Honey… Will you take out the garbage?

commercial_honey

I’m re-posting this as a public safety alert. I never knew this and I bake with a lot of honey. From now on it’s only “Buy Local” for me!  JW

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

By Andrew Schneider 

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

honey-without-pollen

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Vaughn-Bryant

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.

The National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion organization under USDA oversight, says the bulk of foreign honey (at least 60 percent or more) is sold to the food industry for use in baked goods, beverages, sauces and processed foods.  Food Safety News did not examine these products for this story.

Some U.S. honey packers didn’t want to talk about how they process their merchandise.

One who did was Bob Olney, of Honey Tree Inc., in Michigan, who sells its Winnie the Pooh honey in Walmart stores.  Bryant’s analysis of the contents of the container made in Winnie’s image found that the pollen had been removed.

Olney says that his honey came from suppliers in Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. “It was filtered in processing because North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear,” he said.

The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

However, most beekeepers say traditional filtering used by most will catch bee parts, wax, debris from the hives and other visible contaminants but will leave the pollen in place.

Ernie Groeb, the president and CEO of Groeb Farms Inc., which calls itself “the world’s largest packer of honey,” says he makes no specific requirement to the pollen content of the 85 million pounds of honey his company buys.

Groeb sells retail under the Miller’s brand and says he buys 100 percent pure honey, but does not “specify nor do we require that the pollen be left in or be removed.”

He says that there are many different filtering methods used by beekeepers and honey packers.

“We buy basically what’s considered raw honey. We trust good suppliers. That’s what we rely on,” said Groeb, whose headquarters is in Onsted, Mich.

Why Remove the Pollen?

Removal of all pollen from honey “makes no sense” and is completely contrary to marketing the highest quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.

food-safety-news-good-honey-sample.jpg“I don’t know of any U.S. producer that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,” Jensen said.

“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.

Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”

“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.

The Sioux Honey Association, who says it’s America’s largest supplier, declined repeated requests for comments on ultra-filtration, what Sue Bee does with its foreign honey and whether it’s u
ltra-filtered when they buy it. The co-op markets retail under Sue Bee, Clover Maid, Aunt Sue, Natural Pure and many store brands.

Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, the nation’s third largest packer, said his company takes every precaution not to buy laundered Chinese honey.

“We are well aware of the tricks being used by some brokers to sell honey that originated in China and laundering it in a second country by filtering out the pollen and other adulterants,” said Wenger, whose firm markets 55 million pounds of honey annually under its Busy Bee brand, store brands, club stores and food service.

“The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we won’t buy it, we won’t touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.”

He said his company uses “extreme care” including pollen analysis when purchasing foreign honey, especially from countries like India, Vietnam and others that have or have had “business arrangements” with Chinese honey producers.

Golden Heritage, Wenger said, then carefully removes all pollen from the raw honey when it’s processed to extend shelf life, but says, “as we see it, that is not ultra-filtration.

“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

Some of the foreign and state standards that are being instituted can be read to mean different things, Wenger said “but the confusion can be eliminated and we can all be held to the same appropriate standards for quality if FDA finally establishes the standards we’ve all wanted for so long.”

Groeb says he has urged FDA to take action as he also “totally supports a standard of Identity for honey. It will help everyone have common ground as to what pure honey truly is!”

What’s Wrong With Chinese Honey?

Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.

To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.

Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.

The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.

Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.

In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.

By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.

Eventually, some honey packers became worried about what they were pumping into the plastic bears and jars they were selling. They began using in-house or private labs to test for honey diluted with inexpensive high fructose corn syrup or 13 other illegal sweeteners or for the presence of illegal antibiotics. But even the most sophisticated of these tests would not pinpoint the geographic source of the honey.

Food scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.

Federal investigators working on criminal indictments and a very few conscientious packers were willing to pay stiff fees to have the pollen in their honey analyzed for country of origin. That complex, multi-step analysis is done by fewer than five commercial laboratories in the world.

But, Customs and Justice Department investigators told Food Safety News that whenever U.S. food safety or criminal experts verify a method to identify potentially illegal honey – such as analyzing the pollen – the laundering operators find a way to thwart it, such as ultra-filtration.

