What is the scientific reason tomatoes should not be refrigerated?

Q. Can you explain the scientific reason that I should not store my fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator?

 



A. Tomatoes begin to lose their flavor after they’ve in the refrigerator for a few days – or even a few hours, so say some true aficionados. Their texture also gets grainy.

The culprit is an acid in tomatoes (lineolic acid) that turns to a compound (Z-3 hexenel) which gives tomatoes their taste. Cold hinders the process that the acid uses to turn into the compound. More cold = less transformation of lineolic acid to Z-3 = less tomatoey taste and smell.

One way to manage this is to remove tomatoes from the refrigerator about an hour or two before you plan to eat them. By setting them at room temperature you give any remaining lineolic acid the chance to turn into the compound, giving the tomato a final boost of flavor.




Try this experiment to test flavor for yourself:

  1. Pick 4 tomatoes – same variety, same ripeness.
  2. Taste one right away.
  3. Set one on the counter. Place two in the fridge.
  4. An hour later, remove one from the fridge.
    Taste the room-temperature, counter top tomato, the short-term fridge tomato, and the long-term fridge tomato against each other (remembering the flavor of the vine-eaten tomato).
  5. Decide for yourself!

Perfect Plant? 7 Great Uses For Industrial Hemp

Not to overly play into the stereotype of the TreeHugger moniker, but today is 4/20 so a quick review of all the great uses for industrial hemp–you know, that non-psychoactive relative of marijuana that for myriad moronic reasons is more or less illegal* to cultivate in the United States but not work with and sell–seemed apropos. From clothing, to food, to fuel, to a whole host of consumer and building products, not to mention helping in cleaning up soil pollution, it’s only slightly hyperbole to call hemp a wonder crop:hemp knitting photo
photo: Janet via flickr.

1. Clothing

Hemp’s been used for textiles since time immemorial–samples of hemp fabric in China date back to 8,000 BC–though it has certainly had a renaissance of late. Shedding the slightly rough and tough image it once had hemp has broken into the realms of high fashion, has been mixed with silk for lingerie, as well as being applied to more obvious applications where it’s durability is used to best advantage: Providing material for shoes, jeans, and other tough sport clothing.

2. Food & Beverages

About one third of hemp seed’s weight comes from hemp oil, which is both edible but highly nutritious, containing essential fatty acids. The whole seed is about 25% protein, and is a a good source of calcium and iron, as well as having more omega-3 than walnuts–all of which point to hemp’s potential for food and as a dietary supplement. But hemp also can be put to good use in iced tea and brewed into beer, fermented into wine, and distilled into other alcoholic beverages. Oh, and there’s hemp milk too.

3. Paper

Hemp has been used for paper for at least 2,000 years, even though today hemp paper accounts for about only 0.05% of world paper production. Even though hemp is a far more quickly renewable and sustainable source of pulp for paper, because of the small number and relatively old age of processing equipment for hemp paper, help pulp ends up being several times more expensive than wood pulp.

4. Building Supplies

Of all the uses for hemp, even if you only have a cursory knowledge of the subject you’re probably away of hemp fabric, clothing and paper, but here’s one that’s an eye-opener: Hemp provides all sorts of good building materials. You can make it into insulation as companies in the Netherlands and Ireland are doing. It can be used to make engineered building products like fiberboard and pressboard, and even be used to make ‘hempcrete’, a stronger, lighter, and more environmentally friendly version of concrete.

5. Plastics

Hemp is also a viable feedstock for plastics production. Indeed Ford famously produced a prototype car made out of hemp & soy plastic in the early 1940s. Though it never went into production, with undue influence from chemical giant DuPont playing at least a part, as the photo above, of Henry Ford taking an axe to the car to prove its durability, shows hemp plastic can be strong stuff. More recently hemp has been made into shower curtain liners, CD & DVD cases, and all sorts of other products.

