An infographic illustrating beef marbling. Selecting the right USDA grade of beef for your dish will help guarantee culinary success. Click to see a larger version.
Grilling season is upon us. It’s time to enjoy that wonderful smell of meat cooking across neighborhood backyards. With so many choices available at your store and meat counter, choosing the best cut of meat for your dish can be overwhelming. With a bit of beef knowledge, you can avoid that problem, and be the king or queen of the barbeque.
We’ve covered the basics of USDA beef grades, explaining the difference between USDA Prime, Choice or Select. This time around, we’re going to look at the marbling – or fine threads of fat – within different grades of meat. Marbling is what gives beef its flavor, juiciness and tenderness. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) employs 200 highly-skilled beef graders who, sometimes with the help of electronic monitoring, evaluate several factors that determine the grade, including the amount and distribution of marbling. Read more »
Get the Scoop on Eggs: a guide to USDA egg grades, labels, and common terms. Click to see a larger version.
The holiday season is a busy time of year for bakers and chefs. From egg nog and cookie exchanges to fruit cakes and meringue pies, increased baking and gift-giving means you’ll need to know just what to look for when you buy one of your key ingredients…eggs. When shopping for eggs, consumers should look for the USDA Grade shield, for the ultimate assurance of quality. For best results for pastries and baked goods, pay attention to the freshness of your eggs.
USDA grading of shell eggs is a voluntary service paid for by shell egg producers. Eggs sold to consumers must be labeled with a grade. Eggs that are not labeled with a USDA Grade Shield have not been officially graded by USDA standards. Only eggs meeting strict USDA standards are allowed to be marketed with the USDA Grade Shield on the package. Egg packers who do not use the USDA grading service may put terms such as “Grade AA” or “Grade A” on their cartons, but they may not use the USDA Grade Shield. Read more »
An infographic exploring the traditional Thanksgiving meal, brought to you by the American Farmer. Click to see a larger version.
Thanksgiving is a time when Americans come together to celebrate a holiday that connects each and every one of us. During this truly American holiday, we all give thanks for the previous year’s blessings and look ahead to the future. While we may bring our own traditions and flavors to the table, Thanksgiving is a time for all of us to celebrate our country’s rich history.
It has always been a special holiday to me, but this past year I developed an even greater appreciation for all that goes in to producing the Thanksgiving meal. As Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), I spent the last six months visiting with American farmers and learning about their businesses. In my conversations with American farmers and ranchers, I am always impressed by their work ethic, ingenuity, and dedication to making sure their customers get the best products. It’s no wonder that our nation’s farmers were responsible for producing nearly 7.5 trillion pounds of turkey in 2012—nearly half the world’s supply!—and are leaders when it comes to many other foods regularly featured in Thanksgiving meals. In 2012, American farmers also produced 3.1 billion pounds of sweet corn and nearly 2.7 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.
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MyPlate Holiday Makeover: Green Mashed Potatoes
The MyPlate Team continues to share “Makeover Monday” recipes each week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page through January 6th.
This recipe was originally created for another festive day. But everyone loved “green-mash” potatoes so much that this family favorite became part of our Thanksgiving Feast.
Since my family has an Irish ancestry, we first started making this Green-Mash Potatoes Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Green peas add a slightly sweet flavor, and the garlic and pepper gives it some zip. The white pepper is optional, especially if serving to little kids. A sprinkle of Kosher salt on top brings out the flavors, yet the sodium is much lower than traditional mashed potatoes. And also, kids think the chartreuse-green color is fun! Read more »
MyPlate Holiday Makeover. Click to Enlarge.
We all cherish time-honored holiday traditions; yet want to make healthier choices when celebrating the holiday season. Simple swaps or ingredient substitutions are a great way to revamp classic favorites – making them healthier without sacrificing the memories.
The MyPlate Holiday Makeover infographic provides ideas to help you make great choices. From baking to seasoning, this new resource can show you an easier way to make your meals healthier. Choose recipes that include unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Boost the flavor of foods with spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cumin, or thyme and cut back the sugar and salt. Brighten up your meals with fruits and vegetables and go easy on the sauces, gravies, and cream. Read more »
A Classic Holiday Favorite: Sarah’s Green Bean Casserole
The holiday season has finally arrived! It’s time to find your favorite family recipes and start cooking! While many of our favorite dishes help us to remember and celebrate special times, choosing healthier options can be a challenge. Let MyPlate help you find solutions with “MyPlate Holiday Makeovers.” During our eight-week series, you’ll find ways to celebrate the season with great new resources such as recipes, a new infographic, and tips for preparing your holiday feast. Read more »