The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.

FDA’s Lack of Action

The Food and Drug Administration weighed into the filtration issue years ago.

“The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey,” agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.

She went on to explain: “We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey. If we do detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey we will refuse entry.”

Many in the honey industry and some in FDA’s import office say they doubt that FDA checks more than 5 percent of all foreign honey shipments.

For three months, the FDA promised Food Safety News to make its “honey expert” available to explain what that statement meant.  It never happened. Further, the federal food safety authorities refused offers to examine Bryant’s analysis and explain what it plans to do about the selling of honey it says is adulterated because of the removal of pollen, a key ingredient.

Major food safety standard-setting organizations such as the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, the European Union and the European Food Safety Authority say the intentional removal of pollen is dangerous because it eliminates the ability of consumers and law enforcement to determine the actual origin of the honey.

“The removal of pollen will make the determination of botanical and geographic origin of honey impossible and circumvents the ability to trace and identify the actual source of the honey,” says the European Union Directive on Honey.

The Codex commission’s Standard for Honey, which sets principles for the international trade in food, has ruled that “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign matter. . .”

 It even suggested what size mesh to use (not smaller than 0.2mm or 200 micron) to filter out unwanted debris — bits of wax and wood from the frames, and parts of bees — but retain 95 percent of all the pollen.

Food Safety News asked Bryant to analyze foreign honey packaged in Italy, Hungary, Greece, Tasmania and New Zealand to try to get a feeling for whether the Codex standards for pollen were being heeded overseas. The samples from every country but Greece were loaded with various types and amounts of pollen. Honey from Greece had none.

You’ll Never Know

sue bee

In many cases, consumers would have an easier time deciphering state secrets than pinning down where the honey they’re buying in groceries actually came from.

The majority of the honey that Bryant’s analysis found to have no pollen was packaged as store brands by outside companies but carried a label unique to the food chain. For example, Giant Eagle has a ValuTime label on some of its honey. In Target it’s called Market Pantry, Naturally Preferred  and others. Walmart uses Great Value and Safeway just says Safeway. Wegmans also uses its own name.

Who actually bottled these store brands is often a mystery.

A noteworthy exception is Golden Heritage of Hillsboro, Kan. The company either puts its name or decipherable initials on the back of store brands it fills.

“We’re never bashful about discussing the products we put out” said Wenger, the company’s quality director. “We want people to know who to contact if they have questions.”

The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.

For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

One of the customer service representatives said the contact address on two of the honeys being questioned was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is where Sioux Bee’s corporate office is located.

Jessica Carlson, a public relations person for Target, waved the proprietary banner and also refused to say whether it was Target management or the honey suppliers that wanted the source of the honey kept from the public.

Similar non-answers came from representatives of Safeway, Walmart and Giant Eagle.

The drugstores weren’t any more open with the sources of their house brands of honey. A Rite Aid representative said “if it’s not marked made in China, than it’s made in the United States.” She didn’t know who made it but said “I’ll ask someone.”

Rite Aid, Walgreen and CVS have yet to supply the information.

Only two smaller Pacific Northwest grocery chains – Haggen and Metropolitan Market – both selling honey without pollen, weren’t bashful about the source of their honey. Haggen said right off that its brand comes from Golden Heritage. Metropolitan Market said its honey – Western Family – is packed by Bee Maid Honey, a co-op of beekeepers from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Pollen? Who Cares?

Why should consumers care if their honey has had its pollen removed?

“Raw honey is thought to have many medicinal properties,” says Kathy Egan, dietitian at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.  ”Stomach ailments, anemia and allergies are just a few of the conditions that may be improved by consumption of unprocessed honey.”

But beyond pollen’s reported enzymes, antioxidants and well documented anti-allergenic benefits, a growing population of natural food advocates just don’t want their honey messed with.

There is enormous variety among honeys. They range in color from glass-clear to a dark mahogany and in consistency from watery to chunky to a crystallized solid. It’s the plants and flowers where the bees forage for nectar that will determine the significant difference in the taste, aroma and color of what the bees produce. It is the processing that controls the texture.

