It’s time! This is the week I answer your food and cooking questions, and share your favorite recipes.
Is corn genetically altered? I’ve heard lots of different things, and I’m confused. - Danny in Mohnton
Yes, more than 90 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to be disease and pest resistant. It also underwent a little genetic sweetening. Twenty years ago, sweet corn was 8 percent sugar. Today, thanks to genetic “enhancements,” it is 30 percent sugar.
To find sweet corn that is not genetically modified, look for varieties labeled as heirloom.
I always hear about needing to wash fresh vegetables. How necessary is that? - Joella in Lancaster
According to the FDA, it is absolutely necessary to wash ALL produce (from the grocery store or garden) thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. This includes everything from watermelon to corn on the cob. They don’t recommend using soaps or commercial produce washes. After washing, the FDA recommends you dry the produce with a paper or cloth towel.
They recommend this thorough scrubbing to remove pesticides, wax and bacteria from the produce.
My two cents? If it’s from a supermarket, wash it! Who knows how many people touched it or where it’s been from the time it was picked till it reached your kitchen. If it’s from a local farmer, find out if pesticides were used on or near it. If so, wash thoroughly! If it’s from your own garden and you don’t use pesticides on or near it, then no washing needed!
I was taught growing up that margarine and vegetable oil are better than other fats and oils. Now, they’re considered bad. All the talk about trans fats and polyunsaturated somethings drives me nuts! Please tell me what oils are best to use without all the medical talk. - Irene in New Holland
I understand your frustration! I’ve spent the past year looking cross-eyed at lists of “good” and “bad” oils. It’s hard to get past the latest food fads, and figure out who is teaching the truth.
Here is a list of cooking oils that I trust, and their uses. My info comes from Dr. William Davis’ book, the “Wheat Belly Cookbook.”
Avocado oil: Strong taste, best paired with veggies, extra-extra healthy, cool green color
Coconut oil: Versatile, heat-tolerant and healthy, clear color
Extra-Virgin Olive oil: Good for low heat cooking and salad dressings, aromatic, extra healthy, golden color
Extra-Light Olive oil: Not as healthy as EVOO, but good for baking and higher-temp cooking, clear color
Flaxseed oil: Good with veggies, super healthy, strong nutty taste, golden color
Walnut oil: Great for baking, super healthy, golden color
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
From Michael in Honey Brook
My neighbor shared this recipe with me. With the mornings getting chilly, I thought it was a good time to share it with others.
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey Cocoa
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
Dash of salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend well. Store in tightly covered container.
Single serving: Combine l/4 cup of mix and 3/4 cup of boiling water in cup or mug. Stir to blend. Add marshmallows, if desired.
The last Tuesday of the month I endeavor to answer your questions and share your favorite recipes. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.