Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

get kids to eat veggies

Getting Children to Eat Their Veggies

Do you hear “I don’t like vegetables!” during family dinner? According to research from the American Academy for Science and the Centers for Disease Control, children turn up their noses at vegetables because parents have not made them readily available. Let’s face it, few children will take the time to wash a head of broccoli or cauliflower, break the pieces apart, serve them up on a plate, and then eat them.

Parents can increase the chances that their children will eat a particular vegetable if it is in a small container or individual plastic bag in the refrigerator. This makes vegetables an easy snack option for children to choose themselves.

get kids eating veggies

Children form food habits at an early age. Research shows a correlation between picky children and picky adults. It is important for parents to introduce good eating habits in children when they are young. It is, however, never too late to start.

Tips to Get Children to Eat Vegetables

Be a role model. Offer vegetables to children by eating them yourself. Let children approach them on their own.

Set some rules. Children usually will accept vegetables in an environment where parents set appropriate rules. For example, it is okay to tell your child they need to taste a vegetable before they decide they do not like it.

Stay positive. Using strategies such as punishment, threats, force, or even offering the child a reward have been shown to be unsuccessful ways of teaching children to eat vegetables. Vegetables should be offered in a relaxed environment.

Don’t give up. Keep offering the vegetables. It might be helpful to offer the vegetable to the child in different ways or mixing the vegetable with other foods. Many parents throw in the towel after the child refuses a vegetable the first time, but understand that children generally have a fear of new foods. It may take about eight to ten tries with a vegetable before your child is ready to taste it. In addition, it may take a lot more tasting before your child gets to the point where he or she likes the vegetable. Be patient as your child experiences new foods.

Be creative. Offer children vegetables in different forms (cooked, raw, and mixed with other foods) before you decide they do not like them.

Be flexible. Children vary in how much they eat and what they like. Each child is an individual. Do not have predetermined ways in which your child should eat or accept vegetables.

Be reasonable. Keep in mind that vegetable servings for children are smaller than vegetable servings for adults. A general guideline is one tablespoon of vegetable for each year of life. Do not have unrealistic expectations for your child.

Give options. Offer a variety of vegetables at a particular meal. This allows children to be able to choose a vegetable they like.

get your children to get their vegetables

Take Action: Make it Happen

Vegetables offers protection from many diseases, and thanks to the vitamins and minerals they provide, improves your child’s health. It is important for children to eat the recommended amount of vegetables daily.

Parents, try these tricks to make vegetables more enticing to your children:

  • Offer vegetables daily. Children will not eat vegetables if parents do not cook and serve them.
  • Let children pick out a vegetable of the week at the grocery store.
  • Make vegetables easy for children to grab and eat. Have ready to eat vegetable snacks in small bags in the refrigerator.
  • Set out a plate of vegetables with dip before dinner or when children get home from school.
  • Prepare vegetables in a way in which they are tender but crisp. Children tend to dislike mushy vegetables and many prefer raw vegetables for this reason.
  • Include two vegetables at dinner; try offering both cooked and raw vegetables. This allows children to have a choice of vegetable they want to eat.
  • Add lettuce leaves to sandwiches.
  • Add blended vegetables such as spinach to spaghetti sauce, soups, and casserole. It is a good idea to blend or cut up the vegetable finely before adding it to spaghetti sauce. Children may not even notice the vegetable is there.
  • Make food fun. Let children create funny faces or animals with cut up vegetables.
  • Let children help prepare vegetable recipes; they generally enjoy what they have made.
  • Allow kids to make their own salad. Put out small bowls of baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, shredded leaf lettuce, raisins, fruit, and crunch noodles. They love the feeling of control that comes from doing it themselves.
  • Try heirloom vegetables. Kids get excited about interesting vegetables. Take your children to a farmer’s market and have them pick out the heirlooms they would like to try.

getting kids to eat veggies

Written by Ingrid Adams, Nutrition and Food Science Extension Specialist; Mallory Foster, Family and Consumer Sciences graduate student; and Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

Recall Alert: EpiPens, Aldi’s Peas, Hunt’s Chili Kits

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

EpiPens Recalled

Mylan is recalling EpiPens (epinephrine injections) and EpiPen Jrs due to potential defects. A defective EpiPen may require unnecessary force in order to deploy medicine, or in some cases, the device may altogether fail. Epinephrine, the drug injected by an EpiPen, is first aid treatment for an individual undergoing anaphylactic shock, or life-threatening allergic reaction.

