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USDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS
IITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF INFORMATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
February 1967 No. 3 0
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RESEARCH REPORT /"5
In Hot Water. A quick dip in htrater9r a blast o air
effectively kills decay organisms on 13 fruits and- ables,
USDA scientists find. It also .protects Sta'rman app~ d
Anjou pears from scald, a mottling.of the ekin which them
unattractive and hard to sell. The' scientists' wha a.
it hot for the decay organisms, say this-methodis cheap
safer and easier to use than chemical controls.. Good resu
have been obtained with apples, blueberries', cantaloups, lemons,
oranges, grapefruit, cranberries, peaches, raspberries, straw-
berries, peppers, sweetpotatoes, and mangos. For you, the con-
sumer, it will mean better quality fresh fruits and vegetables--
and perhaps at lower cost because marketing men will suffer
less loss due to spoilage.
Puffed Potato Pieces. Au gratin potatoes in 13 minutes; potato
salad in 5. It's not as impossible or as far away as you might
think. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a way
to make quick-cooking dehydrated potato slices and cubes. The
secret lies in shooting the pieces from a puffing gun. This
makes them porous, so they can be readily dried and just as
readily reconstituted. Explosion-puffed potato slices can be
served as boiled potatoes or made into potato salad after sim-
mering only 5 or 6 minutes. A three-minute simmer and 10 minutes
more in the oven produces scalloped or au gratin potatoes.
Shocking Development. Orange trees in California are getting the
shock of their lives. Scientists of the U.S. Department of Agri-
culture--working with those at the University of California--are
sending jolts of electricity through the trees to get them to
drop their fruit. For years, oranges have had to be picked from
ladders because the fruit does not readily fall. Now, the scien-
tist find, a charge of electricity will knock off the mature
fruit and leave the green oranges on the tree to ripen. Use of
electricity offers other interesting possibilities. For instance,
tree growth may also be controlled by electricity--either speeded
up or slowed down. But all this is far in the future, USDA
researchers say. Considerable research will be needed before
this process can be fully understood and employed in orchards.
Sweet Tooth Teasers. Baking for the boys in Vietnam? Try using
honey in your recipes. It will keep cakes and cookies softer
longer. And if it's candy you're cooking--fudge or fondant--
honey will keep it from crystallizing. When substituting honey
for sugar, deduct 1/4 cup liquid for each cup of honey used.
IN YARD AND GARDEN
Dreaming of a Green Lawn? You'll improve your chances of having a luxurious lawn if
you plant a blend of grass seed rather than a single kind, USDA turf experts say.
Should disease strike, it more than likely will hit only one variety--and you'll have
the others to fall back on. Also, a blend of both fine-textured and coarse grass is
often recommended for a new lawn. The coarse grass grows faster and provides ground
cover until the finer grasses mature. If, however, yours is an already established
lawn that only needs to be thickened--only one variety of seed should be used, the
kind you wish to permanently establish in your yard.
Flowers in the Snow. You can add a touch of springtime to your yard--in mid-winter--
by planting shrubs that bloom in the cold. Several ornamentals flower in winter, say
U.S. Department of Agriculture plant scientists. The Chinese witch hazel, which pro-
duces fragrant yellow blossoms, is one of these. Relatively unknown, it grows as far
north as southern New England. Or choose the winter sweet. It is even more fragrant
and is a good planting near a doorway or garage. The winter sweet can withstand 0
temperatures. Then there's a winter jasmine from China. It's a tough plant that blooms
6 weeks ahead of the forsythia. Winter jasmine grows easily from cuttings and it
can withstand -10 degree temperatures.
Pruning Without Shears. Bushier chrysanthemums, more compact forsythias and junipers
It's possible--and without pruning. A new chemical has been developed by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture that stops growth of the terminal buds of these plants.
Properly applied, the new growth regulator produces branching growth and other desir-
able characteristics in these and other ornamentals. Still in the early stages of
research, it's something to watch for.
No Disclaimers. If a pesticide is registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture--
and all pesticides must be--it has been tested and found effective and safe when used
as directed. Yet pesticide manufacturers frequently put disclaiming statements on
their labels which say they are not responsible for the effectiveness or safety of
their products--even if used as directed. No longer. "Such disclaimers," says Dr.
Harry W. Hays, Director of the Pesticides Regulation Division of USDA's Agricultural
Research Service, "are both false and misleading. They are not acceptable."
Fountain of Youth. A substance in the wood of balsam fir can be used to turn certain
insects into big babies. Instead of maturing normally, the insects never become
adults--and never reproduce. The chemical--a hormone-like compound called juvabione--
could offer startling new opportunities for insect control, U.S. Department of Agri-
culture scientists say. So far, juvabione works well on boxelder bugs, linden bugs
and mealworms. And since bedbugs and chinch bugs are of the same family, it may work
on them too.
No Admittance. USDA plant quarantine inspectors recently broke up a friendship--
between a member of a ship's crew and his pet grasshopper. The grasshopper belonged
to a species that causes considerable crop damage in China and Japan. The inspectors
wouldn't let the sailor bring the grasshopper into the U.S. (U.S. Department of Agri-
culture personnel are constantly on the look out for damaging foreign pests that might
inadvertently enter this country and cause crop and livestock damage.)
