic doesn’t mean they aren’t used. For example, did you know that sodium lauryl sulfate is known to cause cataracts in adults and improper eye development in children? Regardless, it’s a common ingredient in most varieties of shampoo and conditioner. In addition to being common, the following ingredients are known dry out the scalp, irritate oil glands, corrode hair follicles, and are best avoided!

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • Derivatives of lauryl alcohol
  • Myreth sulfate
  • Propylene glycol (also known as antifreeze)
  • Olefin sulfonate (deodorized kerosene)

Benefits of Organic Shampoo and Conditioner

Ingredient quality is the primary difference between organic and conventional hair care products. Think of it as natural vs. synthetic. Organic products gently infuse your hair follicles and skin cells with natural minerals, herbal extracts, and oils. Natural ingredients such as organic tea tree can help address skin conditions such as dandruff and scalp irritation. Beta glucan is another ingredient that helps sooth an irritated scalp.

If you are looking for shampoo that stimulates healthy hair, look for products that contain aloe vera and coconut oil, as they are natural moisturizers. If you need enhanced shine, choose something with organic shea butter.

When you use organic shampoos and conditioners, you’re also helping the environment by letting biodegradable substances go down the drain instead of harsh chemicals. Below are a few of the natural hair care, and skincare, products that I like to use.

Organic Product Suggestions

Organic Soap Skincare Hair Care

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Why (And How) To Know The Origin Of Your Meat

meat-label

As often occurs, members of Congress snuck some crusty little barnacles onto the budget bill that would have been hard to pass on their own. One of those was repealing the law that required labels letting you know the origin of your meat sold in US grocery stores.

The World Trade Organization said those labels were unfair to foreign meat producers. The only reason this would be “unfair” is that American consumers were opting for meat produced within our country. Clearly, the members of Congress (you know, the ones elected to represent your interests) don’t give a flying Houdini about the wishes of consumers, and they’ve made that clear by repealing the law passed to give us the option of purchasing American-raised meat.

Now, I certainly can’t endorse CAFO-raised meat, but the fact is, even in those horrifying conditions, the standards in America are better than the standards, in say, China, which has some extremely questionable practices. Disgusting “food safety” practices are just one of the reasons why you should know the origin of your meat.

Take China, for example

Here are some examples of why you might not want to eat meat from China.

  • Last summer, the Chinese news agency announced that more than 800 tonnes of frozen meat had been seized. Why? Because some of it was rotten and some was more than 40 years old, with processing dates in the 1970s. According to a CNN report, the seized products included beef, pork, and poultry that showed evidence of having been thawed and refrozen numerous times. The meat was destined for markets and restaurants.
  • In 2014, a Chinese meat company was caught selling tainted meat to fast food outlets. The story broke when a reporter secretly filmed what was going on in the Shanghai Husi Food processing plant, which is a subsidiary of the American food company OSI Group.

The footage captured workers handling food with their bare hands. Several scenes showed them picking up meat that had fallen on the floor and returning it directly into the processing machine…

Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently investigated the factory and found that expired beef and chicken products were processed and repackaged with new expiration dates…

Husi had been supplying chicken and beef products to branches of McDonald’s, Papa John’s, Burger King, Starbucks, KFC, and Pizza Hut in several cities in China.

  • In 2013, a Chinese company was selling rat meat as mutton.  904 people were arrested for using additives to cover up the fact that the meat they were selling as mutton actually came from rats, foxes, and minks.  One Chinese restauranteur said, ““It’s a well-known secret in the industry. Real mutton is too expensive. We can’t earn money if we use genuine meat.”
  • One company in China was caught using diseased pigs to make smoked pork products. In 2014, officials from the province of Jiangxi in China were arrested after a slaughterhouse was raided and stomach-turning discoveries were made. Pigs that died of foot-and-mouth disease, which is transmissible to humans, were used to produced smoked products like ham, sausage, and bacon.

Of course, China isn’t the only other country from which food will be imported without a label. It’s just one of the most questionable.

It’s not just about food safety

When we import our food from a country where the costs are far less, we are putting our own farmers out of business. Most people don’t consider the expense of farming here in America, where land and feed are far more expensive than provincial China.

This bill could single-handedly destroy the ranching industry in our country when our farmers can’t compete with the low prices of foreign-produced meat.

According to an article by Michael Snyder, China already sells more than 4 billion pounds of food to America every year. This number is sure to go up now that the label warning that the package of meat in your hand comes from China will be removed. If you’re wondering where all of the jobs are going, this is your first clue – they’re going to China.

So even if you are determined to help keep American farms in business, without labels letting you know the origin of your meat, it will be a lot more difficult to support our ranchers.

How to know for sure the origin of your meat

Avoiding meat from questionable locales is possible, even without the labels warning you of the origins.