The recall was originally limited to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan but has since expanded to include the United States. Outside of the United Stated, there have been two cases reported of individuals whose EpiPens failed during emergency situations. Both patients, fortunately, were able to use alternate EpiPens in order to obtain treatment.

Both faulty EpiPens came from the same lot, but additional lots are now being recalled out of precaution. The potentially defective EpiPens were distributed between December 2015 and July 2016. Recalled lots in the United States are listed below.

faulty epipens recalled

The image below indicated where to find the lot number on an EpiPen package.

recalling epipens

Patients carrying recalled EpiPens are encouraged to return them for replacements, free of charge. The manufacturing company can also be contacted via 800-796-9526 or customer.service@mylan.com.

Aldi’s Peas Recalled

Just under two thousand packages of Season’s Choice Frozen Peas are being voluntarily recalled due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Listeria infections can be serious or even fatal in young children, the elderly, or other persons with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include high fever, nausea, stiffness, severe headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Pregnant women who are infected with Listeria may suffer miscarriages or stillbirths.

The recalled frozen peas were distributed to Aldi Stores in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia. Identify the recalled product by its label code:

Season’s Choice Sweet Peas, Net Weight 16 oz (1 LB) 454 g UPC code 041498164294

Code: DC17038 PLAB6176 BEST BY 08 2018

DC27038 PLAB6176 BEST BY 08 2018

DC27038 BNAF7286 BEST BY 08 2018

DC37038 BNAF7286 BEST BY 08 2018

DC47038 PLAC6216 BEST BY 08 2018

DC57038 PLAC6216 BEST BY 08 2018

Consumers may returned recalled products to place of purchase for full refunds.

Hunt’s Chili Kit Recalled

On April 2, Conagra initiated a voluntary recall of its Hunt’s Chili Kits due to potential Salmonella contamination of the chili seasoning packets. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. An otherwise healthy individual may recover without treatment, although some cases of severe diarrhea lead to hospitalization. Salmonella infections pose the greatest risk to infants, the elderly, and others with weakened immune systems.

The recalled chili kits were distributed in retail stores and online, as well as through military commissaries, across the United States. Identify a recalled product via UPC and Manufacturing Lot Codes.

Item Description UPC MFG/Lot Code Best By Date
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534619500 Apr 04, 2018
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534622200 May 01, 2018
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534619600 April 5, 2018

The below picture demonstrates where to find the information that can be used to identify a recalled chili product.

hunts recall

March Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

Edamame (Soybean) Recall

On March 16, Advanced Fresh Concepts (AFC) issued a recall for packaged Edamame (soybeans) due to the potential of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Listeria infections can be serious, even fatal, in young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and other persons with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. A Listeria infection can also cause a pregnant woman to suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal infection.

The recalled products were sold in eight ounce (227 gram) packages, labeled “Edamame – Soybeans in Pods” with UPC 0-23012-00261-9. Packaging also bears a date between January 1 and March 17 of this year. The recalled soybeans were distributed through sushi counters in grocery stores, cafeterias, and corporate dining centers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washing, and Wyoming.

Recalled soybean packages are white with black and blue text:

soybean recall

Consumers who have purchased the recalled soybeans are encouraged to return packages to place of purchase for full refunds.

Wellness Dog Food Recalled

WellPet is voluntarily recalling a specific recipe of canned dog food topper due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. Although beef thyroid hormone is naturally occurring, elevated levels may adversely affect your dog’s metabolism. Initial symptoms include anxiousness, increased heart rate, increased thirst, increased urination, and weight loss. Prolonged effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid/difficulty breathing. If your dog has experienced any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

Wellness 95% Beef Topper For Dogs is the only recipe affected by this dog food recall. The product is sold in 13.2 ounce cans bearing Best By Dates of February 2, August 29, and August 30 of 2019. Recalled dog food cans were distributed online and at pet retailers throughout North America.

dog food recall

As of March 17, the FDA had received reports that three dogs were affected by the increased levels of beef thyroid hormone in Wellness 95% Beef Topper For Dogs. WellPet’s investigation led to this voluntary recall. The dogs in question have since full recovered.

“Please know that safeguarding the health and wellbeing of pets is of the utmost importance to us. We fully intend on maintaining the trust you have placed in us to keep your pets healthy and happy, and are removing this product as part of our ongoing commitment to quality and food safety.”

