Saturday, February 11, 2012

Getting Children to Eat Vegetables

There are several ways of getting our child to eat fruit and vegetables, but you should think carefully about why your child doesn't like them; is it the texture, or the flavour or just the appearance that is unappealing? Think back to when you were young, while your parents might have forced you to eat a particular vegetable, why didn't you like it? You may love things like asparagus and brussel sprouts now and cabbage too, but did you when you were a child? Perhaps not. Our tastes change as we grow older, but there is not much point in trying to get a child to eat a strong-flavoured vegetable when others might be more palatable.

Try taking your child shopping and if he or she shows an interest in an exotic fruit or vegetable, buy it and get the child to taste it, after all the curiosity was there, so it may be to the child's taste. You may have to learn how to cook it if it is a 'new' vegetable. But you can enlist your child's help in the kitchen. Children who cook will take more of an interest in what they have produced than in whatever you have cooked for them. They can cook baby carrots or corn under supervision and can learn how to make a dip for these veggies too. You can try hummus, made from garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and sesame seeds, as this often appeals to children.

Buy fresh peas in their shells and ask your child to help you prepare them. When children are involved vegetables become less alien to them. Do the same with broad beans, and get your child to help prepare French or green beans too.

You can get your child to juice carrots and beets and make their own fresh fruit smoothies. I have never known a child refuse strawberries, or a banana, and if you pretend that you are monkeys, bananas usually go down well. You can nibble on carrots and lettuce like a rabbit with younger children and work your way through things that you can honestly claim that animals can eat. If you can make a game of eating children usually respond positively.

Buy a recipe book for kids and start allowing your child into the kitchen to cook under supervision of course. You can sit with your child and create a menu on the understanding that everyone will eat the food that has been cooked. Encourage your child to make a face with vegetables- red tomato or pepper strips for a mouth, a piece of cucumber for the nose, small radishes for the eyes and grated carrots for hair, with hard boiled eggs for ears for example.

A study undertaken at University College London by Lucy Cooke et al in 2010 found that children who were rewarded for eating fruit and vegetables, either with a lot of praise or a sticker, actually continued to eat the vegetables and like them even when the reward was no longer forthcoming. This may not be the ideal way of getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables but it seems to work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Home Ice Makers

Ever since the first mechanical ice making concept was conceptualized way back in the 1840's by John Gorrie, man has utilized this mechanical form of making things frozen for many, many uses. Back then, Gorrie envisaged using such a device to cheaply make ice which he could use to cool his patients down who were suffering from Malaria and Yellow Fever.

Over a hundred and fifty years later man is still using mechanical devices based on the same principals Gorrie set out all those years ago. Although there have been many improvements, the concept is still pretty much the same.

Ice makers are used all over the world these days to create ice quickly and cheaply. Whether it be for domestic use in drinks for example, or whether in the hospitality industry to cool drinks and food. They are even used widely in other sectors such as manufacturing and such. You've seen those large Ice Sculptures that are carved out of huge blocks by men with chainsaws right? Sure thing. Those blocks of ice came out of very large ice makers.

What I want to concentrate on today though are those for domestic use - for the home, the car, your boat.

After more than a century and a half of innovation and improvements, small domestic ice cube makers are cheaper than ever to buy and are very, very popular - especially throughout the Summer months. Electricity is cheap, water is cheap, and once you've invested in a small ice machine, ice also becomes cheap. A lot cheaper than buying it by the kilo from supermarkets.

Nearly all small domestic ice makers plug into an electrical outlet.120 volts if you're in the United States, or 240 volts if you're in the United Kingdom. These appliances generally don't use that much electricity and therefore are cheap to run.

On top of this there are two types of ice maker - one that you have to plumb in to a mains water source, and the other where you have to manually fill the ice maker with water. The ones you have to plumb in are more heavy duty, larger versions of their smaller counterparts and can pump out much more ice. The downside to these larger appliances though is they are not so portable. You can't just unplug it and move it to another position or to another house altogether. The other type is the very compact, very efficient, very portable domestic ice makers. These ones are literally 'plug and play'. You plug it in, fill it up with water, and within a short amount of time you've got yourself some ice, freshly made, and ready to use.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Reasons You Should Learn to Can Food

5 reasons you should learn to can your own food are:

1.) Save money 
2.) Ensure the quality of your food 
3.) Preserve family recipes 
4.) Become independent of grocery stores 
5.) Utilize excess produce from your garden

The first reason you should learn to can is to save money. It's true that canning requires a modest investment to begin, but the equipment quickly pays for itself. The jars and rings are reusable, and replacement lids are very affordable. There are even reusable jar lids (made of glass) available on the internet. Once you have the tools you need to can your own food, your only cost will be the seeds to plant your garden and a box or two of lids.

Another reason canning is making a come back is because of the worry of the food supply becoming tainted. Every time you turn on the TV you hear a story about an E. Coli outbreak or tainted food. If you can your own food, you know exactly what goes into the jar and you can rest assured that the person who prepared the food practiced good hygiene and that the food is safe.

Learning to can is a great way to pass on family recipes. Canning used to be common and many families have special recipes for canned goods. By learning to can you can preserve these recipes and pass them on to the next generation. Grandma's famous jam that won the blue ribbon at the state fair could be lost forever if nobody takes the time to learn and replicate the recipe. Why let a wonderful recipe be lost forever? Keep the tradition going, and spend time with the ones you love.

On a more practical note, learning to can your own food will give you independence from the grocery store. We are very reliant on the food supply system these days, but just a few generations ago you couldn't always run down to the market for some tomatoes. You had to grow what you ate and can what you could for the winter. Learning to can your own food will give you back your independence from the grocery stores because you will be able to eat what you grew in the summer all winter long. When you are in hurry on a weeknight, you won't have to stop at the grocery store if you have a few jars with the ingredients for a nice stew or some spaghetti at home.