How to tell if the food you buy is fresh

 

In a country where over 60% of the population is obese or overweight, we have experienced an increased concern about the daily diet in the past few years. More and more people are inclined to change their lifestyles and decide to lose weight not only to gain more self-confidence but also to improve their health and to live longer.

Unfortunately, fresh and organic food is not always the cheapest option and, for those who were used to semi-prepared meals or fast food, picking fresh ingredients could prove a difficult task. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to tell if the foods and the ingredients you’re buying are fresh, so here are some easy-to-follow tips.

 

Check the labels

The first thing you need to do is always check the label of the food you are buying. Look for the expiration date and never choose products that are close to their expiration date unless you are cooking them right away. If you don’t think you’re going to need the product you’re about to buy soon afterward, it would be best to skip it from your grocery list until the next time.

Labels don’t only tell you the exact expiration date of foods but also all the ingredients contained in that food. Look for preservatives and check them online to see how bad they actually are. Some of the food preservatives are carcinogenic or known to trigger allergic reactions so you should stay away from them.

You should look for products with no preservatives as often as you can. These foods are healthier and fresher since they don’t last more than a couple of days or weeks.

 

Check the smell and the texture

This tip mainly applies to fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds or any other wholesale foods you might be interested in buying. However, keep in mind that greener doesn’t automatically mean fresher but mainly unmellowed.

If you’re going to the farmer’s market or in regular supermarkets and wish to choose fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds, you shouldn’t be ashamed of touching and smelling each item. Anything that looks or smells unfamiliar could be a sign that the product is not fresh enough. Don’t be afraid to spend a few more minutes carefully analyzing the merchandise if you want to make sure you pick the freshest ingredients. For instance, cucumbers, potatoes, onions or peppers should be as firm as possible, while avocados, tomatoes or fruits should be softer.

 

Don’t be afraid of imperfections

The biggest misconception about food in the American households is that fruits and veggies should look perfectly sized and shaped in order to be fresh and appealing. However, this is mainly the sign of injected and artificial products.

Natural and organic fruits and vegetables come in all sizes and shapes and could have minor bruises or spots on them.

 

Read More →

3 of the most delicious dishes you can prepare out of the pike you’ve caught

 

 

Even though in some cultures and countries, pike is a less popular fish to eat, I personally find great pleasure in preparing some dishes out of it. That’s why I came up with the idea of writing an article about the three most common recipes I currently use when preparing pike.

Cooking pike the right way isn’t particularly difficult in spite of the fact that I have noticed that some of my friends used different methods. One of my personal favorites is creating a pickle out of the pike that I have caught. While to some, this idea might seem somewhat unappealing, it really is a tasty fish and the neat thing about this cooking method is that the bones tend to get softer, which is why you won’t be forced to pick them out all of the time. In some respects, pickled pike is like pickled herring, although I’ve seen that there are several variations on the same theme.

For my pickled pike recipe, I use salt, water, cider or white vinegar, mustard seeds, about one third of a cup of sugar, allspice, peppercorns, bay, some onion and the peel of one lemon. I start by making the brine, which basically means is that, depending on the amount of pike I have available, I’ll boil some water with the salt so that it dissolves evenly. Once the salt has dissolved, I add the vinegar or the cider, the spices and the bay leaves, and simmer them for several minutes. I then leave the pike pieces in the brine overnight. It’s like making jam, in a way, because the next morning, you’ll have to take that pine out of the fridge, put it in jars and pour the vinegar solution on top. While you can consume the pickled pike after just one day, I like it once a week has gone by. So, all you have to do is seal those jars and wait for all the magic to happen.

The last two recipes I’d like to talk about are simple, which is why anyone can prepare them, whether they’re experienced or not. Either you roast the pike in the oven or prepare it in a pan. You can add everything you want, but I prefer using some butter, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Something that I would like to add is that I usually avoid feeding my kids pike because it’s too complicated to handle and they have little to no patience when it comes to picking the bones.

The BBC website, as well as many others, have various categories that go into great detail with regard to preparing pike, in general. There’s even a thread on a Jamie Oliver forum about the same topic. All you need to do is do a bit of research on your own, provided that you’re keen on eating the pike that you have caught.

Read More →

My favorite lures for catching pike

 

 

When the sky shows the stars aligned just right, we get the feeding window for pike opened. At that perfect time, the pike will definitely hit any moving object in the water. It won’t even matter which bait you use. The best fishing lures for pike include the following:

The Heddon Rattlin Spook Fishing Lures produce sounds that imitate fleeing baitfish in a panic. Darting and zigzagging like confused pike prey, the lure features a revolutionary sound chamber where all the attractive noise to a pike is generated. The sound chamber encases 10 tungsten Buzzbaits or BBs. This cutting-edge device comes with a sharp Mustad Triple Grip treble hook that ensures solid hook setting. The BBs amplify and intensify the sound. The special sound chamber enables easy production of smooth and easy walk-the-dog retrieves.

 

The ultra-tough BOOYAH® Pikee™ Spinnerbait is precisely geared to target muskies and northern pike. Equipped with amazing durability via the super-strong Vibra-FLX .45 wire, this spinnerbait can withstand the punishment of being taken inside a mouth filled with sharp teeth. The lovely 84-strand Silo-Tek skirt provides an amazing level of undulating action as the spinnerbait moves through the water current. The jeweler-grade plated double willow blades work nicely with the Silo-Tek skirt and Vibra-FLX wire to create plenty of enticing clattering movement and vibration that will have the pike biting in no time. This spinnerbait is designed to fight right out of the box thanks to the 12-inch steel leader.

The Blue Fox Vibrax Super Bou comes equipped with free-turning brass gear that also generates sonic rattles and vibration while rubbing against the bell. The thin, high-vibrating blades serve as a signal to entice the pike to bite. The Marabou hackle and Flash Bou fibers work together to move with undulating action to make this bait move realistically. The small sleek design comes with one hook rigging for effortless delivery over shallow cover. The larger profile body of the two-treble hook size mimics midseason mature bait to excite the fish into a feeding frenzy. This spinner operates at 2 to 6 feet deep thanks to the inline blade design. The through-wire boasts stainless steel construction as well as top quality VMC® hooks for lasting use.

The Mepps® Double Blade Aglia® spinners work amazingly well with Penn Battle spinning reel + an Ugly Stick like this one and are designed perfectly for trophy northern pike as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass and early season muskie. Engineered to deliver additional fash via the dual blades, this lure offers increased color intensity in the spinning dual blades even if they are of contrasting or identical hues. A unique sound is generated through the twin blades that also create greater vibration compared to just a single blade. This also ensures more buoyancy for easy fishing over weeds and other challenging water structural elements.

 

 

Read More →