-Camelle Kent, WellPet CEO

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recalled

Blue Buffalo Company has issued a voluntary recall for one production lot of BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dog. The recalled dog food may contain increased levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Prolonged consumption of the affected product may result in serious symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid or difficulty breathing.

BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs is sold in 12.5 ounce cans. The recalled lot can be identified by UPC Code 840243101153 and Best By Date of June 7, 2019.

dog food recalled

Only one dog has been reported ill in connection with the Blue Buffalo canned dog food recall. Blue Buffalo’s investigation led to the voluntary recall. The dog which ate the affected product has made a complete recovery.

The recalled canned dog food was distributed online and at pet retailers across the nation. Consumers should cease feeding the affected Blue Buffalo dog food and return it to place of purchase for full refunds.

Nutiva Shakes Recalled

On March 18, Organic Superfoods company Nutiva issued a voluntary recall for specific vanilla shakes. The Vanilla Flavor Organic Plant Based Protein Superfood 30 Shakes are being recalled due to a potential peanut contamination. People with peanut allergies run the risk of an allergic reaction by consuming the recalled shake products.

The recalled shakes were packaged in ten 1.2 ounce (34 gram) packets or 21.6 ounce jars. The expiration date is September 20, 26, or 27 of 2018. The recalled Nutivaa shakes were distributed online and through retailers in California, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Texas.

For product replacement or refund, contact Nutiva at (800) 993-4367 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., or email help@nutiva.com.

Cook Flavorful Food With Fewer Calories

The following Family & Consumer Science article printed in the March 2, 2017 edition of the Oldham Era.

healthy cooking recipes

More Flavor, Fewer Calories

Looking for ways to make fewer calories deliver more nutrition? Search for recipes that help you trim energy intake. Make sure to read all available nutritional information. You can even find phone apps that help you count calories and track other nutritional information such as vitamins, fiber, and sugar.

Sometimes, you may need to use a little of “the real thing” to get the flavor you crave. Start by reducing fats and sugars rather than cutting them out completely. Here are some tips for cooking to add flavor without too much fat or added sugar:

  • For some foods, like cheese or salad dressings, try reduced-fat instead of fat-free products. You may want to try using a ratio of two-thirds reduced-fat product to one-third real thing.
  • Try using one-third less sugar in your recipes or using a sugar substitute like stevia.
  • Make your sweet treats count. Cook with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy ingredients in muffins and in desserts like banana pudding or sweet potato pie.
  • Add whole-wheat, soy, flax, or oatmeal to pancakes for more flavor and fiber.
  • Try roasting or smoking vegetables to give them more flavor without added calories.
  • Herbs and spices give foods distinctive flavors. When food is flavorful we may be satisfied with a smaller amount. Experiment with herbs like marjoram, thyme, or rosemary to see what tastes good to you. Buy herbs and spices on sale to stock your shelf with many possible ways to flavor your foods.
  • Garlic, onions, and celery add a lot of flavor with few calories.
  • When cooking a rice or pasta side dish, add frozen spinach or canned mushrooms to cut calories and add flavor.

healthy low calorie snack

Try new recipes and experiment with flavor profiles! Check out this low calorie, low sodium Apple Coleslaw recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples (1 red, 1 green), cored and chopped
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded (3 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: raisins or grapes

Directions:

  1. Mix yogurt and honey in a large bowl.
  2. Add other ingredients, mix together lightly.

Makes 12 servings.
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Cost per recipe: $3.38
Cost per serving: $0.28
Nutrition facts per serving: 45 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 1 g protein

healthy apple coleslaw recipe

Find more healthy recipes like this on the Oldham County Extension website.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Written by Janet Mullins, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, and Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Recipe from Debra Cotterill, Director of Kentucky Extension Nutrition Education Program.

Vegetable Garden Preparation

The following Horticulture article printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Looking Forward to the Vegetable Garden

Spring is almost here. Take advantage of the last few days of winter to plan your garden. After exploring the seed catalogs and deciding what you want to grow, map out your garden on paper. This is a good way to determine how much seed to order for the vegetables you want to produce. Whether you are growing a new garden or one you have been using for several years, planning will help improve the quality of your harvest this year and future years.

