You, like most people, are proud of your cooking. Your meals provide your family with nourishment, which is important, but the most important part of meals is the way they taste. The presentation is a close second. Because of this, you should consider farm-fresh foods. These foods are of much higher quality than store-bought foods. Here are eight farm-fresh foods that will elevate the meals you serve at your table.
According to The Mobile Chicken House, mobile-pastured eggs are a healthy, quality-driven, sustainable alternative to standard commercial eggs. These eggs come from hens who have a certain level of freedom on the farm. They are allowed outside for a significant amount of time during the day and they can eat a more "natural" diet instead of just corn and soy. This freedom makes the hens healthier which, in turn, makes the eggs healthier. Mobile-pastured eggs can have up to three times the Omega-3 than standard commercial eggs. You get an added advantage by getting your eggs fresh from the farm. The shells are thicker leading to thicker yolks. They taste better and have great nutritional value.
Milk has a quick expiration date compared to other foods from a farm. It is great to be able to milk a cow and bring it straight to the table (not exactly straight to the table, but you get the picture). If you are not the milking type, your local farmer's market will have fresh milk. Whether you choose raw milk or pasteurized milk, you will still get the best-tasting milk possible by getting it directly from a farmer. Many people prefer raw milk (unpasteurized milk) because it has the full amount of nutrients.
However, there is some controversy surrounding this type of milk. According to Food Safety News, raw milk can have bacteria such as E. Coli or Listeria. The odds are low of contracting these diseases from raw milk, but the risk is still there. Farmers pasteurize milk, so you can still get safe milk fresh from the farm. However, pasteurization removes bacteria, so it is safer than raw milk.
Fresh fruit is always a welcomed food at any table. Imagine picking your fruit each day so it is the ripest, sweetest fruit you can possibly get. There are plenty of farms that will allow you to pick your own fruit. You could also get fruit from the farmer's market. If you happen to live on a farm, that is even better. After the fruit is picked, it rapidly begins to lose nutritional value. Fruit that is to be sold at a local store takes from one to six weeks to make it there. That is why they do not last very long once you take them home. You do not have this problem with fresh fruit straight from the farm.
Vegetables are like fruit in the sense that they begin to lose nutritional value as soon as they are plucked from the vine. Just like fruit, it can take weeks for vegetables to travel from the farm to the store. By the time you buy them, they only have a short amount of time to be eaten before they are no longer any good. Farm fresh vegetables are not only healthier than store-bought vegetables, but they taste better. They are so flavorful that they can easily become the star of your dinner. For the freshest vegetables, you should pick them yourself if you have a local farm that allows it. If not, you will find plenty at your local farmer's market.
Farmer cheese is just what it sounds like - cheese processed by the farmer instead of by some giant processing plant. According to Berkeley Wellness, farmer cheese has less calories and higher nutritional value without all the additives and preservatives. Plus, farmer cheese has a unique taste that you will not find from machine-manufactured cheese. Good cheese seems to make everything taste better. For great dishes such as oven-baked mac n' cheese, cheddar ‘n' chives mashed potatoes, bacon & cheese dip, and so many more, it makes sense to have the freshest cheese you can get. You could even make your own cheese with easy online recipes if you do not live near a farmer's market.
Ham is one of the tastiest meat you can eat. While it is true that most ham tastes good whether you got it from a farmer or a store, it is just so much fresher when you get it from a farmer. One advantage of getting it straight from a farmer is that, since each farmer has their own, unique way to cure ham, you will get a unique flavor than those processed, vacuum-sealed ham packages at the store. They even look healthier as the ham can have a richer color. Plus, you do not have to worry about it being injected full of preservatives.
Most people love a good steak, and you cannot get better steak than those that come directly from a farmer. These steaks are fresher, cooks better, tastes better, and lasts longer if you need them to. According to Grit, you will probably also get more bang for your buck when buying from a farmer which is great for those pricey premium cuts of steak.
Chickens are one of the most popular farm-to-table animals. They are relatively easy to raise, so if you live in a country area, it is not uncommon to find average residents who raise chickens at their house. If you are going to eat farm-fresh eggs, you will probably be interested in farm-fresh chicken also. Just like the other meats, the chicken will be freshers, tastier, and much more nutritious than the chicken you would buy at the store. Plus, there are so many great chicken recipes out there that would be great with farm fresh chicken.
Farm fresh foods are tasty, nutritious, and probably a lot cheaper than buying store-bought foods. The eight foods above are some of the more popular farm-fresh foods, but there are others that can complete your shopping list. This will give you the best ingredients to make the best meals to serve at your table. If you have access to farms or farmers markets, do not be afraid to try out a few of your favorites!
