Monday, November 29, 2010

December Sustainable Local Seafood

Around the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Coast, December is a prime time for local oyster harvesting. In nearby communities, this is a traditional time in serving oysters. When shopping for fresh local seafood, these shellfish are a good buy.

Oysters are a traditional cold season seafood in the Atlantic region. In addition to fresh wild caught oysters, farmed oysters in the shell are also available during the cool months. Locally, oysters in the shell are sold by the bushel, peck, dozen or piece. When buying oysters, one can expect to need 40-60 standard oysters to obtain a pint of raw shucked oysters and liquor.

Oysters are also available pre-shucked, in their own liquor (juice). The number of oysters per pint varies. The following estimates apply to market sizes for shucked oysters.

Extra Large or Counts - less than 20
Large or Extra Select - 20–26
Medium or Select - 26–38
Small or Standard - 38–63
Very Small - more than 63

When buying oysters for the table, quantities required will depend on the serving method. For raw oysters on the half shell, 6-12 oysters per person is a good rule of thumb.

When serving oysters in the shell, most diners will consume 12-18 oysters each. Steamed Chesapeake Bay or Virginia seaside oysters are served with melted butter, vinegar or other condiments. Sources of oysters in the shell can be found by visiting this seafood directory.

More Information

How to Shuck Oysters

How to Steam Oysters

Karo Offers Free Recipe Booklet

In some cases, manufacturers are offering free samples without surveys. Currently, the Karo® Syrup website is offering consumers a free Karo® Recipe Booklet. The collection is said to include 26 delicious recipes for cookies and bars. For more information, see

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harvesting Wild Foods in Autumn

Fall is one of the best times to harvest wild foods. Biting insects and other woodland pests are less of a problem and in many areas dense undergrowth is reduced after a frost.

 Some of the most popular wild foods of the Eastern U.S. include several kinds of greens, tea berries, sassafras roots, ginseng, persimmons, walnuts, pecans, chestnuts and other delicacies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Cook Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are leafy green vegetables that are often served during traditional holiday meals in North America. These healthy greens are harvested from turnip plants. Not only are the leaves edible, but so are the roots.

In most areas, turnip green leaves are only harvested during the late Fall, Winter and in Spring when their flavor is not too strong.

Turnip green recipe ingredients may include salt pork, bacon, pepper, herbs, cooking oils, wines, baking powder, or other foods.

Cooking methods generally include boiling the leaves for long periods. Turnip greens can also be simmered with a small amount of liquid, steamed or added to soups.

Pangasius War Continues

Struan Stevenson, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland has publicly criticized imported pangasius from Asia, calling Vietnam’s Mekong River where the fish is raised "filthy" and accusing the country’s pangasius industry of "ruthlessly" exploiting workers.

In a recent address to an aquaculture conference in the European Parliament, Stevenson urged members to persuade European consumers to support the continent’s fish farmers and fishermen and buy local.

The harsh comments followed similar sentiment in the USA. In October, the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) began airing TV ads urging the Obama administration to implement a measure that would transfer the responsibility of inspecting catfish and pangasius imports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tv ads describe the Mekong River as "full of contaminants".

The controversial fish remains popular among seafood lovers around the world. In 2009, pangasius was included on the National Fisheries Institute's "Top Ten" list of the most consumed seafood in America.

The Quest for Healthy Foods

This blog seeks to spotlight issues that involve food, cooking and health. Future posts will provide information as well as the author's views about natural, healthy and organic foods. Also included will be information to help identify and promote sources of foods that nourish the body and soul.