1.) Get friendly with the butcher.  Whether you shop at the grocery store or a butcher shop, getting to know the person who runs it is the best way to get accurate information about the food sold there. Many times, they will be able to provide information to you, particularly about the meat that they process there at the shop. They can point you in the direction of the food grown closer to home.

2.) Look for labels that boast of American farms. While no one is required to put country of origin labels on their food, some companies proudly label their food as a product of the USA. Look for companies that are happy for you to know that your food was grown and processed here on American soil.

3.) Cut your costs by buying in bulk directly from a farmer.

If you purchase your meat from local farmers, you can find out all sorts of stuff about the origin of your food. For example, I know the origin of my pork, right down to the breed of pig and the apple mash it was fed to fatten it up. I know that the pigs weren’t fed GMO, soy-laden feed, nor were they ill-treated. As a matter of fact, I saw them before they went to the butcher, so close was my relationship with the farmer who raised them.

Find another like-minded family to split purchases with if you don’t have the space to store an entire pig. My friend and I split 2 American guinea hogs per year. (They’re smaller pigs.) I also get my lamb and beef in bulk quantities too.  When purchased all at once, I’ve found that the price is actually lower than the stuff you get at the grocery store. My last pig purchase was less than $4 per pound for fresh, local, organic pork.

4.) Purchase locally from the farmer’s market.

I know this meat is more expensive that the stuff you get at the grocery store, but it’s far healthier. You can also cut your costs by purchasing in bulk once you develop a friendship with the farmer. (See above.)

I realize that kind of relationship isn’t possible for everyone, but if you do some looking around, you can find people who raise meat at your local farmer’s market. (You can find a farmer’s market close to you on this website.) Some butcher shops also specialize in locally raised meat – when we lived in the city we found just such a shop.

5.) Raise your own.

If you want to really, truly know where your food comes from, you can’t beat raising it yourself.

While it isn’t an option for everyone to raise a beef cow in their backyard, smaller meat animals are a lot easier. Consider raising rabbits, which are fast becoming the meat of choice for homesteaders. Rabbits are popular in part because they multiply, well, like rabbits. Rabbit meat is lean, the cost for raising them is minimal, and space requirements are not great.

Aquaponics are a solution that can provide you with fresh fish and fresh produce. Using an aquaponics set up, you can see the symbiotic relationship between the two as the fish feed off the castoffs of the roots of the plants, and fertilize the plant with their waste. It’s easier than you might expect to get this system going.

If you have more space, a hog or meat chickens can be raised cost-effectively. I have a dozen ducks that need about one more month to be ready for the kitchen. If you are squeamish about butchering (like me) you can often trade part of the meat with someone who is more adept at processing the animal than you are. (Be sure to adhere to stringent food safety practices when processing your own meat.)

What are your thoughts on the repeal of this law?

Are you bothered by the fact that the country of origin labels are no longer required? Will you take extra steps to ensure that you get products raised and processed in America? Do you have any tips that I left out for those who are concerned? Please share them in the comments below.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

The Benefits Of Organic Dishwashing Liquid

dish soap

When detoxing their home and life, the first thing many people think about adjusting is the food they eat. That’s an excellent start but it’s only part of the equation. It’s also necessary to re-evaluate everyday, household items such as hygiene and personal care products, cookware, and cleaning supplies. Especially the liquid you use to wash dishes.

Why Should You Buy Organic Dishwashing Liquid?

Your skin is semi-permeable and can be an entry point for toxins. If you’re using a toxic dish soap and are immersing your hands in it, sometimes several times a day, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to health problems.

Toxins found in non-organic dishwashing liquid include synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde, silicone, acrylate, preservatives, genetically modified organisms, and even foaming and coloring agents, just to name a few. Such chemicals are not necessary for clean dishes and they’re certainly not good for your health or your skin, as some can cause immediate allergic reactions. [1] Wearing gloves might seem like an easy solution but these chemicals are still toxic to the environment and don’t really “go away” when they go down the drain.

Choosing the Right Organic Dishwashing Liquid

When selecting dishwashing liquid, read the label and make sure you’re getting something that’s organically certified. This lets you know you’re purchasing a truly organic product. Taking the time to look for organic dishwashing liquid is the healthier choice for you, your family, and the environment.

Tips for Buying Organic Dishwashing Liquid

Look for products that contain ingredients that are plant-based, as opposed to petroleum-based. Most organic dishwashing liquid contains ingredients like coconut oil or olive oil. Conversely, toxic dish soap contains synthetic chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate and diethanolamine, which are harmful. [2] Also, look for products that are free of foam builders, fragrances, colorants, stabilizers, and preservatives. Check the label for verbiage such as “warning”, “caution”, or “danger” — a clear indication it’s not completely safe.