  • Plan your garden on paper before you begin. A map showing where each vegetable is grown allows you to space your plants for good growth. This plan will help determine your crop rotation for following seasons to reduce the carryover of vegetable disease and insect pests in the soil.
  • A good gardening site has full sun for at least eight hours each day and is relatively level, well-drained, and close to a water source. Watch for possible shading as landscape trees mature.
  • Test your soil every two to three years. Prepare the soil properly and add fertilizer and lime or sulfur according to soil test recommendations.

carrot vegetable garden

  • Plan only as large a garden as you can easily maintain. It is easy to overplant and then fail because it is hard to keep up with the tasks required.
  • Grow vegetables that will produce the maximum amount of food in the space available. The bush varieties are best for small spaces and generally yield a lot of vegetables.
  • Plant during the correct season for the crop. Crops are either cool season or warm season types. Choose varieties recommended for your area. Controlling weeds and watering when needed will keep the plants less stressed and improve your production.
  • Harvest vegetables at their proper stage of maturity. Store them promptly and properly if you do not use them immediately.

A well-planned and properly kept garden should produce 600 to 700 pounds of produce per 1,000 square feet and may include many different crops.

ky strawberries

Finally, the closer the vegetable garden is to your back door, the more you will use it. You can see when your crops are at their peaks and can take maximum advantage of their freshness. In addition, keeping up with the planting, weeding, watering, and pest control will be easier.

The 2017 Vegetable Gardening Guides are now available. Contact the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service office or download the publication “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky” online.

vegetable gardening

Based on article by Richard Durham, Extension Horticulture Specialist, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Edited by Oldham County Horticulture Assistant Michael Boice and Oldham County Staff Assistant Lauren State.

Amazing Pancakes Recipe

The following Family & Consumer Science article first printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

amazing pancakes recipe

Amazing Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, mix sweet potatoes, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture; stir until dry ingredients become wet. Be careful not to over stir.
  4. Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Drop heaping tablespoon of batter onto prepared griddle. Cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble. Continue cooking until the other side is golden brown. Repeat process, making 12 pancakes.

About Amazing Pancakes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 2 pancakes
Cost per recipe: $3.45
Cost per serving: $0.58

Nutrition facts (optional nuts not included) per serving: 260 calories, 8 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 9 g protein, 170% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A, 10% DV calcium, 10% DV iron

Source: Brooke Jenkins-Howard, Curriculum Coordinator for Kentucky Nutrition Education Program, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service

Find other healthy recipes on the Oldham County Extension website.

February Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

Private Selection Pies Recalled

On February 8, Lengendary Baking issued a recall for Private Selection Salted Caramel Chocolate Almond Pie packages due to a mistake in labeling. Almonds and eggs were listed under “may contain” instead of “contains.” Consumption of the recalled pie products poses a health risk to people with almond and egg allergies.

The recalled pies come in 34 ounce packages marked with lot number CH17025. They were distributed to Kroger and other retail stores in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Consumers who have egg or almond allergies should not consume the recalled pies. Private Selection Salted Caramel Chocolate Almond Pies can be returned to place of purchase for full refunds.

Pimento Cheese Recalled

A recent recall of Ruth’s Salads Pimento Cheese Spreads has been expanded. Select cheese products are being recalled due to the possibility ofListeria contamination. Listeria can cause serious (or even fatal) infections in children, the elderly, and other people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Listeria infections are also known to cause pregnant women to suffer miscarriages and stillbirths.

The recalled pimento cheese products were distributed to grocery stores in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Affected products can be identified by UPC (see table below).

Product UPC Size
Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-00005 7 oz
Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-12023 12 oz
Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-24023 24 oz
Ruth’s Old Fashion Original Pimento Spread 74952-15005 16 oz
Ruth’s Jalapeno Pimento Spread 74952-12014 12 oz
Ruth’s Lite Pimento Spread 74952-12000 12 oz
Ruth’s Cream Cheese w/Pineapple-Pecans 74952-12008 12 oz

Meijer Recalling Cheese

Meijer Brand Colby Cheese and Colby Jack Cheese is being recalled due to a potential Listeria contamination. The affected products were sold in deli counters from November 10, 2016 to February 9, 2017. The plastic deli packaging is labeled with UPCs 215927xxxxxx or 215938xxxxxx (last six digits vary due to product weight).

Consumers possessing the recalled Meijer Colby Cheese and/or Meijer Colby Jack Cheese should discontinue consumption and are urged to return the recalled products to Meijer for full refunds.