6. Fuel

Yes, you can make biofuel from hemp! Like pretty much any vegetable oil you can take hemp oil and process it into biodiesel. You still have all the concerns about conversion of land that could be used for food production into land used to fuel vehicles, but the biodiesel process is certainly solid. As cellulosic ethanol technology becomes more commercial viable–something seemingly just over the horizon for a couple of years now–there’s no reason why you couldn’t utilize hemp stalks or other leftovers as a feedstock. Considering all that, it stands to reason that hemp could also be utilized to make liquid fuels that are chemically identical to petroleum-based gasoline or diesel as well. But since the US doesn’t want anyone cultivating hemp, the potential of hemp for fuel remains untapped.

7. Chemical Cleanup

One of the most intriguing uses for hemp is in cleaning up soil contamination. In the late 1990s industrial hemp was tested at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine to help heal the soil. Because of its fast rate of growing each season, up to 250-400 plants per square meter each up to 15 feet tall, hemp shows goof potential in cleaning up land contaminated with fly ash, sewage sludge, or other heavy metals–though hemp’s use in phytoremediation on any scale is in its infancy.

It Is confirmed that neonicotinoid insecticides impair bee’s brains

Research at the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee has confirmed that levels of neonicotinoid insecticides accepted to exist in agriculture cause both impairment of bumblebees’ brain cells and subsequent poor performance by bee colonies.

The contribution of the neonicotinoids to the global decline of insect pollinators is controversial and contested by many in the agriculture industry. However, the new research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, demonstrates for the first time that the low levels found in the nectar and pollen of plants is sufficient to deliver neuroactive levels to their site of action, the bee brain.

Dr Chris Connolly, a Reader in the Division of Neuroscience at Dundee’s School of Medicine, has spent several years examining the risk from neonicotinoids and other commonly used classes of pesticides on both honeybees and bumblebees.

He and his colleagues at Dundee carried out combined laboratory and field studies and the data was analysed by Professor Steve Buckland at St Andrews. The results showed very low levels of neonicotinoids caused bumblebee colonies to have an estimated 55 per cent reduction in live bee numbers, a 71 per cent reduction in healthy brood cells, and a 57 per cent reduction in the total bee mass of a nest.

Dr Connolly says the paper represents the best scientific evidence to date connecting neonicotinoid consumption to poor performance of bees and that the effects of the pesticide must be considered by policy makers seeking to protect the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators.

“Our research demonstrates beyond doubt that the level of neonicotinoids generally accepted as the average level present in the wild causes brain dysfunction and colonies to perform poorly when consumed by bumblebees,” he said. “In fact, our research showed that the ability to perturb brain cells can be found at 1/5 to 1/10 of the levels that people think are present in the wild.

“This is not surprising as pesticides are designed to affect brains of insects so it is doing what it is supposed to do but on a bumblebee as well as the pest species. The bumblebees don’t die due to exposure to neonicotinoids but their brains cells don’t perform well as a result and this causes adverse outcomes for individual bees and colonies.

“This is not proof that neonicotinoids are solely responsible for the decline in insect pollinators, but a clear linear relationship is now established. We can now be confident that at these levels, neonicotinoids disrupt brain function, bee learning and the ability to forage for food and so limit colony growth.

“It may be possible to help bees if more food (bee-friendly plants) were available to bees in the countryside and in our gardens. We suggest that the neonicotinoids are no longer used on any bee-friendly garden plants, or on land that is, or will be, used by crops visited by bees or other insect pollinators.”

Insect pollinators provide essential ecosystem services and make an estimated contribution of $215 billion to worldwide economies every year while supporting much of the world’s food production. Recent years have seen up to 30 per cent annual honeybee colony losses, while the population of butterflies and other insects is also down and similar declines in insect-pollinated wild plants.

Neonicotinoid contamination of the nectar and pollen consumed by bees is around 2.5 parts per billion (around 1 teaspoon in an Olympic swimming pool). There has been wide debate over whether this level is enough to affect the bees. To answer this question, the Dundee-St Andrews team fed bumblebees this low level of neonicotinoid and measured its accumulation at its target site, the bee brain.