There are a number of organic dishwashing liquids available; one I’ve personally been very pleased with is from Branch Basics. Their formula truly epitomizes what it means to be “non-toxic.” Do you have another suggestion? Leave a comment below and let us know what you’re using.

References:

  1. Medline Plus. Contact dermatitis.
  2. Organic Consumers Association. How toxic are your household cleaning supplies?

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

10 Reasons To Choose Grass Fed Dairy Cheese

benefits_of_grass_fed_cows

Cheese is the ultimate snack for your family. Full of calcium and healthy fats, it’s convenient to pack in a lunch box or top a sandwich. But when you’re shopping for cheese for your family, there are a lot of choices: grass fed, organic and conventional. We tend to think that an organic product is better than conventional cheese, but is grass fed dairy cheese worth the additional cost? We think so. Here are the the top 10 reasons that organic cheese mad with grass fed dairy is a better choice for your family

1. No GMOs or Synthetic Pesticides and Herbicides Used in Organic Cow Feed or Pastures.

We’ve written before about the dangers of the glyphosate found in these products, as well as the potential dangers of GMOs. Grass fed and USDA Organic cows are not exposed to these toxins, so you can feel safer feeding organic cheese to your family.

2. No Growth Hormones (rBGH) Used on Organic Cows.

Those conventional dairy cows are usually given rBGH, a growth hormone that increases milk production. However, it also causes problems in the cows, including mastitis. According to Robyn O’Brien writing at BreastCancer.org, this condition is a painful infection that “causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus, along with milk.” Not only that, but rBGH produces a chemical that has been linked to breast cancer. Several states have passed bills preventing conventional milk farms that do not use rBGH from putting that on the label – meaning you have no way to know if it’s in your milk unless you buy organic. And how is mastitis treated? With antibiotics, of course.

Read more about what ‘grass fed’ actually means

3. No Antibiotics Used on Organic Cows.

Conventional dairy cows raised in large-scale farming operations are treated with antibiotics for both disease prevention and for promoting growth, rather than just for treating illness. A study published by the Stanford University School of Medicine in October, 2014 shows that this increased antibiotic usage may actually be spreading Salmonella bacteria among cows and livestock. The USDA Organic label guarantees that antibiotics cannot be used on an animal. If a cow does get sick, they can be treated with antibiotics but then must be removed from organic production.

4. Grain Fed Cows are More Susceptible to E. coli Outbreaks.

A cow’s system was not developed to digest grains, but grasses. Organic Consumers Association writer Jo Robinson explains that when cows eat grains instead of grass, their stomachs become more acidic and acid resistant bacteria begin to grow. In other words, it throws their gut out of balance making them vulnerable to E. coli food poisoning, which can get passed to human milk drinkers.

5. Less Frequency of Contagious Illnesses Among Grass Fed Dairy Cows.

When free-range dairy cows are farmed without antibiotics and rBGH and provided a high standard of animal welfare, that your milk is much safer from the dangers of Salmonella and other contaminants with risk factors for cancer and other illnesses.

6. Higher Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Benefits from Grass Fed Dairy Cows.

CLA is a beneficial fatty acid that has been linked to loss of body fat, as well as possibly preventing cancer. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health also shows that people with high concentrations of CLA had a lower risk of heart attack. While CLA is available in supplement form and in conventional milk, grass fed dairy cheese benefits from a naturally higher level of CLA, giving you a more potent bang for your caloric intake.

7. Increased Omega-3 Benefits from Grass Fed Dairy.

Studies show that grass fed dairy has higher concentrations of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and brain. In fact, grass fed dairy may even boast a better Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio (4:1 or less, compared to 7:1 or more), according to this article at The World’s Healthiest Foods. These fatty acids are essential to the body and are healthy when properly balanced, but most Americans have too much Omega-6 in their bodies, putting their health in jeopardy.

8. More Nutrients in Grass Fed Dairy.

According to Prevention Magazine, another benefit of grass fed dairy is that it contains a bigger diversity of nutrients including vitamins A, D, and B-12. It also contains other vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants in addition to calcium and protein.

9. Grass Fed, Organic Farms Tend to Raise Cows Humanely.

Cows that are raised according to USDA organic standards and are grass fed are more likely to be treated humanely than cows from conventional dairy farms.

10. Grass Fed, Organic Cheese Tastes Better.

I know this is a matter of personal opinion, but as a long time cheese aficionado, I had all but given up on eating it. My kids are dairy free, and dairy free cheese is just unpalatable to me. I recently tried some organic grass fed cheese – and now I am hooked! Without all the processed nonsense that you can find in a conventional bar of cheese, organic grass fed cheese is hearty, delicious and smooth – a snack I no longer feel any guilt about.