PetSmart Dog Food Recalled

One lot of PetSmart canned dog food has been recalled. The product has potentially been contaminated with scrap metal which could present as a choking hazard to pets. No complaints have been received by PetSmart concerning this recall.

The recalled Grreat Choice Adult Dog Food was sold between October 10, 2016 and February 7, 2017 via PetSmart.com, Pet360.com, PetFoodDirect.com and in PetSmart retail stores across the United States. Only 13.2 ounce cans of Grreat Choice Adult Dog Food with Chicken & Rice Classic Ground were affected by this recall. To identify this product, look for UPC 7-3725726116-7, Best By Date 8/5/19, or Lot 1759338.

Customers who purchased the recalled dog food should feeding it to their pets. PetSmart Grreat Choice canned dog food can be returned or exchanged. Questions concerning this recall should be directed to PetSmart Customer Service: 1-888-839-9638.

Kentucky Native Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees Native to Kentucky

Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, peaches, and grapes ─ we eat these common fruits every day. Local sources for these fruits, however, can be difficult to find due to their preference for a longer, warmer growing season. Kentucky native fruit trees are adapted to grow in our varying soil types and withstand our unpredictable weather.

KY Native Fruit Trees

KY native plum

American Plum (Prunus americana)

The winter-hardy American Plum is a small tree, reaching a mature height of only fifteen feet. It grows wild across the eastern two-thirds of North America, forming thorny thickets that provide habitats for birds and other wildlife. The red to yellow fruit is popular with deer as well as humans. Kentucky plums can be eaten fresh or using in baking and canning. Due to unreliability of fruit production in Kentucky, plums are usually only commercially grown as a secondary crop.

Other names for the American Plum include American wild plum, Osage plum, river plum, thorn plum, wild yellow plum, red plum, August plum, and goose plum.

KY black cherry tree

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

The Black Cherry Tree produces Kentucky’s largest cherries which ripen in August and September. The bitter-sweet fruit is popular for jelly and wine making. Birds help spread Black Cherry seeds, but it also readily self-seeds. It can tolerant a wide variety of soils and conditions, the exception being full shade. Mature trees often reach a height of fifty to sixty feet. Black Cherry wood is hard, close-grained, and strong, making it popular in woodworking.

Farmers should note that this tree’s bark, leaves, and twigs are poisonous to livestock. Deer, however, can eat the leaves without problem.

KY native pawpaw fruit

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Found in wooded areas, the Kentucky native Pawpaw is the largest native fruit in North America. Pawpaws are commonly described as tasting like a mix of banana and mango or pineapple. The fruit has high nutritional value, being an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein. Pawpaw fruit surpass apples, grapes, and peaches in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Wildlife such as birds, raccoons, and opossums enjoy the fruit, and zebra swallowtail butterfly larva feed on young pawpaw foliage. With some effort, you can grow pawpaws from seed.

Most pawpaw trees grow fifteen to twenty feet in height but can reach up to forty feet if conditions are optimal. The champion Kentucky pawpaw is in Letcher County.

Kentucky State University, one of Kentucky’s land-grant universities, is home to the world’s only full-time pawpaw research program. In 2009, the horticulture program released ‘KSU-Atwood,’ a new pawpaw variety named after Rufus B. Atwood who served as college presdent from 1929 to 1962. This variety is a heavy producer ─ more than 150 fruits from a single tree!

KY native persimmon

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Native Persimmon trees grow in Kentucky’s woodlands. Tolerating a range of pH levels, persimmons prefer moist, well-drained soil but can flourish in dry areas as well. Its interesting bark is thick, grey to black in color, and broken up in scaly, square blocks. The wood is very hard and has found use as golf clubs and flooring. When the berry ripens in the fall, the skin turns wrinkly, and persimmons become edible to humans. Persimmons taste similar to dates and can be used in breads, cakes, puddings, and beverages. You can also eat persimmons fresh or dried.

Cooking oil can be extracted from persimmon seeds. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers boiled the seeds in substitution for coffee.

Winter-hardy and adaptable, Kentucky persimmon trees suffer few pests and diseases. Some trees further south may be susceptible to vascular wilt. It can develop black leaf spot, and tent caterpillars can be problematic.

