Q: Is there a canned pumpkin shortage?
A few weeks ago when I was purchasing food for our “What’s Cookin’ with Diabetes Class,” I found out firsthand that there was an apparent canned pumpkin shortage. The only pumpkin that I could find anywhere in Lawrence was a very limited supply of high-priced organic canned pumpkin.
Investigating what the problem was, here’s what I found out: In 2008, pumpkin farms had poor crops for producing processing pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns. Wet weather slowed down planting, harvesting was late, and yields were low. Bacterial diseases also have affected some jack o’ lantern pumpkins.
Therefore, canned pumpkin has been in limited supply on grocery store shelves last year and also in 2009. Be patient. Current crops are being processed and are making their way back on the store shelves, just in time for the fall season. Hooray!
Q: Is it safe to use Pyrex bowls in my microwave?
A: Yes, it’s safe to use Pyrex in your microwave or oven. Many consumers have read the e-mail circulating about Pyrex dishes exploding in the oven, so I can understand your concern. This e-mail has been going around a few years. Here is the response from the World Kitchen Consumer Care Center to this e-mail:
“Pyrex is and always has been safe for use in accordance with its safety and usage instructions. Pyrex glass bakeware has an excellent safety record, established over decades. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency charged with protecting consumers, maintains a database of injury reports to identify potentially hazardous products, and these records do not indicate any safety issue with glass bakeware. There has never been a recall of Pyrex glass bakeware.
“Pyrex glass bakeware is used in an estimated 80 percent of U.S. homes. Since 1998, World Kitchen has manufactured over 390 million Pyrex glass products in the U.S. for sale in the marketplace. A relatively tiny number of consumers have reported to World Kitchen that their Pyrex glass bakeware unexpectedly broke. Breakage can occur when any brand of glass bakeware is subjected to severe temperature changes or other misuse that our safety and usage instructions specifically warn against.
“Pyrex glass bakeware is made with soda lime glass that has been heat-strengthened through a thermal tempering process. World Kitchen tempers Pyrex glass bakeware to the degree necessary to withstand temperature changes appropriate for its intended use in the kitchen while achieving an appropriate balance between increased mechanical strength (i.e., to withstand impact and severe temperature differential) and energy expended upon breakage (i.e., to control the number of pieces and dynamism should breakage occur).
“Pyrex’s exemplary safety record confirms that this balance has been appropriately struck.”
Today, most, if not all glass bakeware sold in the United States is made from heat-strengthened soda lime glass, which requires less energy (lower temperature) to produce, results in fewer harmful emissions during production and is more recyclable than borosilicate glass.
Q: I know that I eat fast, but can you give me some ideas on how to feel full so I don’t eat so much?
A: The best thing to do is to learn to eat foods that make you feel full longer. This can lessen the chance of overeating. Here are some tips to improve satiety:
l First of all, slow down! Eating slower allows the brain to receive satiety signals, which take about 20 minutes to occur. Put your fork down in between bites and chew slower. You will enjoy your food more.
l Start with soup, salad or fruit. These are foods low in energy density, which increases satiety. Energy density means few calories relative to the weight or volume of the food. Remember to skip the heavy salad dressings and heavy soups.
l Increase protein. Foods high in protein can help prolong satiety. Choose lean meats or those high in healthy fats.
l Start with a glass of water. Water in the stomach delays emptying, leading to reduced hunger and feeling fuller.
— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.