Read more about cheese and how you might be addicted to it

The Verdict? Grass Fed Dairy is Better!

While most organic farmers in the U.S. struggle to maintain organic standards for their cows, that is not true in Europe. If you want to choose a cheese that you are sure is 100% GMO free and humanely raised, we recommend Kingdom Cheese. Grass fed as well as certified organic by both the USDA and the British Soil Association, Kingdom Cheese dairy cows are farmed the U.K., where GMO crops are prohibited. Kingdom’s farmers are also part of the largest organic cooperative in the U.K., which has strict standards of humane treatment for all farmed animals.

If you’ve forgone cheese for a long time, this may be your chance to welcome a healthier, safer option and experience the benefits of cheese made with organic, grass fed dairy. It never tasted so good!

Written by Gina Badalaty for Mamavation.

 

15 Winter Veggies You Should Be Eating Right Now

Winter-Vegetables-1

Ask anyone who’s not a gardener what’s in season right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait here, because it won’t take long.

Did you get met with a blank stare and perhaps some mention of potatoes and onions? We’ve become so far removed from the land that most folks don’t even know what vegetables are in season this time of year. Because of our “food on demand” system, with food coming in from all corners of the globe, many people who don’t grow food have absolutely no idea what is growing on local farms right now.  We live in a country where it doesn’t seem outrageous to serve asparagus and pumpkin in the same meal, followed up with blueberries for dessert. The people who are slaves to the grocery store can’t even fathom what people eat when they enjoy a local, seasonal diet.

But…what would our ancestors think of that combination? It’s not even close to being realistic since asparagus hits its peak in the early spring, blueberries come along midsummer, and pumpkin pulls up the rear, stubbornly waiting to ripen until fall.

It’s far healthier to eat food that is actually in season.

When you demand produce that is out of season, it’s coming from across the globe.  This means that the items were picked before they were actually ripe, which means that the nutrients had not fully developed.  The vitamins and minerals contained in produce begin to decrease the minute the food is picked.  The harvested item immediately begins to die and decompose.  By the time the food arrives at your local grocery store, it might already be 3 weeks old – and sometimes it’s even older than that.

What’s more, the packing plants take great pains to be sure that the fresh fruits that grace your table mid-winter look pretty. Many packagers add a waxy, glossy coating to the produce before shipping. The coating not only looks shiny and inviting, it slows down the decomposition of the fruit or vegetable.  Some foods are sprayed with preservative chemicals, as well, to help them survive the arduous journey to your supermarket.

Reducing the distance your food travels isn’t the only health reason to eat seasonally.  Nature provides certain foods at certain times because that is when your body needs them the most.  They are also less likely to be drenched in pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides if the plants are growing as nature intended them too.

Right now, in the cold days of winter, you should consider eating more carbohydrates like those from root vegetables – they help the body to sustain a little more weight, which is needed to insulate against the cold weather.  Warming vegetables like potatoes, cabbages, carrots, onions, rutabagas, and winter squash all store well in cool, dark places, providing energy and comfort throughout the winter season.  Adding more fish to your diet during this time of year is also beneficial for the warming effect, the higher calories, and the high levels of vitamin D (the vitamin you get directly from the sun during the warmer months).  Vitamin D is important for good mental health and a strong immune system.  Nuts, which store well for the winter, are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which help moisturize your body from the inside out – this helps to fight that dry winter skin so many of us suffer from.

How do you prepare winter vegetables?

Hand some people a rutabaga and they’ll have no idea what to do with it. Probably one of the most common reasons that people pass on the winter vegetables is because they don’t know how to prepare them.  Invest in some great cookbooks for inspiration. I like Depression-era cookbooks for simple instructions on preparation, and there are some wonderful locavore cookbooks on the market that will teach you to turn these humble looking veggies into mouth-watering treats. These are 3 of my favorites.

What’s in season right now?

The wide variety of climates means that there’s no one “in-season menu” that will be applicable to everyone. I live in a very moderate climate, so I’ve still got some veggies growing, ever so slowly, in my garden. With a cold frame or greenhouse, you can extend your growing ability even more. As well, certain foods harvested in the late fall will store beautifully in the right conditions, keeping you nourished until spring goodies like asparagus and snow peas begin peeking out to tantalize you. If you don’t have the space or inclination to grow stuff yourself, you can visit your local farmer’s market for some in-season bounty.

Eating locally in the winter is easier than you might think.  You don’t have to go without fresh vegetables just because the snow is flying! Check out this infographic to learn what vegetables you should focus on right now.  Please share it with your friends, too!

(click infographic to enlarge)


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

 

Ethical Eggs?

