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ABC MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

SEPTEMBER 2018

Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.  

This month's topics are:   

ORIENTAL RUGS

                              Afshar Oriental Rugs

HEALTH CONCERNS

Freezing Foods Safely

The 5 Second Rule!

SPECIAL FOR SEPTEMBER

If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at 

607-272-1566 

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FOLLOW UP TO ONE TREE PLANTED.ORG...

Thank you to all our customers who responded with overwhelming positive feedback!  

We are so excited to announce we will be involved in supporting the work of this important charitable organization beginning on October 1, 2018!

We will take the month of September 2018 to set everything up and your October newsletter will have more information.

In the meantime, please feel free to browse their website at One Tree Planted.org.

 AFSHAR ORIENTAL RUGS

LOCATION

Afshar Oriental rugs are woven by nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in south central Iran. They produce rugs, tapestries, and saddle bags. 

The Afshar nomads and those settled in villages in and around the cities of Shiraz, Kerman, and Yazd continue to speak the well-preserved Turkish dialect of their ancestors.

HISTORY 

Afshar nomads were a very prevalent Persian tribal group for centuries and could be found in many regions within the borders of Persia.

These groups were a part of the Ohguz Turkmen Confederation consisting of 24 other tribes who came to Persia and Turkey by way of Iran.

Weaving has always been a major artistic outlet as well as a commercial base for these people and it is an art still passed on from one generation to the next.

The antique Afshar oriental rugs are very similar to the antique Caucasian Shirvan rugs and can be collectable. 

CONSTRUCTION OF AFSHAR ORIENTAL RUGS 

FOUNDATION

The warps (up and down cords) and wefts (side to side cords) which make up the foundation can be cotton or wool with a depressed warp.

(Depressed warps occur when the wefts are pulled tightly from either side rather than put in with minimal tension. This will displace the warps into 2 levels).

Afshar rugs from the Kerman area especially, as well as most of the new Afshar rugs, are usually constructed on a cotton foundation. They can be more stiff than those on a wool foundation.

KNOT

The knot is the Turkish or symmetrical knot, but occasionally the Persian or asymmetrical knot can be found as used by weavers of Afshar rugs from the Kerman area.  

PILE

The pile is wool which varies from coarse to medium with a short pile. 

ENDS

The older Afshar rugs have a wide kilim (flat woven area) on the ends, often with additional decorative stitching. Newer rugs usually have plain fringe at both ends. 

SIDES  

The sides of Afshar rugs typically exhibit a single cord barber pole or a single color overcasting or multiple bands of color. Occasionally, double-corded sides can be found.   

COLORS

Common colors are bold hues such as deep reds and rich violets, dark blues, saffron gold, ivory, burnt orange, and sienna.  

SIZES

The Afshar rugs are usually woven in sizes approximately 5x7 or smaller due to their origins as rugs from nomadic tribes with smaller looms. They can also take on a squarish shape. Occasionally, larger sizes can be found.  

DESIGN OF AFSHAR ORIENTAL RUGS

To learn more about Afshar oriental rugs complete with photos, please continue reading here.


FREEZING FOODS SAFELY   

Freezing foods safely is a priority for all of us. Foods we typically freeze regularly like meat, certain vegetables, ice cream, etc., are obvious, but there are many other common foods that can be frozen as well, some you may not be aware of.  

If we have knowledge of the proper procedures for freezing foods safely, we can extend the useful life of many foods before they spoil. We can also stock up on certain foods when they go on sale. Food waste can be kept to a minimum, saving both time and money.  

Since September is National Food Safety Month, we have put together a list that can be safely frozen, for how long, and how to thaw and use them safely.     

SUPPLIES TO HAVE ON HAND FOR FREEZING FOODS SAFELY  

  • Freezer bags and/or freezer-safe containers.
  • Ice cube trays.
  • Markers.

GENERAL TIMES   FOR FREEZING FOODS SAFELY   (COMMON ITEMS):

  • Cooked poultry - 4 months
  • Uncooked poultry parts - 9 months
  • Uncooked whole poultry - 12 months
  • Cooked meat - 2 to 3 months
  • Uncooked roasts - 4 to 12 months
  • Uncooked steaks or chops - 4 to 12 months
  • Baked Goods:                  
  1. Bagels-3 month                     
  2. Baquettes-3 weeks                      
  3. Biscotti-6 months                      
  4. Bread-Bakery Loaf-3 weeks                      
  5. Bread-Sandwich Loaf-3 months                      
  6. Brownies-3 months    

GENERAL RULES FOR THAWING SAFELY AFTER FREEZING FOODS SAFELY   

  • Do not refreeze most meats, dairy, and some veggies after thawing.
  • Always cool down cooked foods before freezing.The addition of hot foods to the freezer can dangerously lower the temperature of surrounding food in the freezer.
  • Wrap foods properly to avoid freezer burn.
  • Freezing retards bacterial growth but it does not kill bacteria so make sure the food is still good before storing.
  • Always use resealable freezer bags or freezer-safe plastic containers and label them with the date of storage.

