Healthy sausages?

I first read the title to this article and wondered if this wasn’t a joke – trying to make sausages healthy by adding sea buckthorn juice. Sounded pretty extraordinary to me. But then I read past the abstract and learned that the researchers are trying to find alternatives to chemical additives to sausages. In other words, they were trying to find a natural alternative to artificial additives to their product. In this case addition of 1.5% sea buckthorn juice increased the shelf life, reduced lipid oxidation and improved the microbial quality of the meat product. Its an interesting look at the complexities of food science.

2017 Hippophae

Anna Marietta Salejda,1 Agnieszka Nawirska-OlszaNska,Urszula Janiewicz,1 and Grahyna Krasnowska Department of Animal Products Technology and Quality Management,Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences,ChełmoÅLnskiego Str., 51-630Wroclaw, Poland and Department of Fruit, Vegetable and Nutraceutical Technology,Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ChełmoÅLnskiego Str., 51-630Wroclaw, Poland

 

 

The present study was aimed at evaluating the effect of a sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) fruit extract on selected quality properties of cooked sausages.The ethanolic extract of sea buckthorn fruit (SBE) incorporated at the highest level (3%) significantly affected the pH, weight losses, and instrumental color parameters of sausages. The SBE deteriorated organoleptic properties of sausages like juiciness, overall appearance, texture, and taste; however the sausagesmanufactured with 1.5% SBE were scored higher for color and almost the same as control for smell acceptance. Textural parameters like hardness, springiness, gumminess, and chewiness of cooked sausages decreased along with SBE addition. After 28 days of storage, the samples with 1.5% SBE addition were as springy, hard, and gummy as the control ones. Incorporation of SBE increased the shelf life of sausages. The highest inhibition of lipid oxidation was observed in the samples manufactured with 1.5% SBE.The SBE significantly improved the microbial qualities of sausages.

Alaska Strawberry History

For anyone interested, here is a short article I wrote a few years ago about the history of strawberry breeding and cultivation in Alaska.      Strawberry history

Strawberry wars

Strawberries have been a passion all over the world for hundreds of years. The story is no different in Alaska where strawberry mania traveled North with the Gold Rush. The attached link is an interesting history of the development of the strawberry with one of the world’s top producers, Driscoll as well as conflicts with public and private breeding interests. It evens mentions Alaska wild strawberries! Driscoll Strawberries conducted some research along with the UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden into strawberry plant production in the 1990s. They were interested in learning if producing the plants at high latitudes would improve yields when the plants were transplanted in southern California and Mexico for fruit production. The results were not positive so they moved on to other ideas. It was interesting working with this private company and learning their research procedures that have since catapulted their patented strawberries into world fame. Anyone who buys strawberries at Safeway or Freddies certainly knows their name. It is also interesting to note that Alaska had the first strawberry breeding program at a U.S. University anywhere! It was begun by Charles Georgeson in the early 1900s. Others certainly have lasted longer, but Alaska was the first! We just can’t seem to get anyone in the State to fund ag research on any level. The Agricultural Experiment Station was THE research and development arm for Alaska farmers, and today it is a shadow of its former self.

The Driscoll Story

 

Nitrogen fertilizers in boreal forests and their effects on plants and animals

Gardeners often apply extra fertilizer to their wild berry patches to increase yields in wild stands. This paper summarizes research on the effects of applying nitrogen fertilizer on large and small animals as well as plants. It is an interesting survey of forest systems and not just the wild berry we have in mind.

Influence of nitrogen fertilization on abundance and diversity of plants and animals in temperate and boreal forests

Thomas P. Sullivan, Druscilla Sullivan

Published on the web 26 July 2017.