Ethical-Eggs

U.S. consumers are increasingly uneasy about the living conditions of the chickens supplying eggs for our meals. In the last few years, a plethora of new labels have shown up in the egg case, several with no government-regulated definition: pastured, free range, cage-free, and others. “Cage-free” doesn’t mean the birds have outdoor access, and “free range” may only refer to access to screened-in porches. Cornucopia offers an egg scorecard to help determine which organic producers sell eggs with integrity. A new egg report and scorecard with improved scoring criteria will be released this month. Stay tuned!

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Health Benefits Of Raw Honey

Raw-organic-honey

Honey is one of nature’s premier superfoods. Not only does honey taste good in tea, yogurt, baked goods etc. but it has been a staple anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory since ancient times. Even modern practitioners swear by its miraculous healing properties.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Raw Organic Honey

1. Honey Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

In the world of medicine, few things can be scarier than bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, but that’s exactly the problem that modern medicine faces. Over the past fifty years, over-use of anti-bacterial drugs, like Azithromycin, have encouraged harmful bacteria to evolve and become stronger. But there’s no bacterium anywhere that’s resistant to honey! That’s right, honey can kill even antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Ancient people applied it to wounds, infections, and abscesses to great effect. Just make sure you use raw organic honey, which doesn’t include high-fructose corn syrup or white sugar that lower its quality and beneficial effects.

2. Soothes Coughs

In addition to killing bacteria, honey can reduce the severity of coughs and sore throats more safely than over-the-counter medications. This is another example of a traditional remedy that turns out to be more effective than mass-produced drugs by pharmaceutical companies. While adult cough medicines might be dangerous for children to take, raw honey helps lessen the frequency and intensity of a child’s cough, letting parents and kids alike get more sleep during cold season.

3. Boosts Wound and Burn Healing

Believe it or not, honey sterilizes and heals burns in half the time than its over-the-counter antibiotic competitor silver sulfadiazine. It can disinfect wounds the same way, allowing your body to regenerate faster and with less risk of infection or scarring. If you receive an injury, smear honey on the affected area immediately. Don’t worry about using too much, because with honey, there’s no such thing. When you’re done, apply a bandage over your wound. Repeat this procedure at least once every 48 hours to make sure that you’re not getting an infection (though odds are good that you won’t.)

4. Provides Many Nutrients

Unsurprisingly, honey offers a staggering amount of nutritional value. (Remember, this is the stuff that bees build their entire colonies upon!) Aside from various nutrients, like riboflavin, folate, betaine, manganese, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, fluoride and phosphorus, honey is loaded with antioxidants, which can lessen the risk of cancer. It also lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and generally reduces inflammation. Of course, if you have a sweet tooth, one benefit trumps all the others on this list…

5. Raw Organic Honey is the Perfect Sugar Substitute

As if the health benefits of honey weren’t enough on their own. Honey can play another important part in your well-being by sweetening your tea, cookies, pancakes and other baked goods you prepare. Though honey itself is made of fructose, it raises blood sugar far lesser than similar-tasting substances, like sucrose and dextrose. Honey has a healthy Glycemic Index, which means its sugars can be gradually absorbed into the blood stream to result in better digestion. Best of all, you can keep honey on the shelf forever, because it never spoils. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s pretty sweet.

Raw Honey Has Many Health Benefits

There’s a lot that honey can do to improve your active life and diet. It’s a great pre-exercise food, for example, because it’ll give you the power you need and you won’t crash in the middle of your training session. The healing powers of honey don’t just apply to skin wounds – they can help heal painful stomach ulcers, too! Fans of probiotics love honey because it hosts good bacteria, including lactobacilli, which help us digest food. There’s even evidence that honey consumption boosts memory in menopausal women and increase the body’s ability to recover from drunkenness. Old time medical practitioners knew the secrets of honey before science discovered them. Today, there are many good reasons to add this incredible food to your diet!

[via Organic Power Foods]
 

 

Don’t Be Fooled By Big Ag: Organic Is Productive

We have all heard the propaganda about how organics cannot feed the world, and that companies like Monsanto are providing food security. In truth, peer-reviewed scientific studies show that organic farming produces higher quantities of more nutritious and far less toxic food than chemical agriculture. As industrialized agriculture has spread, hunger and poverty continue to rise. Mono-cropping in industrial agriculture lessens biodiversity, resulting in the narrowing of nutrients in our food. Support the health of your family and the earth by purchasing organic products. To help you choose authentically organic brands, Cornucopia offers scorecards for dairy, eggs, soy, yogurt and more under the Scorecards tab on our website.