Food historians say that in the 1950s the typical grocery might have offered three or four different brands of honey.  Today, a fair-sized store will offer 40 to 50 different types, flavors and sources of honey out of the estimated 300 different honeys made in the U.S.. And with the attractiveness of natural food and the locavore movement, honey’s popularity is burgeoning. Unfortunately, with it comes the potential for fraud.

Concocting a sweet-tasting syrup out of cane, corn or beet sugar, rice syrup or any of more than a dozen sweetening agents is a great deal easier, quicker and far less expensive than dealing with the natural brew of bees.

However, even the most dedicated beekeeper can unknowingly put incorrect information on a honey jar’s label.

Bryant has examined nearly 2,000 samples of honey sent in by beekeepers, honey importers, and ag officials checking commercial brands off store shelves. Types include premium honey such as “buckwheat, tupelo, sage, orange blossom, and sourwood” produced in Florida, North Carolina, California, New York and Virginia and “fireweed” from Alaska.

“Almost all were incorrectly labeled based on their pollen and nectar contents,” he said.

Out of the 60 plus samples that Bryant tested for Food Safety News, the absolute most flavorful said “blackberry” on the label. When Bryant concluded his examination of the pollen in this sample he found clover and wildflowers clearly outnumbering a smattering of grains of blackberry pollen.

For the most part we are not talking about intentional fraud here. Contrary to their most fervent wishes, beekeepers can’t control where their bees actually forage any more than they can keep the tides from changing. They offer their best guess on the predominant foliage within flying distance of the hives.

“I think we need a truth in labeling law in the U.S. as they have in other countries,” Bryant added.

FDA Ignores Pleas

No one can say for sure why the FDA has ignored repeated pleas from Congress, beekeepers and the honey industry to develop a U.S. standard for identification for honey.

Nancy Gentry owns the small Cross Creek Honey Company in Interlachen, Fla., and she isn’t worried about the quality of the honey she sells.

“I harvest my own honey. We put the frames in an extractor, spin it out, strain it, and it goes into a jar. It’s honey the way bees intended,” Gentry said.

But the negative stories on the discovery of tainted and bogus honey raised her fears for the public’s perception of honey.

She spent months of studying what the rest of the world was doing to protect consumers from tainted honey and questioning beekeepers and industry on what was needed here. Gentry became the leading force in crafting language for Florida to develop the nation’s first standard for identification for honey.

In July 2009, Florida adopted the standard and placed its Division of Food Safety in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in charge of enforcing it.  It’s since been followed by California, Wisconsin and North Carolina and is somewhere in the state legislative or regulatory maze in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and others.

John Ambrose’s battle for a national definition goes back 36 years. He said the issue is of great importance to North Carolina because it has more beekeepers than any other state in the country.

He and others tried to convince FDA that a single national standard for honey to help prevent adulterated honey from being sold was needed. The agency promised him it would be on the books within two years.

“But that never happened,” said Ambrose, a professor and entomologist at North Carolina State University and apiculturist, or bee expert. North Carolina followed Florida’s lead and passed its own identification standards last year.

Ambrose, who was co-chair of the team that drafted the state beekeeper association’s honey standards says the language is very simple, ”Our standard says that nothing can be added or removed from the honey. So in other words, if somebody removes the pollen, or adds moisture or corn syrup or table sugar, that’s adulteration,” Ambrose told Food Safety News.

But still, he says he’s asked all the time how to ensure that you’re buying quality honey.  ”The fact is, unless you’re buying from a beekeeper, you’re at risk,” was his uncomfortably blunt reply.

Eric Silva, counsel for the American Honey Producers Association said the standard is a simple but essential tool in ensuring the quality and safety of honey consumed by millions of Americans each year.

“Without it, the FDA and their trade enforcement counterparts are severely limited in their ability to combat the flow of illicit and potentially dangerous honey into this country,” Silva told Food Safety News.

It’s not just beekeepers, consumers and the industry that FDA officials either ignore or slough off with comments that they’re too busy.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of more than 20 U.S. senators and members of Congress of both parties who have asked the FDA repeatedly to create a federal “pure honey” standard, similar to what the rest of the world has established.