Environmental Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2017-0026

ABSTRACT

Aerial and land-based applications of nitrogen-based fertilizers to enhance forest growth makes nutrients potentially available to all trees, plants, and wildlife in a given ecosystem, and therefore may have direct and indirect effects on wildlife and biodiversity. A scientific review of these potential effects was conducted with 106 published studies covering vascular and non-vascular plants, amphibians, birds, mammals, terrestrial invertebrates, and soil animals associated with fertilization in temperate and boreal forests, primarily in North America and Scandinavia. In terms of direct effects, amphibians and domestic mammals appear to be the most sensitive to urea used in fertilization programs. The avoidance behaviour and/or mortality of amphibians in laboratory studies was species-dependent. Ruminant animals, including wild ungulates, rapidly convert urea to ammonia and are susceptible to toxicity following ingestion of large amounts of urea. Feeding on urea pellets by small mammals or gallinaceous birds appears to be minimal as granules are unpalatable. In terms of indirect effects, the majority of responses of understory herbs to nitrogen fertilization showed an increase in abundance. Some shrubs in repeatedly fertilized stands eventually increased in abundance in long-term studies, whereas dwarf shrubs and abundance of bryophytes (mosses and terrestrial lichens) declined. In general, species richness and diversity of understory herbs and shrubs declined, or were unaffected, in fertilized stands. Response in abundance and species richness-diversity of vascular plants to a single application of nitrogen showed either an increase or no change. Repeated applications (2-5 and > 5) usually resulted in declines in these responses. Relative abundance of mule deer (Odocoileus Rafinesque spp.), moose (Alces alces L.), and hares (Lepus L. spp.), and forage quantity and quality were usually increased by fertilization. Small mammal species generally showed increases or no change in abundance; decreases may be related to fertilizer-induced changes in food sources. Forest fertilization may provide winter feeding habitat for coniferous foliage-gleaning insectivorous birds in some cases. Six species of forest grouse showed no response to fertilizer treatments. Responses of soil animals to nitrogen fertilization appeared to be species- and dose-specific and ameliorated by surrounding micro- and macro-habitat characteristics.

Origin of the Svalbard Seed Bank

Here is a link to an interview with Cary Fowler and Terry Gros about how the global seed vault originated. The interview is a very interesting history.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539005688/539059394“>NPR- Global Seed Vault

Juniperus horizontalis — Yukon Wild Berries

Yes! a few days ago, the male flowers released their pollen and yesterday i finally found, on a different plant (dioecious) a few female flowers with a last year berry ( which is not a true berry) and a two year old ripe, blue, berry on the same branch.April 29, 2017Along the Takhini river, on…

via Juniperus horizontalis — Yukon Wild Berries

Geocaulon lividum — Yukon Wild Berries

the false toadflax is blooming, May 16 2017.This one found at teapot ponds, but it is very common around here, and i saw it coming into bloom the last few days.I call it timberberry,but it’s prettiest name is northern comandra comandra meaning hairy calyx lobes

via Geocaulon lividum — Yukon Wild Berries

Alaska Bumble Bees

This is a summary of Rehanon Pampel’s thesis documenting bumble bees in agricultural areas of the Interior. It documents species as well as seasonal occurrence. You think bumbles are doing their thing all summer, but there is a definite seasonal pattern to their work.

biodiversity_data_journal-3-e5085

Documenting Change in Nunavut

Here is a thesis that explores climate change through berries near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. The program is part citizen science as well as documenting the ethnobotany of the region. It includes great summaries of the most important berries and even some recipes!

ubc_2017_may_desrosiers_sarah

Improving Haskap Fruit Quality

This thesis reveals an interesting breeding program at the U. of Saskatchewan to improve the quality of Haskap berries and leaves. Their goal is to increase secondary metabolites or compounds that might be beneficial to human health.

DAWSON-DISSERTATION-2017

How to improve cloudberry fields

Nice research about increasing abundance of cloudberry plants by increasing fertilizers. Here is the abstract. The full article is available from the Canadian Journal of Plant Science.

Rubus chamaemorus rhizome development

 

 

Sheperdia canadensis — Yukon Wild Berries

female flowers, and indeed on the soapberry bush by the poplar where the swing used to be.male flowersfemale soapberry bushmale soapberry bushMay 21 2017, in the yard

via Sheperdia canadensis — Yukon Wild Berries

Antimicrobial Activity in Lingonberry

This study from Romania/Hungary showed that lingonberries have a high anti-microbial activity especially relating to Pseudomonas species. The authors found that where you harvest makes a big difference in this anti-microbial activity. When selecting for high activity, the location needs to be considered. It is not known just what in the environment is influencing the activity, but it can be highly variable.

2017 Laslo

Flavonoids in Crowberry, Empetrum nigrum

This is an interesting article on the value of crowberries in the diet. Lots of people harvest this fruit although many people consider it tasteless, nothing more than a thirst quencher if you are out hiking in the woods. They are tiny, and you have your work cut out for you to harvest enough to do anything with, but they are good.