Read this next: Real Milk’s Role in a Sustainable Farm-to-Table Diet
Whether you're hosting a large dinner party or just having a meal at home with a few friends, it's important to follow proper food safety practices. This guide will help you understand some basic cooking tips that will reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Cook Meat Thoroughly
If you're serving meat at your gathering, it's important that you cook it thoroughly. Some people are especially susceptible to foodborne illnesses, so cooking meat completely is especially important. You should confirm the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Raw beef, pork, lamb, or veal should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For ground beef, pork, veal, or lamb, a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is recommended. Poultry requires an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. After the meat is removed from the heat source, it needs to rest for three minutes before serving.
Cross-contamination could increase the risk of food poisoning. To reduce this risk, store raw meat in sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent contact with other food. Always wash cooking utensils, cutting boards, and food preparation materials with warm, soapy water before you start cooking. You should use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat, and it is important to use clean washcloths, dish towels, and sponges. Ensure that you clean any serving platters, and wash your hands before and after handling food. All utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and platters should be placed in the sink or dishwasher immediately once they have been used.
Store Food Safely
If food is expired or stored at the wrong temperature, you and your guests may become ill. Once you have opened a jar or food package, be sure to write the opening date on the container. Always store eggs, meat, cheese, and sliced fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Mayonnaise, ketchup, and opened jars of jelly need to be refrigerated as well. Pies, cakes, and baked goods can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, but they should be placed in the refrigerator after that. Food that has been purchased from the freezer section of the store should be placed in the freezer immediately. If you are serving salads or other foods that contain eggs, ensure that you keep these items chilled in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them. Food that contains eggs should not be left out on a serving platter for more than two hours. In temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food with eggs should only be left at room temperature for one hour.
The tips in this guide are intended as a general overview of safe cooking and food storage. If you are unsure about how to store or prepare a particular food, research food-specific safety tips before making a purchase. Enjoy your meal!
Looking for some quick and healthy meals? Check out these two delicious options!
You know protein is essential to a balanced diet and maintaining energy and many products are now boasting protein content, but do you know what foods are healthful high sources of protein? And do you know how much protein you really need?
(BPT) - You know protein is essential to a balanced diet and maintaining energy and many products are now boasting protein content, but do you know what foods are healthful high sources of protein? And do you know how much protein you really need?
How much protein do you need?
With 18 grams of protein per serving, beef is high in protein, easy to prepare and can support a healthy diet. However, only 62% of American beef consumers consider ground beef to be high in protein and just 70% of them consider beef cuts to be high in protein, according to a recent consumer study conducted by Cargill.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate site outlines the amount of protein in various sources. Common portions of beef, such as a small steak or lean hamburger, have more protein than most other options in the food group, like pork, chicken, nuts, seeds, beans and peas.
According to the USDA Dietary Reference, people should be consuming about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight as part of a balanced diet. So, someone who weighs 150 pounds needs 60 grams of protein each day.
Why is it important to achieve a substantial daily consumption of protein? Protein helps repair cells, boosts energy and keeps us satiated longer. It sustains you through a long work day, boosts your stamina for exercise and ensures you don’t get hungry again soon after eating a meal.
People are also increasingly interested in consuming more healthy fats with their protein. Beef is packed with Omega-3 healthy fats that help prevent the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. In addition to the nutritional value and protein content, this cost-effective option delivers flavor, convenience and cooking versatility.
How to choose the right beef
Even consumers who regularly buy beef struggle with selecting the best cuts for their purpose, and many of them lack an understanding of how to use the USDA grading system as a guide when purchasing beef.
At the grocery store, consumers should look for the USDA grades on packaging. Choosing USDA Select grade beef offers a leaner protein source with slight amounts of fat and marbling. For a high-quality cut of meat for a special occasion, a Prime cut of beef offers abundant marbling and flavor, but it is not considered lean. The Choice grade of beef offers moderate marbling and flavor and is a little less lean than Select cuts.
When choosing ground beef, each cut is an excellent source or protein and is similar in flavor and tenderness, but varies in fat content:
Among the five food groups, protein provides consumers with nutritional benefits and the affordability of beef makes it a clear-cut selection as part of a balanced diet.
While researchers are still unraveling exactly how probiotics accomplish all that they do, it’s understood that probiotics help establish a healthy environment in your digestive tract. Now, you can get your probiotics from many of your favorite foods and drinks without taking pills with some surprising products that include probiotics.
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