They get the same answer that Ambrose got in 1975:  ”Any day now.”

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A FRESH LOOK AT EGGS

eggdiagram

The information below is reposted from the only Chef I follow online. Chef Todd Mohr. You can check out Chef Mohr’s web site at;   http://www.webcookingclasses.com   (you may have to copy and paste this)   JW

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Exquisitely simple, yet enormously complex, the egg is one of nature’s marvels. The real facts about eggs have been scrambled in recent years, as they’ve gotten a bad rap for being high in cholesterol and fat. This singular view has ignored the enormous benefit of fresh eggs to the human body and the entire culinary world.

Nature designed the egg as the food source for developing chicks. Eggs, in particular chicken eggs, are also an excellent food for humans because of their high protein content, low cost and ready availability.

The most nutritious eggs ARE the freshest, from your local farm. Nutrition declines with age in an egg that must be shipped across the state or the country. Often, eggs must be additionally treated for such a long journey, even if that means exposing them to unnatural treatment until purchased by you.

One of the stunning facts about eggs comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which has created a scale to measure the efficiency with which protein is used for growth in the human body. This is called a “Biological Value”.

Egg contains the highest quality food protein known. Based on essential amino acids it provides, egg protein is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition. On a scale with 100 representing the top efficiency, eggs are rated at 93.7 percent in protein efficiency.

Comparing protein efficiency breaks down like this;   Eggs = 93.7%      Milk = 88%    Fish = 76%

Beef = 74%   Soy and Rice protein were even less efficiently absorbed and used by the body.  Only breast milk rated higher than the egg!

One of the many beneficial elements in an egg is called Biotin, one of the B vitamins which play an important role in cell metabolism and the utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the human body. Biotin is present in egg yolk. An egg white omelet may have less fat, certainly has no flavor, but also omits this important B vitamin.

While eggs are widely known as breakfast entrees, they also perform in many other ways for the knowledgeable cook. Their cooking properties are so varied, that they have been called “the cement that holds the castle of cuisine together”.

When you know the true facts about eggs, you’ll realize that there is barely an area of the kitchen, for the professional or the home cook that eggs don’t touch.

Eggs can:
Bind – meatloaves, Lasagna, croquettes
Leaven – baked goods, soufflés, and sponge cakes
Thicken – as in custards and sauces
Emulsify – mayonnaise, salad dressings, hollandaise sauce
Coat or Glaze – cookies or breads
Clarify soups – to make consommé
Inhibit crystallization – in boiled candies and frostings
Garnish – chopped egg whites and/or yolks give a finishing touch.

Eggs are composed of three basic parts, the shell, the yolk and albumen. The shell is made of calcium carbonate, and prevents microbes from entering as well as moisture from escaping. It’s the casing that protects the egg during handling and transport. The color of the egg shell is determined by the breed of the hen and has no bearing on its nutritional value or flavor.

The egg yolk is the yellow portion of the egg which takes up only 1/3 of the egg’s mass, but accounts for ¾ of all the calories, minerals, vitamins, and all of the fat. The yolk contains lecithin, which is an emulsifier that enables us to make mayonnaise, dressings, and hollandaise sauce.

Albumen is the clear portion of the egg, often referred to as the egg white, taking up 2/3 of the eggs mass but none of the fat and only 16 calories. Whipped egg whites can hold twice their volume in air, and create a protein web that helps leaven baked products. There’d be no Angel Food Cake without whipped egg whites, among many other baked goods.

What about that pesky strand that always seems to cling to the shell when you’re trying to crack them? This is called the “Chalazae Chord”. It’s the thick, twisted strands of egg white that anchor the yolk in place, They are NOT embryos nor imperfections as many people believe, but the more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg.

I’ve gathered three types of eggs for today’s Great Egg Test. If you missed the last blog post, there’s still an opportunity for you to see the Farm Eggs Challenge from the Downtown Baltimore Farmers Market. (see you tube video at; http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eYz2z4UFbrw )

I’ve just returned from there after interviewing two egg providers. The first raises their hens in cages and feeds a corn and soybean meal. The second feeds a vegetarian diet and the chickens are raised in hen houses. Both treat their animals in the kindest, most humane fashion. Each explained how they give the birds twice the room required by law.