Empetrum nigrum

Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum L.) Flavonoids and Their Health Promoting ActivityTunde Jurikova 1, *, Jiri Mlcek 2 , Sona Skrovankova 2 , Stefan Balla 1 , Jiri Sochor 3 , Mojmir Baron 3 and Daniela Sumczynski 2 1 Institute for Teacher Training, Faculty of Central European Studies, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Drazovska 4, SK-949 74 Nitra, Slovakia; sballa@ukf.sk 2 Department of Food Analysis and Chemistry, Faculty of Technology, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, nam. T. G. Masaryka 5555, CZ-760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic; mlcek@ft.utb.cz (J.M.); skrovankova@ft.utb.cz (S.S.); sumczynski@ft.utb.cz (D.S.) 3 Department of Viticulture and Enology, Faculty of Horticulture, Mendel University in Brno, Valticka 337, CZ-691 44 Lednice, Czech Republic; sochor.jirik@seznam.cz (J.S.); MojmirBaron@seznam.cz (M.B.)  Published: 7 December 2016

Abstract: Nowadays, much research attention is focused on underutilized berry crops due to the high antioxidant activity of fruits. Black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum L.) represents an important source of flavonols (quercetin, rutin, myricetin, naringenin, naringin, morin, and kaempferol) and anthocyanins. The fruit components could be utilised as natural colourants or as a part of functional foods and, because of the high antioxidant activity, the berries of black crowberry can be used in the treatment of diseases accompanied with inflammation, or as an effective antibacterial and antifungal remedy. Moreover, the reduction of lipid accumulation and total cholesterol as well as an improvement of postprandial hyperglycaemia have been proven. This review summarizes for the first time the main antioxidants (flavonoids) of black crowberry fruits, with a focus on their health promoting activity.

Roadside fertilizer?

Several Alaska researchers studied the vegetation along the Dalton Highway in moist-acidic tussock-tundra in 2006. The pH of the roadside that is annually covered in fine dust from the road, increased over time from 4 to 6. . The amount of grasses did, too as well as cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus. The fine dust may be adding a bit of fertilizer to the roadsides. It is not surprising that grasses increase especially on disturbed sites, but cloudberries are a surprise. I wonder if berry yield also increases or if it is just vegetation.

Roadside vegetation

A great cottage business in Ketchikan

Here is a nice news article about a jam and jelly business in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Jelly and Jam

 

Northern high bush and half high blueberries in Kenai

Researchers Drs. Danny Barney and Kim Hummer conducted variety trials on on-native Alaska blueberries in cooperation with Alaska Berries of Kenai. It has been difficult to find any non-native blueberry that is consistently hardy in Alaska to make it worth growing commercially. Their abstract is below. The full article is available at the Journal of the American Pomological Society 66(3):145-152. 2012. Research at UAF also conducted hardiness trials of these cultivars in Fairbanks. In fact, many species and cultivars have been tested over the years since Gold Rush Days. None survived above the snow line. You can get a handful of berries on the stems protected y snow, but all branches were killed above the snow line. It does hint that heavy mulching or microclimate manipulation might improve survival, but when our wild  blueberries are so abundant and delicious, why bother?

Abstract: Home and commercial cultivation of small fruits is popular in Alaska and blueberries of several species, such as V. corymbosum and V. angustifolium, have potential as cultivated crops for local production. In June 2009, we established blueberry plantings in two locations on the Kenai Peninsula, approximately 106 kilometers southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Our objectives were to compare effects of location and cultivar for three northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and six half-high (V. corymbosum Å~ V. angustifolium) blueberry cultivars on plant survival, fall tip dieback, winter injury, yield and fruit weight. Severe winter injury and some mortality were observed by June 2011. At both locations, highbush cultivars ‘Duke’, ‘Earliblue’, and ‘Patriot’, and the half-high cultivars ‘Chippewa’ and ‘Northland’ had severe fall tip dieback and winter injury. These five cultivars are not recommended for Southcentral Alaska, although ‘Patriot’ produced a few large ripe fruit in 2011. The remaining half-high cultivars survived well and produced yields in 2011. ‘Northblue’ and ‘Northsky’ ripened first, followed by ‘Northcountry’ and ‘Polaris’. Fruit was harvested three times in September 2011. ‘Northblue’ yield was 0.25 kg·plant-1 (2-years post-establishment) and mean berry size was 1.98 g·berry-1. Yields for ‘Northcountry’, ‘Northsky’, ‘Polaris’, and ‘Patriot’ were 0.09, 0.18, 0.05, and 0.02 kg·plant-1, respectively. Berry weights were 0.66, 0.88, and 1.50 g·berry-1 for ‘Northcountry’, ‘Northsky’, and Polaris’, respectively. Berry weights were not determined for ‘Patriot’. Based on our initial observations, given appropriate cultivar selection and plant management, half-high blueberry production on the Kenai Peninsula appears feasible for home and small-acreages. Snow-catch strategies for winter protection and tunnels for season extension are recommended.

