Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry-Infused Beer? Say Cheers!


Jake Makely in the strawberry fields at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County.

A desire to connect local growers with producers was the driving force behind Jake Makely’s (SEBS ’16) idea to combine two of New Jersey’s favorite warm weather delights, strawberries and beer.

Makely, an agriculture and food systems major, has been a student intern in Applied Analysis of Successful Agricultural Enterprises since February 2014, which has provided him with first-hand experience in working with the Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry (RSS) at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County. The internship, run by Professor and Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik, truly allows students to pursue their individual aspirations in the “field.”

A series of blind RSS taste-tests were conducted at SEBS professor Beverly Tepper’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory (SEL) on George H. Cook Campus. Makely, along with other students in the program, picked and cut up pounds of the RSS for the taste tests and delivered them to the lab. Participants were able to comment on the sweetness, acidity, overall flavor, firmness and aroma of four varieties of the strawberry, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

The wheels in Makely’s head started spinning when he received an email from his second job at Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, about a new device coming to the brewery. The brewery was going to begin using a Randall, which is a double-chamber filter that can be connected to a tap of beer and filled with flavor-enhancing ingredients.

“I kept talking to my co-workers at the Carton Brewing Company about the idea of using Rutgers Scarlet Strawberries in the Randall, but people didn’t take it as seriously as I wanted them to. Then I spoke to Bill (Hlubik) and he was excited about it – and I knew it was a great idea,” said Makely.

“The students in my class are incredible and I genuinely value their feedback. I encourage them to keep a notebook handy while in the field to note trends in crops,” said Hlubik. [Read more…]

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Society Formed to Tap Nutritional Payload

The Spanish HQ’d Oleocanthal International Society (OIS) is comprised of scientists, nutririonists and players in the sector and research will look into the brain health and inflammation. It has been set up as a non-profit organization… Other EVOO phenolic compounds like oleaceina will also be studied by the group that was formed in Greece in May… A founding committee has been established consisting of Prokopios Magiatis, professor of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Athens; Maureen O’Leary, PhD, of the Monell Center in Philadelphia; and Dr. Jose Amerigo, president of the Oleocanthal Society of Andalusia (OSA), who instigated the project… Other members include professor Gary Beauchamp, also of the Monell Center, professor Paul Breslin, from Rutgers University in New Jersey and professor Eleni Meillu, from the University of Athens.

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5 Things Everyone Should Know About Washing Food

Everybody eats, and no one wants to eat something that could make you sick. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how and whether you should wash your food… Food safety is an important issue. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year one in six people in the United States will get sick because of food-borne illness. And risks can be increased or decreased at every point between the farm and your fork. Yes, you want to make sure to cook your food to the appropriate temperature, but here are some other tips to help you make good decisions in the kitchen… "Any time you’re going to eat fresh produce you should rinse it off, if for no other reason than to rinse off dirt," said Don Schaffner, a food safety researcher at Rutgers. "And rinsing off produce may offer some risk reduction in terms of microbial pathogens."

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What’s in Season from the Garden State: Summer Picnic Foods Should Not Be Brown and White

FmMkt_HildPk_17It’s summertime in Jersey and the landscape bursts into a symphony of color: greenery, flowers, blue skies and water, beach umbrellas, fireworks. And then you go to a picnic or barbeque. All of a sudden the tableau turns to a drab brown and white: Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Buns. Potato salad. Cole slaw. Cola. Lemon-lime soda. Brownies. Ho hum. That would be fine fixings in America’s heartland, where wheat and cattle and corn for high fructose corn syrup are grown, but this is New Jersey – the Garden State. We can improve on that. Let’s do a picnic makeover Jersey-style.

We asked Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty for some suggestions for turning up the color on a Jersey picnic/barbeque. Here’s what they suggest: [Read more…]

Some Like It Sweet, Others Not So Much: It’s Partly in the Genes

A new study from Monell and the QIMRBerghofer Research Institute suggests that a single set of genes affects a person’s perception of sweet taste, regardless of whether the sweetener is a natural sugar or a non-caloric sugar substitute… "Eating too much sugar is often seen as a personal weakness. However, our work suggests that part of what determines our perception of sweetness is inborn in our genetic makeup," said study author Danielle Reed, PhD, a behavioral geneticist at Monell. "Just as people born with a poor sense of hearing may need to turn up the volume to hear the radio, people born with weak sweet taste may need an extra teaspoon of sugar in their coffee to get the same sweet punch."… Also contributing to the research were Paul Breslin of Monell and Rutgers University, and Gu Zhu, Nicholas Martin, and Margaret Wright of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

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