But, the egg test is not about passing judgment on the treatment of animals, that’s for another day. I’m concerned with the end-product. I want to know if a cage free egg is actually better than one from a hen that lives in a cage.

I’ll also bring in a third contestant, a plain white egg from the grocery store. I have no idea of its origin or how its mother lived. Since most people get their eggs from a display case and not the farmers market, I’ve chosen to bring in the mass-produced egg as a comparison.

The first event in my Egg-lympics is the spread test. After cracking each raw egg onto a plain white plate, I notice how it fills the surface. The more an egg spreads on the plate, the less fresh it is.

A truly fresh egg is measured by how high the yolk sits atop the white. Instantly, I notice a difference between both farmers market eggs and the grocery store one. The mass-produced egg spills like water onto the plate and rolls around as I pick it up to view. The yolk is spread almost flat and has a dull yellow color.

The egg that came from a caged hen being fed corn and soybean gave a much better display. The bright yellow yolk displayed a high arched dome sitting on the jiggly albumen. The egg still spread to the edges of the plate, but did not slide around like it was in water. It’s clearly a fresher egg than the grocery store version.

The third contestant is the cage-free bird that eats a vegetarian diet. This egg has the darkest yolk, more orange than yellow. The yolk perches on the egg white like it’s sitting on a throne, up straight and proud. It does spread more than the caged egg, but the yolk is stronger.

Event number two in this egg test is the frying test. As I put each egg into its own omelet pan, I notice immediate differences. The grocery store egg flattens as it cooks and the yolk becomes a cloudy yellow. The cage-free egg cooks nicely, the yellow yolk sinking a bit into the white that quickly dries out.

The winner of the cook test is the cage-free egg. Once cracked into the pan, it retains its original position, not spreading, now weeping. It looks like a picture of an egg in a magazine, with three tiers leading to the orange yolk. The white stays moist and shiny. It clearly looks the best cooked.

However, it’s really the flavor test that I’m most interest in and the grocery store egg is again last in the race. It tastes like water. The yolk is mealy and flavorless. While egg whites are not usually known for their flavor anyway, this one has LESS flavor than water.

There’s a clear difference in flavor between the mass-produced egg and both eggs from the farmers market. The local eggs both have a much more pronounced flavor. There’s an “earthy-ness” to both eggs that the factory egg just can’t match.

From this point, it’s really just a matter of your personal preference. For my palate, the cage-free vegetarian-fed egg had a creamier yolk, a moister white, and a more complex flavor that gave me a sense of the farm they were raised on. The eggs from caged hens was excellent also, just not as much complexity of flavor to my tastes.

So, who wins the Great Egg Test? You do!  Start buying local eggs from your farmers market. It will be your gateway into seeking out wholesome, fresh ingredients that benefit your community, your farmer, your earth, and your body as well. Buy local, buy fresh and you’ll always have the best ingredients.

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I hope this post clarifies some of the information about the egg for you. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation being presented as facts  out there by anti meat/egg groups just as there is a lot of purposeful misinformation about sugar, gluten and other evil ‘poster child’ of the day food.  Please, do your homework before deciding how and what you should eat.

Personally, I am not much a meat eater simply because I find it hard to eat an animal that is a social creature. (cares for their young, plays, teaches and has has social interaction with others within its species). I eat this way because for the present I have that choice. But, if it were a choice between survival and dying, no cow would be safe near me.

Having said that, I do eat fish, eat eggs, butter, milk and cream in cooking. My decision is personal, just as yours should be.  JW

Was Grandma ahead of her time ‘Greenwise’?

Grandma recycling her babies diapers

Wasteful old person  shown recycling her babies diapers

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained.

“We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

“Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then. We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. So… don’t tell anyone of our generation just how “green” you are because we beat you hands down when it came to being ‘green’!