AT THE SUPERMARKET
What's Plentiful. Still sticking to your New Year's resolution to shop more carefully
for food? Then watch for these items--oranges, grapefruit, pork, eggs, canned salmon,
dry beans and green split peas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says they'll be in
especially plentiful supply in February. In March--eggs, pork, oranges, grapefruit,
green split peas and canned salmon will continue on the list, with eggs and peanuts
and peanut products featured. Rice also appears on the March list of plentifuls.
Everything But the Squeal. Homemakers--looking for something different to serve for
dinner--should spend a few extra minutes at the meat counter. Most stores offer so
many different cuts and forms of pork that you could serve it for two months without
repeating. A U.S. Department of Agriculture survey shows an average of 24 different
forms of fresh pork in city food stores. Take pork chops--there's rib, loin, shoulder,
or boneless loin. You can buy 'em plain, smoked, butterfly, or cut extra thick for
stuffing. Then there is an infinite variety of cured pork. For instance, consider all
the different kinds of smoked sausages--the linked and the unlinked, the jumbos and the
juniors, the mighty spicy and the lightly spiced. There's economy in variety--
especially in pork during February and March.
For the Freezer. Two new frozen omelets have been developed by Cornell University's
Agricultural Experiment Station. One, the Frozen Western, is made with eggs and ham;
the other, a Frozen Catskill, contains smoked chicken. Each takes only 5 or 6 minutes
to cook. Almost before the Cornell omelets were market tested (at restaurants and
supermarkets in central New York State), several commercial companies brought out
similar products. So you may find these new frozen foods already at your supermarket.
ON THE SKI SLOPES
Skiing. Looking for a place to ski? Look no further than the new directory of ski
areas issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It lists about 175 areas in Nation-
al Forests, reports the types of ski lifts at each and whether accommodations are avail-
able for overnight guests. Also included in this full-color booklet are illustrations
of the 12 standard national ski signs. The booklet advises, "Learn these signs and ski
the National Forests safely." For a copy of this informative publication, send 30 cents
for "Skiing" to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402. Allow three weeks for delivery.
Schuss and Slalom. If you count the days and the number of visitors and multiply them
together, you find that nearly half a million ski visits were made to the Tahoe Nation-
al Forest in California in 1965--to make it the most popular of the 154 National Forests
for winter sports. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the actual tally at
Tahoe was 484,700 visits. Second most popular ski area was the Wenatchee National
Forest in Washington, which totaled 386,100.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Tools of the Trade. Colorimeter, micrometer, refractometer, salometer,--these are the
behind-the-scene tools used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to check the quality
of food products as they go through the marketing system. They are used to assure you
of really red tomato juice, high-standing egg whites, a certain sweetness of cantaloupes,
grapes and honey, and just so much salt in your pickles. USDA graders use such tools to
help classify products according to market value--and thus provide you, the consumer,
with better quality foods.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08740 0478
ALL ABOUT SHOES
Under Foot. Worn out shoes may harm feet. Shoes with ripped seams or soles with holes
should be repaired promptly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. But keep in mind
that half soles and resoling may change the size or shape of the shoes and result in a
poor fit. With rising shoe repair costs, it may be less expensive to buy new shoes for
your child's rapidly growing feet.
New Shoe Sizes. A new system of sizing and fitting men's shoes--to reduce the number
of sizes the retailer must stock--is being tried out by a major shoe producer in 450
retail outlets, reports a U.S. Department of Agriculture clothing specialist. The new
sizes reflect the measurement around the ball of the foot rather than its width. Plans
are underway to apply the system to women's and children's shoes, too.
Well Shod. How many pairs of shoes did you buy last year? If you are what USDA econ-
omists consider average, it was three pairs. But if you are a member of the fairer
sex, you probably bought four. All of which means Dad and son got only three pairs
To Reduce Wrinkles. If you don't have a wash-and-wear cycle on your washing machine or
dryer--yet want to use these machines for clothes made of synthetic fibers, try these
suggestions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They'll help reduce wrinkling.
Wash in small loads. Use cool or warm (never hot) water. Wash only long enough to
remove soil. Rinse in cool water. Shorten the water extraction times--both after wash-
ing and after rinsing. Set dryer at low or medium. After clothes are dry, tumble them
for 10 minutes more without heat. Remove immediately and hang.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Help Where It's Needed. Some kind of food assistance is available in many areas of the
country to those who need it. It's part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's effort
to make good use--right here at home--of our abundant food production. Most widespread
is the direct donation of a variety of foods to the disabled, unemployed, elderly and
others who need food help. For information about food assistance in your community,
contact the county or city welfare office.
Breakfast Is Served. Milwaukee, Wis., and Milton, N.C., may be miles apart geograph-
ically but they are together in the school breakfast program. These two towns were a-
mong the first to try this new pilot program authorized by the Child Nutrition Act of
1966. Both schools have on their rolls a large number of youngsters from low-income
families--children who might otherwise wait until noon for their first meal of the day.
Both now serve these children hearty breakfasts--a glass of milk; a half cup of fruit,
or vegetable or fruit juice; bread, rolls, muffins or 3/4's of a cup of whole-grain
cereal. Meat and other protein foods are served as often as practical. Before the
year is out, some 100 public and private schools from coast to coast will participate
in this experimental project. More than 100,000 youngsters from low-income families
will eat breakfast at school.
SERVICE is a monthly newsletter of consumer interest. It is designed for those who
report to the individual consumer rather than for mass distribution. For information
about items in this issue, write: Jeanne S. Park, Editor, SERVICE, Office of Infor-
mation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., 20250.
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