KY native sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Common across Kentucky, Native Sassafras is readily seeded by birds which love its fruit. The dark blue berries contrast beautifully to the bright red stems on which they grow. Sassafras trees thrive in moist, well-drained, acidic soil with full sun to partial shade but can also tolerate drier, rockier soil. Filé, a Creole spice used in gumbo, is made by grinding dried sassafras leaves. The fragrant bark and roots have been used to make tea and root beer but contain an oil called safrole, a proven carcinogen in mice and rats. In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration banned direct use of safrole in food although spices are still permissible.

Most sassafras trees mature to a height of thirty to sixty feet with a spread of twenty-five to forty feet. The national champion sassafras ─ located in Owensboro, Kentucky ─ is seventy-eight feet tall with a sixty-nine-foot spread.

KY Native Berry Fruits

KY native elderberry

American Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Only four to twelve feet in height, the American Black Elderberry forms thickets that provide habitat to more than fifty species of birds and small mammals. White-tailed deer feed on the twigs, foliage, and fruit. Purple-black American elderberries taste slightly bitter and make a crimson juice, finding use in wine, jellies, and pies. The shrub grows best in full sun but can also be found along streams and on forest floors. Its hard wood can be crafted into combs, spindles, and pegs. The twigs can fruit are also used as dyes in basket-making.

Elderberry trees grow best from seed which must be scarified prior to planting due to the hard seed coat. Without scarification, the seed may not germinate for two to five years after planting. The hard coat protects the seed when wildlife ingest the fruit. If properly stored, elderberry seeds may remain viable for up to sixteen years.

KY native mulberry tree

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Hardy Red Mulberry trees prefer full sun but will tolerate shade as well as a variety of soil and weather conditions. They thrive in moist, deep, rich soil. Birds love the sweet fruit which resemble thin blackberries. Red mulberries can be eaten fresh or used in jellies, wines, and desserts. These native trees can grow over sixty feet tall and require heavy pruning to maintain a suitable height for fruit harvest, so red mulberry trees are not commercially grown for fruit production. Some varieties, however, are grown for their ornamental value.

The mulberry, once known as the “King of the Tree Crops,” is now considered a messy, weedy tree unsuitable for the well-manicured landscape.

KY Native Serviceberry

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

Of the three Kentucky native serviceberries, Downy Serviceberry is mainly planted as an ornamental. Its wood is both heavy (the heaviest in the U.S.) and hard, making excellent tool handles. Serviceberry trees grow in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist but well-drained soil. The red-purple fruit tastes somewhat like blueberries. Serviceberries can be eaten fresh, baked in pies, or dried like raisins. Forty or more bird species favor serviceberries as well as mammals big and small. It is a common understory tree.

The serviceberry gets its name from funeral/memorial services. Kentucky serviceberries flower in early spring (two weeks before the dogwood) and has been used as an indicator, legend has it, that it is warm enough outside to dig a grave for a funeral service. The nickname “sarvisberry” comes from the Appalachian pronunciation of the word “service” as “sarvis.”

Photographs used under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Photographers: Julie Makin, Homer Edward Price, Rasbak, Phyzome, Scott Bauer, MONGO, Asit K. Ghosh, VasiDgallery, sbmdstock, Franz Eugen Köhler, James Steakley, H. Zell, and Аимаина хикари.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Michael Boice, Oldham County Horticulture Assistant.

January Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

Canned Cat Food Recalled

The recent recall of 9Lives, EverPet, and Special Kitty, and cat food has been expanded. The J.M. Smucker Company is recalling specific lots of these canned cat food products due to low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1), an essential vitamin for cats. Thiamine deficiency symptoms include low appetite, increased salivation, vomited, and weight loss. Extended thiamine deficiency can lead to neurological issues such as wobbly walking and seizures. Typically reversible, contact your veterinarian immediately should your cat display any of the mentioned symptoms.

The recalled cat food products were distributed across the nation between December 20 and January 3. Check product codes to determine whether you bought recalled cans of 9Lives, EverPet, or Special Kitty canned cat food. Recalled canned cat food should not be fed to cats.

Limited Edition Holiday Twinkies Recalled

Hostess issued a recall of select packages of Holiday White Peppermint Twinkies. The confectionery coating, provided by Blommer Chocolate Company, was recalled due to a possible Salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported to date.