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Best Anti-Aging Foods: Health Benefits Of Pecans

health benefits of pecans

Your health can only be as good as the food you eat and following a regular diet based firmly on nutrient rich, organic food is one of the best things you can do to age gracefully. Supplying your body with vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy fatty acids like Omega-3s, and antioxidants is critical to a healthy life. You might not guess it, but pecans are actually one of the best foods for accomplishing that goal.

The Key For Anti-Aging: Antioxidants

As you age, industrial and natural environmental toxins like radon, lead, and arsenic attack your body and make it harder for it to repair itself and protect against ailments. When you combine this with processed, refined foods loaded with sugar, unnatural chemicals like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), aspartame, soy lecithin, and hormone disruptors, the assault on the cells in your body becomes crystal clear.

To counter and reverse this damage, you need antioxidants. These neutralize the free radicals that harm your cells and organs and help soothe the inflammation that leads to chronic diseases. A French study run from 2007-2009 found those whose diets had the most antioxidants aged more slowly, lived longer, and had fewer health problems. [1]

A study from Brigham Young University found that antioxidants protected the eyes and reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration. One of the researchers commented, “The implication is that people at risk of macular degeneration could help prevent the disease by consuming antioxidants.” [2] Simply put, consuming foods rich in antioxidants may help you be protected against degenerative conditions.

Pecans are an incredible source of antioxidants. One of the highest, in fact, according to the USDA. Ninety percent of a pecan’s antioxidants come in the form of beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical with powerful antioxidant properties that protects low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging the arteries. Pecans are also a rich source of vitamin E, which compounds the antioxidant benefits.

Pecans for a Healthy Heart

Years ago, it was believed that nuts were bad for your heart, but this was untrue. It was even reported in the British Journal of Nutrition that the more nuts you eat, the less you are at risk of cardiovascular or coronary heart disease. [3]

Consuming pecans encourages normal cholesterol levels. This is due to the high content of vitamin E. There are two types of vitamin E, and pecans provide two of them – alpha- and gamma-tocopherols. When you eat pecans, the gamma-tocopherols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 33%. [4]

Pecans support the heart in other ways too. They promote normal blood pressure, help with weight loss, and help keep blood sugar under control.

The Best Anti-Aging Diet

These foods are a great source of nutrients that promote graceful aging.

Unsaturated Fats

Omega-3 fats fit into the this category of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The densest sources of these healthy fats are fish like salmon, avocados, and flax seeds.

Vitamins and Minerals

You know you need vitamins like A, the B-complex, C, D, E and K. To get these you need to eat natural, organic foods. These contain forms of vitamins your body can readily use, unlike processed foods that contain artificial vitamins. The same goes for minerals like magnesium and calcium. In fact, magnesium is responsible for more than 300 processes throughout your body. Great sources for combined vitamins and minerals include dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, cheese, whole grains and dark chocolate.

Probiotics

Foods like yogurt and kefir provide you with ‘friendly’ gut bacteria that support immune function, toxin removal, and supply important vitamins like B12. When you buy probiotics, make sure they contain live, active cultures. If they don’t, you’ll be missing some of the key health benefits that such foods boast.

Prebiotics

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber–or prebiotics–and types of sugars that feed your friendly probiotic bacteria, keep them healthy.

Antioxidants

Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and green tea are known for their antioxidants.

Raw, Organic Pecans

Rich in antioxidants, raw, organic pecans are also a complete source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, and fiber. And they’re easy to eat! Grab a handful as a snack or add them to your favorite dish to add texture and enhance the meal with a rich nutty flavor. Just remember to buy raw and organic. The fats in nuts like pecans soak up pesticides and herbicides more than other fruits and vegetables.

Besides munching on healthy foods like pecans, what do you do to maintain a healthy body and mind? Tell us in the comments below. We always enjoy hearing from you!

References:

  1. Assmann KE, Andreeva VA, Jeandel C, Hercberg S, Galan P, Kesse-Guyot E. Healthy Aging 5 Years After a Period of Daily Supplementation With Antioxidant Nutrients: A Post Hoc Analysis of the French Randomized Trial SU.VI.MAX. Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Oct 15;182(8):694-704. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv105.
  2. Brigham Young University. How Diet, Antioxidants Prevent Blindness In Aging Population. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2008.
  3. Blomhoff R1, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60.
  4. C. Hudthagosol, E. H. Haddad, K. McCarthy, P. Wang, K. Oda, J. Sabate. Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity and Catechins and Decrease LDL Oxidation in Humans. Journal of Nutrition, 2010; 141 (1): 56 DOI: 10.3945/jn.110.121269.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Preserving Apples: 3 Simple Ways To Enjoy Local Fruit This Winter

Preserving-apples

Harvest season is winding down, and we’re busy this week, preserving apples. Today we’re putting up 2 more bushels for the winter. I pulled out my canning book, and now my house smells like apple cinnamon potpourri and I couldn’t be happier about it!