A LIST OF FOODS YOU CAN SAFELY FREEZE and   HOW TO BE SURE YOU ARE FREEZING FOODS SAFELY:  

AVOCADOS

How to Freeze: There are a couple of methods for freezing avocados:  

If you are going to freeze avocados in halves, cut the avocados in half lengthwise by rotating a knife around each avocado. Once halved, separate the avocado halves by placing a hand on each half and rotating, twisting your hands in opposite directions. Then remove the pit. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze it over the avocado halves so the exposed fruit flesh is coated with lemon juice. Place 5 or 6 halves in each one gallon freezer bag and freeze.    

If using avocados for guacamole, wash and cut the avocado in half before peeling and freezing. Cover the cut up avocado fruit with lemon juice and mash and mix thoroughly with a fork. You can also puree the avocado with lemon or lime juice and freeze in a freezer bag or airtight container.    

How Long: They can be stored for up to 8 months.  

How to Thaw: Thaw the avocado halves slowly to slow down the ripening and help to preserve the texture and color. This will take them longer to thaw but the results will be better. You can also place the frozen containers in cold water to defrost.  

Caveat: The texture of avocados will change after freezing. A tip for keeping guacamole from going brown in the fridge: Store it in a bag or container with enough water to cover and put back into the fridge. Drain when ready to use and stir.  

BROTH

Freezing leftover broth from cans or homemade soup saves time and money.  

How to Freeze: Freeze the broth in ice trays. When frozen, transfer the cubes into freezer bags. Remove most of the air from the bags but leave a little bit of room for the liquid to expand. Lie the bags flat so they can be stacked but wait 3 to 4 hours until solidly frozen before stacking.  

How Long: 6 months to a year.  

How to Thaw: Thaw by placing the bags in a sauce pan over low heat to melt the cubes.  

Caveat: Freeze in small portions, one or two cups per bag to use in recipes. It is not safe to thaw and then refreeze broth.  

BUTTER

Butter is an excellent example of a food that can be stocked up on and frozen for future use.  

How to Freeze: Keep it in its original wrapping, place it inside an airtight container or wrap it in foil for freezing.  

How Long: Butter can be kept for months in the freezer and can be safely used in cooking and baking.  

How to Thaw: Thaw the butter in the refrigerator overnight before using it.  

Caveat: Do not refreeze butter and use the thawed butter from the freezer as soon as possible.  

CHEESE

Soft and hard cheese will freeze differently and must be frozen separately.  

How to Freeze: Store both inside original packaging and then wrap them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Hard cheese can also be grated and put into freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.  

How Long: Soft cheese will stay good for 1 month. Hard cheese can last for six months in the freezer but no longer.  

How to Thaw: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  

Caveat: Plan to use the thawed cheese within 2 to 3 days. The texture may be compromised but the defrosted cheese is safe for use in cooking.  

CHIPS (POTATO and TORTILLA) and PRETZEL SNACKS

If you have room in the freezer, these items will freeze safely and will never freeze solid.  

How to Freeze: Put the unopened or tightly closed open bags directly in the freezer.  

How Long: 1 year.  

How to Thaw: They will defrost quickly but can be eaten straight out of the freezer as well. They will taste cold and fresh!  

Caveat: Make sure there is enough room so nothing heavy will fall on the bags or boxes.  

You can also freeze crackers such as saltines, snack, and graham crackers, but be aware moisture can get in and spoil them. Keep them in smaller size bags to avoid opening and closing the same bags.  

CITRUS SLICES-FRESH

Don't let those lemons or limes you cut up to use in drinks or as garnishes go to waste!  

How to Freeze: Remove as many seeds as possible and place each on a piece of wax paper with a piece of wax paper in between each piece or spread out onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper and freeze for at least 2 hours before placing them into a freezer bag.  

How Long: 4 to 6 months.  

How to Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator.  

Caveat: You can also freeze whole lemons and limes but the freezing will break down the outer walls and they may become mushy, making them useless for garnishes.  

COOKIES

Freezing cookies makes it possible to make a huge batch ahead of the holidays and you then can store any uneaten baked cookies for future use as well.   

How to Freeze: Wrap cookies tightly in plastic and then in aluminum foil before putting them in an airtight container.  

How Long: Cookies can last about a month in the freezer.  

How to Thaw: Thaw at room temperature.  

Caveat: As with anything cooked or baked, make sure they are cooled before freezing.  

CORN ON THE COB

You can freeze corn on the cob but the preparation will be different for farm fresh corn on the cob vs. store bought corn on the cob.  