At this level, some neonicotinoids were fast acting, shutting down the major site of energy production, the mitochondria, in brain cells. At even lower levels, brain cells become vulnerable to stimulation by the normal neurotransmitter used to transmit information. Under these conditions, brain cells cannot function and bees struggle to learn important life skills, such as recognising that the scent of a flower predicts a food reward, or remembering their way home.

To test if these conditions affected whole colonies, the researchers provided nests with 2.5 ppb neonicotinoid in sugar water, while they were free flying in a wilderness environment in the Scottish Highlands, searching for nectar and pollen to raise their brood. They found that bumblebee colonies exposed to the neonicotinoid performed poorly in terms of nest size, number of bees and condition of the nest.

The findings link environmental exposure levels of neonicotinoids to poor bumblebee performance and indicate that decreased brain function is responsible.

Previous field studies conducted by industry had generated inconclusive results, largely because of the small sample size used. This drew criticism from statisticians at St Andrews who maintained that it is possible to produce robust findings from small field studies and performed with Dr Connolly’s data.

Steve Buckland, Professor of Statistics at the University of St Andrews, said, “Field studies of the effects of neonicotinoids on bees are plagued by small sample sizes and ‘pseudo-replication’, in which data are analysed assuming that each colony is independent, even though multiple colonies are housed within a single box, and so experience a common environment.

“Small sample size in field trials has been used as an excuse to not carry out formal analysis, and to draw a conclusion that there is no observable effect of neonicotinoids from visual inspection of the data.

“When analyses have been conducted, the problem of pseudo-replication has been ignored. In our field study, we used so-called ‘random effects’ to allow for pseudo-replication, and hence provide valid tests of the null hypothesis of no effect.

“Despite the limited true replication, we found very strong evidence that low levels of neonicotinoids have adverse effects on bumblebee colonies, with an estimated 55 per cent reduction in live bee numbers, 71 per cent reduction in healthy brood cells, and 57 per cent reduction in the total bee mass of a nest.”

Chicken factory farmer speaks out




Slightly tangential, but there are substantiated rumors of multi-year pricing fixing between the biggest chicken processors. The most questionable thing to me is the Georgia Dock price index. There have been a handful of articles in WSJ, etc., noting the oddity that this index is today 50% more expensive than the other 2 indexes (until ~4 years ago these indexes have trended in-line with each other).

Three weeks ago, the Georgia Dept of Agriculture starting requiring Georgia Dock price submitters to formally acknowledge that they would only submit prices that were based on real, actual transactions (and to also agree to present evidence of these transactions if GA Dept of Ag asks for it). Since that rule was put in place, the Georgia Dock price has not been able to be published due to lack of participation from submitters. This index has been published every single week over a span of several decades, until 3 weeks ago.

The FDA has actually implemented some rules where farmers have to have a veterinarian on call or on staff and consult with them before antibiotics are administered. They realized that the improper use of antibiotics overuse has become a very serious concern. The FDA has been cracking down of food and supplement companies in general so we will probably see some changes in advertising in the next few years.

Legalizing backyard chickens has also become somewhat of a grass roots movement. I hope to see more people raising their own chickens in the future. The smell is really not that bad. My Mom raises chickens and it is very manageable.




I’ve been working on the family farm for the past 8 years. We currently opperate 3 poultry houses raising broilers 17,500 chicks placed in each 42×400′ house. Some flocks are different than others but our mortality averages somewhere around 12 birds a day with a 58 to 62 day grow out.

As of Jan. 2017 animals are no longer alowed to have antobotics added to their feed source. Harmones and steroids have never been widly used in the poultry industry due to costs and inifectiveness. Cattle on the other hand are almost always implanted with growth harmone such as Ralgrow. We now have to wait for signs of sickness and inject antibotics into the water source.

Removing antibotics from feed by law is one tiny step in the right direction in making poultry safer to the public. This will more than likely get rolled back under the incoming presidential cabinet due to the affects on the companies bottom line.

There are companies who do raise what I would consider a more humane product. I do not work for one of these companies.

Regulating stocking density would be another way to make a more humane product along with requiring some amount of natural sunlight and ventalation. Joyce farms based out of NC has a very good model and having visited a number of their farms I belive this is the way confined poultry should be raised.