A visit to a you-pick orchard or farm stand is a great way to spend a fall afternoon if you don’t happen to have an apple tree in your backyard.  (You can find a local orchard or market HERE.) You can often get the best deals at the end of the season.

The nutritional benefits of apples

The old adage goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  Here are a few reasons why this is true!

  • One medium apple (about 3″ in diameter) contains about 95 calories, no fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and more than 4 grams of fiber.
  • The phytonutrients in apples can positively affect insulin production to help regulate blood sugar.
  • The consumption of apples can have a positive influence on the bacterial balance of the digestive tract.
  • Much of the apple’s nutrients can be found in the skin, particularly beneficial polyphenols such as quercetin.
  • Apples contain substantial amounts of Vitamin C, the B vitamins, and potassium.
  • Regular consumption of apples has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Method #1: Storing apples in a cold room

If you have the right location, you can store apples for several months.  Here are some tips on keeping fresh apples over the winter:

  • Choose the very best apples from your bushels. Opt for firm apples with unblemished, unbruised skin.
  • The thicker skinned, more tart varieties will stay good for the longest time.
  • Wrap them individually in newspaper to keep them from being in direct contact with one another.
  • Place them loosely packed in a cardboard box.
  • Don’t store them near potatoes. Potatoes release a gas that causes apples to spoil more quickly.
  • Store them at 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit for the longest shelf life. Good locations are basements, root cellars, or unheated pantries.

Method #2: Making apple chips

In theory, apple chips are a great way to preserve apples without the need for a cold cellar. In reality, they are a delightful snack that will be gone within a week, no matter how many you make.

You can make these with no added sugar and cinnamon, but we truly love this as a sweet treat. If it helps your conscience, it contains far less than any commercial fruit treat you could buy.

Ingredients:

  • Apples (duh)
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Organic sugar
  • Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Cut the apples into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  2. If you are concerned about discoloration, you can toss the slices in lemon juice. I don’t worry about the discoloration because the cinnamon makes them look brownish anyway. I don’t normally use lemon juice, but you can if you want to.
  3. In a bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon in the ratio that pleases you. I use about a 1/4 cup of sugar to a teaspoon of cinnamon, and replenish it when necessary.
  4. Toss the slices in your sugar and cinnamon mixture.

There are two ways you can dry them from here on out. You can use a dehydrator or your oven. I use a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator because I do a lot of dehydrating.

Dehydrator instructions:

  1. Place the slices in a single layer on your dehydrator tray. I use these inexpensive dehydrator sheets to line my trays for easy clean-up.
  2. If your dehdrator doesn’t have temperature settings, dry the slices on low for about 20 hours.
  3. If you do have temperature settings, dry the slices at 135 degrees for about 10 hours.
  4. When you take them out, they won’t seem crispy, but if you let them sit before putting them in a jar, they’ll crisp right up in a couple of hours.

Oven instructions:

  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Set your oven for 200 degrees.
  3. Place apples on the parchment paper in a single layer.
  4. Dry the apple slices for 4-6 hours, or until almost crisp.
  5. When you take them out, they won’t seem crispy, but if you let them sit before putting them in a jar, they’ll crisp right up in a couple of hours.

In theory, these would be great lunch box treats, but unless you hide them, they won’t last that long! After they’ve cooled completely, put them in a Mason jar or gallon Ziplock bag.

Method #3: Canning to preserve apples

Canning is my favorite way to preserve anything, and apples are no exception. Below, find the links to thorough instructions for canning apples. Because fruit is naturally high in acid, these can all be preserved using a water bath canner.

Basic apple sauce

This apple sauce is pure enough to use for baby food, because it contains only two ingredients: apples and water. With it, you will get the flavor of fresh, delicious apples all winter long. I incorporate the peels into my apple sauce because it’s where the fiber and vitamins lie. This apple sauce can also be used as an ingredient in baking or cooking because it’s completely neutral.

Spiced apple sauce

Here’s a twist on ordinary apple sauce. There’s still no sugar, but it’s jazzed up with cinnamon, ging.er, allspice, and cloves. Your house will smell a-flippin-mazing while this is on the stove.  Save the cooking liquid for the next recipe!

Spiced apple toddy

You will definitely thank me for this one! After making spiced apple sauce, the reserved liquid is the perfect basis for a hot winter beverage. All of the warming spices that were added will making you feel toasty from the inside out. This is also a nice treat for someone suffering from a cold or flu.

Apple filling

This apple filling is basically an instant dessert. You can warm it and serve it over ice cream, stir some into vanilla yogurt, or use it as a filling for a pie or a crisp. You are only limited by your imagination! This recipe DOES NOT contain any type of thickener. If you’re baking with it, you may want to add a teaspoon of flour or starch when you open the jars. I don’t like using the weird commercial thickeners like Clearjel.