How to Freeze: Farm fresh corn on the cob can be placed directly into freezer bags without removing the husk. First remove the outer husk layer and the tassel, though. 

If the corn is store-bought, it must be husked and blanched before freezing. Blanching involves boiling the veggies briefly for 2 to 5 minutes and then submerging in ice water to stop the cooking. Blanching helps to preserve their color and texture.    

You can also remove the corn from the cob and freeze in bags.  

How Long: 2 months.  

How to Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator.  

Caveat: Storing whole corn in the freezer takes up a lot of space but being able to skip blanching is convenient. Keep in mind the longer the whole corn cob is stored in the freezer, the greater the chance it will start to lose texture and get mushy.  

CREAM CHEESE

Cream cheese is another food item we don't usually use up quickly enough.  

How to Freeze: Freeze cream cheese in its original packaging (if foil) or wrap tightly in aluminum foil.  

How Long: Up to 3 months.  

How to Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 days.  

Caveat: Cream cheese will change in consistency after it's been frozen so only use for baking and cooking after freezing. The flavor may also be compromised. Use promptly. Never leave cream cheese at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Should mold appear, discard the entire package.  

DOUGH

Cookie, pizza, and bread and pie crust dough can be prepared ahead of time and safely frozen.  

How to Freeze: Especially for cookie dough, place directly into a freezer bag or scoop onto a cooking sheet and freeze in individual portions before placing in a freezer bag.  

How Long: Most dough can last 6 months to a year if stored properly.  

How to Thaw: Thaw at room temperature and then refrigerate. 

Caveat: As with anything cooked or baked, make sure they are cool before freezing.  

EGGS WITHOUT THE SHELLS

Eggs often go on sale so freezing is a good option. However, you can only freeze eggs if they are not in their shells.  

How to Freeze: Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix them up a bit before freezing. Pour them into ice cream trays and freeze, a single egg to each cube. Then remove the cubes to freezer bags. You can also freeze egg whites and yolks separately.  

How Long: Up to 6 months.  

How to Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator.  

Caveat: Keep refrigerated and use promptly after defrosting.  

FLOUR

Storing flour in the freezer, especially whole wheat flour because of its fat content, will extend its shelf-life almost indefinitely. Flour can also be kept for up to 2 years in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  

How to Freeze: Because of those pesky bugs that can hatch in your flour, get the flour out of its original packaging and into an airtight container before freezing. The bugs will be killed off after 48 hours of freezing.  

How Long: Indefinitely. Actually, bakers typically keep their flour in the freezer. It will stay fresher longer and makes tastier baked goods as well.  

How to Thaw: Thaw and store in the refrigerator before using.  

Caveat: Moisture changes could cause self-rising flour to lose some of its effectiveness if frozen and then thawed. If you let cold flour from the freezer sit at room temperature, moisture from the air may also accumulate. Open container, take out what is needed and return as soon as possible to the freezer.


Please continue reading here for many more foods you can safely freeze...


THE 5 SECOND RULE and FOOD SAFETY

The 5 second rule! You know, the one we use when we furtively pick up that piece of cookie we just dropped before anyone sees us. And, if anyone does see us, we gleefully shout out, "5 second rule!"  

After all, how could scooping up a fallen piece of food in 5 seconds or less actually compromise the safety of eating that delicious little morsel?  

Is it just an urban legend? Is there any truth to it? Or should we avoid eating any food that has fallen to the floor or onto any surface?  

DOES EVERYONE DO THIS?

It may be surprising to know a very high percentage of individuals will definitely admit to retrieving a fallen piece of food as quickly as possible and eating it.    

This is especially true if no one is watching! And that includes men as well as women.

HAVE THERE BEEN ANY SCIENTIFIC STUDIES DONE?

Believe it or not, some scientific studies have been done on this subject! However, the results of the studies are mixed and the jury is still out. Here are some general findings:

  • It does matter what the surface is. Of the 3 most common flooring surfaces--carpet, tile, and laminate--bacterial transfer appears to be least on carpeted surfaces. Of course, if the general environment is kept reasonably clean indoors, it is less likely serious bacterial transfer will take place.
  • It does matter if the fallen food is moist or dry. Bacterial transfer appears to be much faster with moist food than with dry food so it would seem the more quickly moist food is retrieved, the less bacterial transfer will take place. But--is less of a transfer worth the possible risk?
  • 5 (seconds) may be too high of an estimate. Actually, after a piece of fallen food hits the floor, it can actually take 3 seconds or less for bacteria to transfer to the food.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON BACTERIA THAT CAN BE TRANSFERRED?

  1. Staphylococcus aureus
  2. Escherichia coli or E. Coli

Ingestion of either or both can have possible serious consequences on our digestive systems, especially for someone with a compromised immune system.  

WHY DO PEOPLE  CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE 5 SECOND RULE?    

There are actually many possible reasons to account for this behavior. Please continue reading here.


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