100 years ago, ‘Heritage’ meant this…

Do you ever wonder how typical life was during the time that many of todays ‘Heritage recipes’ were derived from?

Below is a compilation of  humorous and sometimes eye opening facts of the American life 100 years ago.

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Fuel for a 1911 car was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars…

The population of Las Vegas , Nevada , was only 30!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.

It was determined that the San Fransisco earthquake was caused by the city using too much electricity. “An imbalance was created between the negative and positive charges within in the ether and earth”.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

The average work week consisted of a 6 day workweek at 50 hrs.

The typical home cooked on wood or coal burning stoves.

Kerosene began to replace whale oil in indoor oil lamps.

The deceased were still being ‘viewed with dignity’ at home in their own parlor.

Photographs of family members sitting alongside the ‘posed’ deceased in living rooms was common.

1 in 10 babies died before reaching the age of 1 year.

It would be another 40 years for American homes with indoor plumbing to reach 50%.

Penicillin had not been invented yet. Mercury was being used to cure STD’s. Bloodletting and leeches were commonly used to release bad blood.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home .

Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”

Many ‘Rural Doctors’ received their training under an ‘experienced’ Doctor who himself was self taught. Many an ‘experienced Doctor’s’ only education was that of attending a medical seminar in physiology and anatomy or being a ‘remover of limbs’ (Saw bones) during the Civil War.

The medical community debated whether women were capable of reaching sexual climax. It was determined by a medical consortium held in Chicago that the idea was ‘ludicrous’. “While we (Doctors) are convinced women can feel pain and pressure, there are no pleasure nerves located with the female vagina needed to produce a pleasurable climax. Only the penis is capable of that.”

Women were strongly encouraged by their doctors to have their vagina’s “medically stimulated” (hysterical paroxysm) by the latest electrical medical intravaginal vibrators in the treatment of Female Hysteria. These “medical devises” were used during  pelvic exams in the privacy of an office visit. Symptoms of Female Hysteria included, sexual desire, heavy breathing, uncontrolled whimpering, screaming, signs of  irritability and the tendency to ’cause trouble’. Note to readers; ( and then they charged her for the visit!)

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.

Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”

Ailments included of the day included, catarrh (sinus infections), consumption (tuberculosis) dropsy (edema or swelling) and grippe (a cold). Suppliers offered everything from balms to pennyroyal pills. Otto’s Cure and Paine’s Celery Compound were among the alleged cure-alls.

Consider the warning of Dr. J.K. Kellogg, which appeared front page on March 24. “We will all soon be idiots or insane” topped the article. The doctor made a plea for “vegetarianism,” saying that “feeding men with meat is like feeding a steam engine with coal made of stone.”

Kellogg suggested more healthy libations. “Many people today are habitually intoxicated on tea,” the article reported him saying. “There is more poison in a single cup of tea than an entire glass of beer.”  Note to reader; (I’ve been telling my wife that for years!)

He warned humans will sink into oblivion without reform. The number of degenerates, insane people, imbeciles and lunatics was increasing, according to the doctor. In 1849, there were 600 of these among 1.5 million people. In 1899, there were 1,800, he said.

Women could not vote for another 9 years.

There was no income tax.

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help …..

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE country!

It was the year the Philippines revolted against U.S. rule, so readers frequently found dispatches from Manila on the front page. America’s war with Spain was over, but Havana still was a hotbed for headlines. Yellow fever was in the South.

Helen Keller was setting bicycle records. On May 24, The Herald reported she traveled – in tandem – 28 miles without stopping. The trip took two hours and 34 minutes. “Ms. Keller persists in riding fast and is quite indignant when either a halt or a slow pace is called for,” the article stated.

Local education control over State control was considered paramount. As the paper reported, “the standard of intelligence in Washington County is probably unexcelled by any other community, the United States or World.”

This made front page news; “Kenney, aged about 23 years, who has been simple minded for some time, yesterday became violently insane on the street,” the article stated. Before Kenney could be “taken in hand,” he knocked another person down and threatened several lives.

In Washington County, the free library was only a proposal that prominent community leaders touted. Williamsport chose electric lights over street lamps in a March election. Residents cast 804 votes.