How do you preserve apples?

What is your favorite method for preserving apples for the winter? Please share in the comments below!

References

The canning recipes are from my book, The Organic Canner.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

5 Effective And Natural Face Moisturizers

moisturizing-face-mask

Are you looking for a truly hydrating and rejuvenating face cream that will unlock the beauty of your skin? Who isn’t, right? I think we’d all agree there’s nothing better than finding a natural skin care plan that works. For many, that can sometimes seem like trial-and-error, but it doesn’t have to be a mystery. When it comes to faces, we all have different skin types, so let’s talk a little bit about how to find a safe and effective natural moisturizer.

What’s Your Skin Type?

There are three basic skin types you’ve likely heard about: normal, oily, and combination; however, you could have dry or sensitive skin instead. Keep in mind, though, any skin type is going to benefit from a natural skin care product. But let’s move onto those three main types.

“Normal” Skin

If you have normal skin, you probably don’t worry too much about your face. Your pores are small, and your skin tone even. And while a normal skin type can look great, you still need to care for it. Natural or vegan moisturizers could be just the ticket here, as recent studies suggest many use natural ingredients because of their antioxidant properties that may provide anti-aging benefits. [1]

Oily Skin

Now, if you have oily skin, don’t despair, this skin type requires finding the right regimen. Sometimes your skin might look and feel greasy and with medium to large pores – you might be additionally prone to breakouts. With the right natural skin care products and a little dedication to routine, you face can look and feel just right.

Oily and Dry Skin

Finally, those with combination skin normally have oily and dry patches on their faces. If you have an oily “T-Zone” (your forehead, nose, and chin) and dry skin around the cheeks and eyes, you likely have this skin type. Conversely, you might have a dry T-Zone with oily skin in those other areas. For combination skin, an organic moisturizing lotion or cream could work wonders for dry skin issues like hyperpigmentation and inflammation. [2]

5 Natural Moisturizers You Can Find at Home

Organic ingredients can work wonders for skin, and it’s likely you already have a few things around the house that you can try right now.

1. Olive Oil

Those of you with oily or combination skin might want to note that olive oil is an excellent natural face moisturizer that won’t clog pores. And if you’re looking to exfoliate as well, try mixing 1 tablespoon of oil with natural sea salt. As you rub this mixture over your skin, the slight abrasiveness of the salt acts with the deep, penetrating action of the oil to remove dead skin cells, leaving your skin looking rejuvenated.

2. Organic Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil can be used as a lotion to moisturize your face, and could prove especially useful for those with dry skin. Recent studies have suggested that coconut oil significantly improves skin hydration and even has antiseptic properties. [3]

3. Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is touted as an effective face moisturizer because it helps decrease skin dryness and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against aging. [4]

4. Cucumber

Cucumber has moisturizing properties. The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue and is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and folic acid. [5] Blend yogurt and cucumber and gently apply it as a mask. After 15 minutes, remove the mask with lukewarm water. Your will be pleased with the refreshing effects.

5. Beeswax

An intricate but highly effective moisturizing recipe is one with beeswax. Melt 4 ounces of organic almond oil and 1 ounce of beeswax in a stewpot, then remove from the heat. Add 2 ounces of distilled water, 10 drops of vitamin E oil, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and stir until the mixture has cooled. Apply evenly to face daily or use as a spot treatment for dry patches. After that, you will have an all natural moisturizer for days.

What’s the Best Natural and Organic Moisturizer on the Market?

While you can use natural moisturizers like coconut or olive oils at home, a face cream like Parfait Visage® offers all those benefits in one and works for a combination of skin types by restoring natural fluid and lipid balance.

  • Penetrates and moisturizes 7 layers deep in the skin.
  • Enhances new cell growth at 6-8 times the normal rate.

Not only that, but it is made fresh every month with natural state, cold-pressed oils, and contains no refined, hydrogenated, or bleached oils. So, when will you try an organic skin care product? Tell us in the comments below.

References:

  1. Bowe, W. P. & Pugliese, S. Cosmetic benefits of natural ingredients. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 13 (9).
  2. Fowler, J.F. et al. Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 9 (6 Suppl.).
  3. Agero, A. L. & Verallo-Rowell, V. M. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatology. 15 (3).
  4. Sapino S, Carlotti Me, Peira E, Gallarate M. Hemp-seed and olive oils: their stability against oxidation and use in O/W emulsions. Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2005 July-August;56(4):227-51.
  5. Shweta Kapoor, Swarnlata Saraf. Assessment of viscoelasticity and hydration effect of herbal moisturizers using bioengineering techniques. Institute of Pharmacy, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur 492010 India.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.