Rutgers professor develops ‘superfood’ lettuce

Blueberries are considered the gold standard of "superfoods" because of their high levels of polyphenols, beneficial compounds shown to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. However, this seasonal fruit, often priced at a premium, is high in sugar content, requiring limited consumption by people on restrictive diets…A new superfood that’s low in sugar and available year-round and exceeds the high polyphenol content of blueberries hits the market this month. This high-polyphenol lettuce has been named Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) – a tribute to Rutgers’ school mascot and color, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and is the brainchild of Rutgers Distinguished Professor in Plant Biology Ilya Raskin.

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Some foods really don’t belong in the refrigerator, experts say

Distinguished scholar, microbiologist and Rutgers University professor Dr. Don Schaffner would like to impart some personal wisdom upon the general public in an effort to educate those who might benefit from his insight: He eats his peanut butter at room temperature only. "I personally just don’t like cold peanut butter, so I keep it out of the refrigerator," Schaffner said. And he’s not just talking Skippy, or Jif. He means natural peanut butter, without any preservatives. While other food safety experts, in an abundance of caution, might say he’s living dangerously, you know what, says the renowned food scientist and unabashed peanut butter lover? It ain’t gonna kill ya.

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The Hot Pepper Potential: Rutgers Ag Research Aims for Alternative Markets in New Jersey and the Region

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

It’s hard to be neutral about hot peppers. People often run, pardon the pun, hot or cold when it comes to these spicy meal additions. Those with “seasoned” taste buds may ply their dishes with daring degrees of spiciness, while others who fear the burn decline to indulge. But hot peppers offer more than a spicy bite to meals and present some other uses that can turn up the heat on its market potential. [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Set Up Shop in the Garden State, Birthplace of M&Ms, Campbell Soup…and Bon Jovi

Commercial food production in progress at Food Innovation Center North, Piscataway, NJ

Commercial food production in progress at Food Innovation Center- North, located in Piscataway, NJ.

The birthplace of Allen Ginsberg, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey is also home to food industry giants like Campbell Soup, Goya Foods and Unilever USA. But is the Garden State doing what it takes to attract the next generation of food and beverage businesses? FoodNavigator-USA joined reporters for a whistle-stop tour led by Choose New Jersey to find out. (Editor’s Note: Check out items 3, 5 & 9 for Rutgers’ contribution.) Read more in FoodNavigator-USA.

What’s in Season from the Garden State: Farm to Fork Food Waste? It Depends on Your Perspective

What happens to the farm produce that doesn't make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by "gleaning" the produce left in the field.

What happens to the farm produce that doesn’t make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by “gleaning” the produce left in the field.

By Rick VanVranken, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County

August “Augie” Wuillermin, co-owner/operator with his brother, Ed Jr., of Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton, NJ, turned in disgust and grumbled, “Some days I just have to stay out [of the packing house] when the peppers come in this way. It’s sickening. Seems like such a waste!”

Is waste an opportunity lost?

Economists talk about ‘opportunity cost’, loosely defined as the value of something that must be given up in order to do something else. Every resource has alternative uses, so every choice has opportunity cost(s).

Waste comes into play when the investment of time, energy and labor does not create the intended outcome and the alternatives do little to cover those costs. Hence, from grower to consumer, technologies and practices are employed to reduce potential losses as much as possible. Sorting machines fine tune the sizing and separating of defective produce. Packaging engineers design containers that maximize air flow to allow efficient cooling while maintaining strength to protect the fragile contents during storage and shipping. [Read more...]