A plan to bring a baseball team to Hagerstown have excited residents there.

The first film ever made by a Hollywood studio was completed in the fall.

The famous French chef, Julia Child was born.

THANKFULLY, AT LEAST A FEW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!!

Wild animals in my home. (Not a recipe! these are my house buns! It’s near Easter, that’s all)

Well, it’s been a spell since I added a new western short story or even a recipe to my blog. I’ve watched the hits dwindle to a trickle. That’s fine, I never wrote anything to bump up my numbers. I know that’s how it’s done ’cause the blog folks all tell me I gotta post often or I’l be left behind. I never did get an answer as to exactly what would happen if my numbers slipped really bad. Maybe they’d kick me off for usin’ up precious ether world internet space, I don’t rightly know.

Anyway, I was pondering on all this when an idea floated across my brain an’ got stuck somewhere’s between my frontal lobe an’ my modulla obligotta (or some other noteworthy misspelled section of my brain). I conked myself upside the head an’ the idea fell from my brain onto my tongue and I said to myself outloud, “Huh! Looks like a lot of folks like puttin’ they’s animals on their post.” Then I thought of my own wild beast.

Now I ain’t no girly man. No offense intended to no one. I’ve come to figure a lot of writers is politically correct to a fault but I wasn’t brought up that way, so go ahead an’ take offense but I didn’t mean nothin’ more than I’m a big guy. Certain things is expected of folks my size. Like, if me an’ my friends was attacked by a Grizzly bear, it’d be up to me to turn him into that nights meal… bare handed while tending to things in the outhouse at the same time. You get the idea. No need to go any further.

So what kind of wild beast roam around in my home? Snarling Pit Bulls? Wild Razorback Boars? No Sir! Them critters ain’t nothin compared to the ornery wild eyed beast I have pacing back an’ forth lookin’ for a constant meal. I’m talkin’ things that go thump in the night here! Beast that chew up things most other animals just stare at. I’m talkin’ about the dreaded lagomorph…                                         You got it…Bunny Rabbits!

Now here’s a photo of Sir Benjamin (Ben Ben for short) I adopted him when I was a volunteer at the Humane Society here.

Like all my Bunnies, they are all spayed or neutered. They also are what are called ‘house rabbits’ as they have complete freedom to roam wherever they want in the house 24/7. They also are litter box trained. Actually, that’s a misnomer since they don’t need any training at all. Just put a plastic bin filled partway with bunny litter (I use Yesterdays News pellets or pine, never cedar chips as that can kill them) and they take to it right off. If you have more than one in the house you’ll find that the matriarch bunny will scold the others until they too know what a litter box is for.

Ben gets along well with critters of any sort, no matter how much they swipe at him every time he passes.

Then there’s Queen Elizabeth. She rules the household! No bun gets out of line without her scolding at them. She’s an English Lop who’s papers actually do go back to the Royal Family over there in Merry Old England.  She loves boxes and chewing on pine cones.

Little guy (Scooter for short) is Lizzy’s soul mate. They are a bonded pair. Lizzy doesn’t mind that her man is 1/4 th the size of her since she rules over him anyway. He groomes her and makes sure her royal coat is free of snarls.

Little Guy (Scooter) loves his little stuffed bunny and his bed! (both shown here)

This is Scooty’s favorite place to nap…under Lizzy’s ear. He’ll crawl up to her and tug at her ear until it covers him like a blanket.

Then there are the Girls Daisy and Buttercup. They now have a brand new home in West Virginia at a friends Bunny Sanctuary. They were to be euthanized but I rescued them and my friend took them in. They love their box. Being caught in the wild, they are a bit more skittish but a few dried cherries bring them out to play…and eat!

Here’s a couple pics of Lizzy and Scooter doing what they do best.


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So there! These are the wild animals I have to deal with back at my spread! I am going to add one more picture here. I know some are squeamish but I got to show you just how viscous these beast can be…A vivid reminder never, ever take a nap with your shoes off or you’ll pay a horrible price. Ya got to remember these are wild beast an’ need to be treated like they is!

I was warned, I just didn’t listen!