A Salmonella bacteria infection can cause serious illness and even death. Young children, elderly persons, and other people with weak immune systems are at the most risk. Someone infected with Salmonella may experience symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Hostess is only recalling White Peppermint Twinkies with UPC 888109111571. They were only sold in multipack boxes (nine cakes individually wrapped, sold together in a box). The recalled Hostess Twinkies were sold throughout the United States to convenience stores, dollar and discount stores, and grocery stores. Consumers should not consume the affected products and are encouraged to return them to place of purchase for full refunds.

Recalled Palmer Candy

Select Palmer Candy products are being recalled due to a possible Salmonella contamination of a milk powder ingredient. The recalled candies, produced between October 20 and December 9, were distributed across the nation. Recalled products include Palmer Candy Chocolate Almond Bark, Palmer Candy Christmas Tree Pretzels, and Trail’s End Chocolatey Caramel Crunch.

“We are truly sorry for any distress this recall causes to our retail customers and to consumers. We remain committed to the highest standards in food quality and safety. We are taking this recall very seriously and truly appreciate the cooperation of our customers as we work to resolve this matter promptly.”

-Marty Palmer, Palmer Candy Company President and Chief Executive Officer

The recalled candies should not be consumed but can be returned for full refunds.

Recall of Pictsweet Okra

On January 13, the Pictsweet Company announced a recall of their 12 ounce Pictsweet Farms Breaded Okra due to a possible contamination of glass fragments. One minor injury has been reported in connection with the recalled okra products.

Recalled okra packages display UPC# 0 70560 98377 8 and a “best if used by” date of Nov 3, 2018. Affected production codes are 3086B C, 3086B D, 3086B E, 3086B F, or 3086B G. Check the back panel of the package to find this information. The Breaded Okra products were distributed to retail stores across the U.S.

The Pictsweet Company affirms that no other Pictsweet Farms products were affected by this recall.

Consumers possessing the recalled okra should not consume the product and are encouraged either to discard it or return to place of purchase for a full refund.

November Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

Skinny Bee Diet Recalled

On November 8, Love My Tru Body issued a voluntary recall of Skinny Bee Diet 500 mg pills following the FDA lab discovery of sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, and/phenolphthalein in the pills.

The FDA explains these ingredients:

“Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant that was withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010. Desmethylsibutramine is an active metabolite of sibutramine. Sibutramine and its active metabolites substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke. Phenolpthalein was previously used in over-the-counter laxatives, but because of concerns of carcinogenicity, it is no longer marketed in the U.S. These undeclared ingredients make this product an unapproved new drug for which safety and efficacy have not been established.

The affected pills have a manufactured date of March 7, 2016 and expiration date March 6, 2018. They were distributed via the internet from March 23 to April 28 of this year. Consumers possessing the recalled product should discontinue use and dispose of it.

Weight Watchers Recall

Due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination of cookie dough pieces, Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae frozen desserts are currently being recalled. The contaminated cookie dough was provided by third party supplier Aspen Hills.

Listeria can cause serious illness (sometimes even death) in young children, the elderly, and other people with weakened immune systems. A Listeria infection can also cause pregnant women to experience miscarriages or stillbirths. Symptoms of this infection include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

View the FDA Food Recall to determine if you have purchased one of the recalled ice cream products. Consumers should not eat the recalled frozen treats. They may be returned to place of purchase for full refunds.

GFS Cheese Manicotti Recalled

Specific pans of GFS Cheese Manicotti are being recalled. The product may actually contain Chicken Cannelloni which contains eggs. This undeclared ingredient poses a health risk to people with an egg allergy.

The recalled pasta came in 68 ounce (4 pound, 4 ounce) packages. Only packages bearing lot code 15268 were affected. Gordon Food Service distributed the recalled pasta products to retail stores, restaurants, and others in the food service industry in the following states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The mislabeled product arrived in cases or boxes labeled Chicken Cannelloni.

Consumers sensitive to egg may return these products to place of purchase for a full refund.

Recalling Hummus

Sabra Dipping Company has voluntarily recalled hummus products manufactured before November 8, 2016 due to a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recalled hummus was distributed to retail stores and others in the food service industry in the United States as well as Canada.

Recalled products can be identified by the Unit Production Code and Best By Date. See the FDA Food Recall to identify recalled food products. Sabra also specifies that the following products are not included in this recall: Sabra Organic Hummus, Sabra Salsa, Sabra Guacamole, and Sabra Greek Yogurt Dips.