But based on the cost of their chicken most people wouldnt be able to afford to eat it regulary. Which is a good thing imo.

In America we have grown a culture of I want it, I want it now and I dont want to have to pay much for it. This is what has led the USDA to define its role to the American people to produce as much food as cheaply as possible. All the while ignoring the health of our nation as a whole and making a few select people extremly, extremly wealthy.

In other words our food system is insanely screwed up.

Sorry for the extremly long post and any gramitical errors in advance. I’m posting from the app on phone while taking a break from picking up dead chickens.

Any questions fell free to ask I will try and respond from the computer later tonight.




Nestle Pays Only $524 to Extract 27,000,000 Gallons of California Drinking Water




Have we reported ANYTHING good about Nestle? Ever? Well, we aren’t starting now.

California has been experiencing a drought and even with all their rain this year they are still in a drought. In fact, even if it rained for a month straight, they would still be in a drought. Given that truth, you would think that Nestle would know better than to be bottling water from natural springs in the San Bernardino National Forest (oh, and they also collected 51 million gallons of groundwater from the same area). But, I suppose the higher ups would have to have a conscience.

The best part of this is that they are doing it all with an expired permit.

Nestle is a thief.



From the article:

“Nestle has somehow managed the most sweetheart of deals for its Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water, which is ostensibly sourced from Arrowhead Springs — and which also happens to be located on public land in a national forest.

In 2013, the company drew 27 million gallons of water from 12 springs in Strawberry Canyon for the brand — apparently by employing rather impressive legerdemain — considering the permit to do so expired in 1988.”

As you can imagine, Nestle wants everyone to know they are taking good care of the land AND that they have paid the expired permit’s annual fee- IN FULL- every cent of the $524 dollars.

Jon Stewart Gears Up For Greener Pastures of The Farm Variety




Jon Stewart recently purchased a farm in New Jersey with the intention of providing a sanctuary for farm animals rescued from cruelty.

The news comes just as the talk show host prepares for the end of his 16-year run on “The Daily Show.”

Stewart has never shied from controversy, especially when it comes to animal rights and environmental issues. He’s ripped apart climate change deniers and factory farms.

Stewart’s commitment to animal advocacy, particular relating to farm animals, comes as no surprise. Earlier this month, Stewart interviewed Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, in which Baur discussed his latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.

Then, of course, Stewart’s wife, Tracey, is also an avid supporter of farm animals’ rights. She discovered Farm Sanctuary after reading Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, Baur’s 2008 account of the conception and evolution of the organization. The book inspired Tracey to reach out. Initially, it was to find stories for her own upcoming book Do Unto Animals, and her magazine, Moomah, but she soon found herself becoming more involved with supporting farm animals. She Farm Sanctuary’s annual Farm Animal Care Conference at their New York Shelter, and brought her children to meet the animals at their Southern California Shelter.




Prior to the Stewart’s new farm purchase, Tracey, a vegan, had gifted Adopt a Farm Animal sponsorships for all of their Thanksgiving guests. Regular visits to the farms are normal for the Stewart children “after homework,” notes Tracey.

“The joy of interacting with animals as friends instead of using them for human consumption is life-changing,” says Tracey in a press release. “A trip to Farm Sanctuary should be on everyone’s to-do list, but you can also bring a little bit of sanctuary home when you sponsor an animal through the Adopt a Farm Animal Program.”

Because of these reasons, the organization has named two rescued sheep Jon and Tracey in their honor. The Stewarts will be further recognized at a Gala on October 24 2015 in New York City.

Looks like Jon will have lots to do on the farm during his “retirement.”

Congrats, Jon and Tracey!

Ben & Jerry Say Yes to Weed-Infused Ice Cream





Famed ice cream impresarios Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield declared on HuffPo Live that they’d support making a cannabis-infused version of their sweet treats available where marijuana is legal. “Makes sense to me,” Cohen said, while savoring a bite of ice cream. “Combine your pleasures.” Greenfield stopped short of fully endorsing a Ben & Jerry’s weed-filled flavor; he told HuffPo’s Alyona Minkovski that he and Cohen have had “previous experiences with substances,” and said, “I think legalizing marijuana is a wonderful thing, rather than putting people in jail.”

