ABC to XYZ in Foods: Milk - the ‘perfect food'

Milk is a staple of the American diet, especially among youth. File photo
Bette Banjack

MILK – Once considered the “perfect food,” it is extremely high in fat according to today’s standards. When the fat is removed, it is a highly nutritious food.

Milk has the ability to strengthen bones and an excellent source of calcium. The amount needed by each person depends on age, sex and other contributing factors of one’s health.

Raw milk is not processed in any way; it is right out of the cow and difficult to find. Most milk on the market today is pasteurized for all the health reasons we know about. Most milk is homogenized, which is when the milk is processed so the cream will not separate. When I was a kid, you had to shake the bottle of milk really good, as the cream always rose to the top.

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Milk is available in whole milk, low fat, no fat, skimmed, reduced 1 percent, reduced 2 percent and buttermilk.

It is best to buy milk in treated cardboard cartons. Milk is sensitive to light and loses much of its nutrients shortly after purchasing in plastic jugs or bottles. The container should be tightly sealed and refrigerated so that the carton feels cold to the touch.

Check the date on the carton. Never leave milk standing at room temperature and never pour unused milk or cream back into the original container. This can contaminate the fresh milk in the container. I suggest not freezing milk. When defrosted, the molecules clump together, it is no longer smooth and becomes strange in looks and taste.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

• 1 cup boiling water

• 6 tablespoons butter

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 2/3 cups instant nonfat dry milk*

In a blender, food processor or shake jar, thoroughly blend together all ingredients. Will keep in refrigerator in covered container for up to one week. Use in recipes calling for sweetened condensed milk. Makes 2 cups.

*Instant nonfat dry milk is a good item to have in your pantry

MELONS – Are a vine fruit that is excellent for your health. Not only are they good for you, they taste good, too.

All melons have of small amounts of protein, fat and fiber, which make it ideal for low-calorie diets. The fleshy fruit of melons are hidden behind a protective rind. Wash the rind while the melon is whole and uncut.

Watermelons are hard to stack and needs a lot of space to store. The Japanese are known for square watermelons. When the melon is small (young) it is placed in a box and kept on the vine to grow. The watermelon takes on the shape of the box. They are unavailable to date in the United States. It may be a fun project to try. Take a small sprout and see what happens.

Some of the favorite melons are small round ones, such as: cantaloupe, muskmelon, crenshaw, honeydew and carney. If you buy a cantaloupe anywhere near Lancaster, you most likely will be getting a muskmelon. Muskmelons are somewhat larger and rougher than a cantaloupe.

Let me hear from you - banjack303@verizon.net.

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Good Food for a Good Life!