What is shrub?

     A new agriculture consumer magazine has come to town,the first edition of Edible Alaska were in readers hands summer 2016 !  I was doing my usual quick thumb thru  when I was handed my personal copy  while I walked thru AG Day 2016 @Palmer Experiment Farm when I came upon the article, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.
     What the heck is shrub you say?? Well according to Wikipedia in terms of mixed drinks, shrub is the name of two different, but related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England, typically made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit.
     The word “shrub” can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks
     The history of Shrub is early English version of the shrub arose from the medicinal cordials of the 15th century.The drink gained popularity among smugglers in the 1680s trying to avoid paying import taxes for goods shipped from mainland Europe: To avoid detection, smugglers would sometimes sink barrels of spirits off-shore to be retrieved later; the addition of fruit flavours aided in masking the taste of alcohol fouled by sea water.As a mixture of fruit and alcohol, the shrub is related to the punch, however punches were normally served immediately after mixing the ingredients, whereas shrubs tended to have a higher concentration of flavour and sugar and could be stored for later use, much like a pre-made drink mixer.The shrub was itself a common ingredient in punches, either on its own or as a simple mix with brandy or rum. It was also served during the Christmas season mixed with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry, rum and other spirits.The shrub was sold in most public houses throughout England in the 17th and 18th centuries, although the drink fell out of fashion by the late 1800s.

     The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America.By the 19th century, typical American recipes for shrubs used vinegar poured over fruit—traditionally berries—which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterwards, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup.The sweet-and-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.Shrubs eventually fell out of popularity with the advent of home refrigeration.

The serving of vinegar-based shrub drinks became popular again in 2011 and 2012 in American restaurants and bars. The trend has also been noted in bars in Canada as well as London. The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited as anapéritif or used as an alternative to bitters in cocktails. Unlike cocktails acidulated with citrus, vinegar-based drinks will remain clear when shaken.

The reference materials listed at the end were interesting reads for sure, but back to the article in my new magazine edible Alaska that started this blog post.  Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.  Helen Howarth of Fromagio’s Artisan cheese in Anchorage is bringing this refreshing drink to the local consumers but she shares a recipe how easy its a DIY 3 ingredient start to deliciousness.  1pound of fruits or vegetables,3/4 cup sugar, 314 cup vinegar; chop the fruit or vegetables, place in a bowl with sugar and macerate. cover bowl, refrigerate for a few days, then pour off the juice and add any type of vinegar. shore in corked or closed jar.

Plus as its mentioned making shrubs allows you to use the whole harvest of not just fruits but also crab apples, rhubarb. carrots, herbs, ginger, and many endless more choices.

Cannot wait to experiment with all the new combinations from local freshly harvested produce with a new preserving method. R from Mat-Su Valley

edible Alaska Magazine summer 2016 No. 1, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten, pg 38

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrub_(drink)

Restoring peatlands

This document talks about how to grow berries in peatlands after peat extraction.  It includes most of the acid-loving berries such as blueberries and cranberries. It is  a nice reference for growing berries!

Peatland Ecology Research Group.  2009.  Production of Berries in Peatlands.  Available online:  http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/uploads/tx_centrerecherche/GUIDE_Berries_en_2009_01.pdf.  Accessed 17 Oct 2016.

Cornell Berry Diagnostics

The Cornell Cooperative Extensions Berry Diagnostic Tool is an excellent resource for anyone growing or interested in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, and gooseberries. This online tool allows anyone to select a berry crop and then from a variety of descriptions of plant growth issues, deformities, discolorations, damage, or other indicator that occurs on the whole plant, flower, fruit, or vegetative to continue to diagnose the issue. Lots of photographs and links to in depth articles are included about many diagnoses to really get to the “root” of the issue. Finally, recommendations for management of the issue can be selected after referring to the images and descriptions
Citation: Cornell Cooperative Extension. 2016. Cornell Fruit Berry Diagnostic Tool. Available online: Diagnosis. Accessed: 12 October 201