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Cleveland County Kitchen – Did You Know?

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Cleveland County Kitchen – Did You Know?

Written by: Nancy Abasiekong
Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
N.C. Cooperative Extension, Cleveland County Center

August 2020 CCK – Green Beans

Did You Know?

Green beans
  • Green bean, string bean, snap bean – they’re all the same!
  • Green beans are tasty, low in calories, and provide many valuable nutrients!
  • Green beans grow in summer and early fall.
  • Green beans are so tender we eat the whole pod, along with the little beans inside.
  • Green beans are crunchy and make great dippers. Try them with your favorite low-fat dip or salad dressing.

September 2020 CCK – Okra

Did You Know?


  • Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a warm-season crop that belongs to the mallow family, which includes hibiscus and cotton.
  • Okra is considered a vegetable, but is botanically a fruit. It is known for its characteristic sticky center that can become gooey when cooked.
  • Okra comes in two colors – red and green, which taste the same. Red okra turns green when cooked. Select young, tender pods that are 2-4 inches long.
  • Okra is a nutritious vegetable that contains vitamins K, C, and A, folate, and 3 other B vitamins, and the minerals: magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It is also a good source of fiber and has some protein.
  • Okra is thought to have originated from South Asia or western Africa and Ethiopia.
  • Okra is known as “gumbo” or “lady’s fingers” in various parts of the world.
  • Okra was mentioned by Thomas Jefferson and was grown in the vegetable gardens at Monticello.
  • Okra is versatile and can be eaten raw, roasted, sautéed, fried, steamed, and as a thickener in gumbo.

October 2020 CCK – Herbs

drying herbs

Did You Know… Herbs

  • Herbs are plants that are grown for their medicinal, aromatic, and/or seasoning uses.
  • Herbs have been used by all cultures since before recorded history.
  • Herbs are used to add flavor, aroma, and color to foods and beverages.
  • Herbs should be harvested just prior to blooming, which is when the essential oils are at their peak.
  • Herbs should be harvested early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day.
  • Herbs and spices can sometimes replace or reduce salt and sugar in foods.
  • Drying is the traditional method for preserving herbs. Herbs can also be frozen.
  • Dried herbs store well for up to one year.
  • Herbs can be used fresh and dried. For most herbs, 3 teaspoons fresh = 1 teaspoon dried
  • Chives, a perennial herb, is the smallest member of the onion family.
  • Chives have showy lavender flowers that are edible and often used in salads.
  • Many herbs can be used in potpourris and sachets.

CCK – November 2020 / Turkey – Deep Fried Turkey

Did You Know these Facts About Turkey and Safe Turkey Frying?checking roast turkey temperature with a meat thermometer

  • Poultry, which includes turkey, is the #1 Agricultural Industry in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina is ranked #2 Nationally in Total Turkey Production.
  • The turkey industry produces more than 5.3 billion pounds of turkey products each year.
  • According to the NC Poultry Federation, Americans consume approximately 17 pounds of turkey per person each year.
  • Turkey is a nutritious and lean protein that can be enjoyed in many delicious ways.
  • When preparing turkey – remember the 3 Ts:

Thawing (safest way to thaw is in the refrigerator),

Thermometer (cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F), and

Timing – store leftovers within 2 hours and use within 3-4 days. Freeze for longer storage.

  • When deep frying a turkey, select a cooking container large enough to fit the turkey and avoid any overflow of oil.
  • Place the fryer on a level, flat surface to prevent tipping over.
  • Only deep fry a completely thawed and dried-off turkey to prevent any moisture from reacting with hot oil.
  • For safety, set up turkey frying at least 10 feet from your home, other structures, cars, pets, and children.
  • Never leave the turkey unattended while cooking.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a grease fire.

CCK – December 2020 / Pork

Did You Know these Facts About Pork?Hog

  • Swine were among the first animals to be domesticated — around 6,000 years ago. The Chinese were the first to raise wild pigs for food.
  • Bacon is one of the oldest processed meats in history. The Chinese began salting pork bellies as early as 1500 BC.
  • The Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto brought the first swine to the New World in 1539.
  • Female swine are called sows. Sows give birth to litters of pigs twice a year. Each litter usually has eight to 12 baby pigs. Giving birth to baby pigs is called farrowing.
  • Baby pigs appear very greedy when they are competing for food from their mothers. For this reason, the words “pig” and “hog” have come to be associated with greedy behavior.
  • The average fat and cholesterol content of trimmed, lean pork is 31% lower today than it was 20 years ago.
  • Pork today is very lean and shouldn’t be overcooked. Cook pork roasts, tenderloins, and chops to an internal temperature of 145°F, followed by a three-minute rest time. Like all ground meat, ground pork, should be cooked to 160°.
  • In addition to protein, pork is an excellent source of zinc, vitamins B12 and B5, thiamine, and iron.
  • Pork is the most widely-eaten meat in the world (36%), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, followed by poultry (33%), beef (24%), and goats/sheep (5%).
  • Pork is a very versatile meat — it can be marinated, dry rubbed, roasted, microwaved, grilled, skewered, pan-fried, stir-fried, boiled, barbecued, and baked.
  • Pork can be included on a heart-healthy diet with eight cuts considered lean or extra lean by USDA.
  • In 2018, North Carolina ranked in the top 5 pork-producing states in the US coming in at #4 – $1.46 billion.

CCK – January 2021 / Longhorn Beef

Did You Know these Facts About Longhorn Beef?

The following facts about Longhorn Beef are based on a 1989 report from Texas A&M: Nutritional Facts

  • Longhorn beef is one of the healthiest meat choices available to consumers today.
  • It is lower in total fat and saturated fat than most other cuts of beef.
  • It is lower in calories and cholesterol than chicken.
  • Longhorn beef is tender and tastes great.
  • Longhorn beef is “naturally lean” which means it has less marbling than regular beef.
  • Longhorn beef, like other red meats, offers many nutrients, including: protein, iron, and vitamin B12.
  • Because it has a lower fat content, longhorn beef cooks quickly. Be careful not to overcook.
  • Longhorn beef has limited shrinkage, which means the beginning and finished sizes are about the same (raw to cooked).
  • Use a meat thermometer to give better results for doneness.