UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County
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UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County

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A Summit to Save the Butterflies

Tora Rocha (left), founder of the Pollinator Posse of Oakland (soon to be statewide), and Mia Monroe, coordinator of the Xerces Society's Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, address the crowd. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Let's wing it, they said. And they did. But this event wasn't "winged"; it was well planned and rooted in educational information. Wings? A reference to the flutter of the ever decreasing butterfly wings. The occasion? The inaugural "Wing It"...

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Tree and Vine Herbicide Registration chart update

2017 T&V registrations 032317

A quick note to share a link to our (semi) regularly updated "Herbicide Registration on California Tree and Vine Crops". Click here for a link to the PDF version on the Weed Research and Information Center page (this is probably your best bet...

Tree and Vine crop herbicide registration 032317
Tree and Vine crop herbicide registration 032317

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 9:34 AM

Position re-advertised: IR-4 Regional Associate Director/Field Research Coordinator

A position announcement I shared in October (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=22336) was re-released last week.  The new search ends on April 18, 2017. Job announcement for the Associate Director / Field Research Coordinator...

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 9:25 AM

Building blocks of health

The scenario: Tomorrow is farmers market day, but not just any market on any day. This market happens once a month as part of a collaboration between the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County and Lopez High School. The high school, a continuation school in the south part of San Luis Obispo County, has a program called Hands-On Parenting Education, or HOPE, which helps expecting and parenting teenagers to graduate.

It's the day prior to market day and HOPE students have a guest lecturer today: Dayna Ravalin, UCCE Master Food Preserver coordinator of San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara counties. She's demonstrating how to make and store baby food safely. The timing is impeccable as students can (and do, as a result of the lesson) load up on fresh ingredients the very next day.

Dayna takes the students through the Core Four food safety tips while demonstrating how to convert fresh market produce into baby food blocks.

Image: Fightbac.org
  1. Clean - Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
  2. Separate - Don't cross contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won't be cooked.
  3. Cook - Cook to safe temperature.
  4. Chill - Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours. Keep fridge at 40°F or below.

Lastly, students are shown how to easily preserve that baby food to last through the month or longer, until the next Lopez High School/Food Bank Coalition market day. Ravalin demonstrates the use of an ice-cube tray to aide in freezing baby-sized portions before providing each student with their own tray to take home, empowering them with building blocks for healthy eating.

The students leave, eager to take advantage of their resources the next day, and with two basic recipes using seasonal produce to get them started.

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

Carrots/potatoes

-      1 pound of carrots
-      1 cup water

Trim and peel carrots, cut into 1-inch segments. Put in a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes (this will take longer if your carrots are thicker). Let cool in cooking liquid. Purée in a food processor, blender or food mill, cover and freeze in small portions.
Add in ideas: pinch of cumin, coriander, cinnamon or mashed potatoes.

Apples/pears

-      2 sweet eating apples or pears
-      4 to 5 tbsp. water or pure apple juice

Peel, halve, core and chop the apples. Put into a medium saucepan with the water or apple juice. Cover and cook over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes until really tender. Let cool in cooking liquid. Puree in a food processor, blender or food mill, cover and freeze in small portions.
Add in ideas: pinch of cinnamon, pureed carrots, ginger

Cubes of baby food made from applesauce, potato puree, spinach puree, carrot puree, and pear puree. (Photo: Dayna Ravalin)

“You can even freeze the different purees in layers so it is triple colored when you empty the trays,” Ravalin said.

Through this 1.5 hour lesson, the expecting and new parents learned how easy it can be to extend the life of food, taking advantage of the school's monthly market to provide for their families. This partnership is one example of how UC Master Food Preserver Program volunteers donate more than 20,000 hours of their time annually educating families throughout California on safe food preservation.

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 7:23 AM

Mosquito Eater? What's That Flying Insect?

Adult crane fly. [J.K.Clark]

It's now spring, which means the appearance of all kinds of insects, including those large, leggy insects sometimes called “mosquito eaters” or “mosquito hawks”, which fly awkwardly in or around your house. These insects are...

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 6:17 PM
Tags: crane flies (5), hawk (2), mosquito eater (1), UC IPM (74)

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