 




We all know Ben & Jerry love the herb. Satisfy My Bowl, Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, and, wait for it—the Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Encore Edition—have all made their appearance on the company’s famed flavor roster. Clearly, the brand caters to cannabis enthusiasts. A weed-infused ice cream from the masters themselves would certainly be met with approval from ganja gourmands. Perhaps Ben and Jerry could even enter a Cannabis Cup!

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized




Is water a free and basic human right, or should all the water on the planet belong to major corporations and be treated as a product? Should the poor who cannot afford to pay these said corporations suffer from starvation due to their lack of financial wealth? According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, corporations should own every drop of water on the planet — and you’re not getting any unless you pay up.

The company notorious for sending out hordes of ‘internet warriors’ to defend the company and its actions online in comments and message boards (perhaps we’ll find some below) even takes a firm stance behind Monsanto’s GMOs and their ‘proven safety’. In fact, the former Nestle CEO actually says that his idea of water privatization is very similar to Monsanto’s GMOs. In a video interview, Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe states that there has never been ‘one illness’ ever caused from the consumption of GMOs.




The way in which this sociopath clearly has zero regard for the human race outside of his own wealth and the development of Nestle, who has been caught funding attacks against GMO labeling, can be witnessed when watching and listening to his talk on the issue. This is a company that actually goes into struggling rural areas and extracts the groundwater for their bottled water products, completely destroying the water supply of the area without any compensation. In fact, they actually make rural areas in the United States foot the bill.

As reported on by Corporate Watch, Nestle and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe have a long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment to take part in the profit of an astounding $35 billion in annual profit from water bottle sales alone. The report states:

So is water a human right, or should it be owned by big corporations? Well, if water is not here for all of us, then perhaps air should be owned by major corporations as well. And as for crops, Monsanto is already working hard to make sure their monopoly on our staple crops and beyond is well situated. It should really come as no surprise that this Nestle Chairman fights to keep Monsanto’s GMOs alive and well in the food supply, as his ideology lines right up with that of Monsanto.

 

Recipe Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

I didn’t think chicken tikka masala could really get much better, but then I remembered my fall-time best friend: the slow cooker. This is a curry dish that benefits from a nice, long simmer anyway, so why not let that happen while I’m off doing other things? That’s what I call smart cooking.

Spooned over some steamed rice, this easy slow-cooker tikka masala is about to make your busy fall days very happy indeed.

This slow-cooker meal is a near replica of the stovetop chicken tikka masala that I shared a while back. To make it better for the slow cooker — and easier for those of you who need to get this going before heading to work — I streamlined all the steps and made this a simple “dump-and-go” recipe.

 

If you have some extra time, I heartily recommend marinating the chicken in some yogurt and sautéing the onions and garlic with the spices before putting everything in the slow cooker. I tried it both ways and, while the extra steps give the dish a bit more depth and nuance, I promise you’ll still be happy having this for dinner if you skip them.

Serve this with a simple pot of basmati rice — if you start cooking the rice at the same time you add the cream at the end of cooking, the whole meal is ready at the same time.

Recipe

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked rice, to serve

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and kosher salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.

→ If you have the time: Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt for up to 6 hours. Shake to remove excess yogurt before transferring to the slow cooker.

→ If you have the time: Sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until softened, then stir in the ginger, tomato paste, and spices until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the chicken and diced tomatoes. This will give your tikka masala more depth of flavor.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.

Serve over rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.

Recipe Notes

  1.  Chicken breasts can be substituted for the thighs, although I find thighs hold up better over the long cooking and breasts tend to fall into shreds. Still delicious, though!
  2. For a little of that smoky tandoori flavor, try using smoked paprika and roasted tomatoes.
  3. Here’s my favorite method for cooking basmati rice in about 20 minutes: How To Cook Perfect Basmati Rice.