Welcome once again for another week's round-up of eco-foodie news, tips, links & recipes. Each week I glean tasty bits from the various blogs & sites I follow outside of the Kos-verse and bring them together here for your perusal. If you have a good tasty bit to share let us know about it in the comments!
And this week's "What is this? features an imprint of our 1st President George Washington! Ooh, he's making a rather sour face, don't you think?
Europe Braces for Serious Crop Losses and Blackouts
One of the driest spring seasons on record in northern Europe has sucked soils dry and sharply reduced river levels to the point that governments are starting to fear crop losses and France, in particular, is bracing for blackouts as its river-cooled nuclear power plants may be forced to shut down.
Ocean Acidification Hits Northwest Oyster Farms
Mark Wiegardt and Sue Cudd have each dedicated about 30 years of their lives to bringing oysters to our tables. Now the two have found themselves in the forefront of one of the newest, most pressing environmental issues of our time: ocean acidification. [. . .]
The scientists went to work and learned that something was making the oceans too acidic and preventing the oyster larvae from growing shells. No shells means certain death.
When winds blew the ocean's deep carbon-rich waters onto the surface, hatcheries up and down the Northwest Pacific Coast began to suffer the same fate as Whiskey Creek.
Is Lousiana Seafood Safe?
Sam Slavich, a fourth generation oysterman, saw his yield of oysters cut in half as a result of the oil spill. Fifty percent is a common figure of loss among oyster operations in the area, both large and small, but it's not all directly linked to the spill.
When the spill occurred, the state required all oysterbeds to be flushed with freshwater, which killed the oysters growing in beds on the ocean floor. (Oystermen lease these from the state; they don't directly own the water where their oysters grow.)
Though some oystermen have been paid by both BP and the state, the claims process is a complicated system that doesn't always address the needs of every business impacted by the spill. Slavich confirmed that he has received some compensation from BP, but not nearly enough to make up for the loss of his oyster beds and the drop in consumer demand.
Do we need to use peat?
Having developed over thousands of years where acidic or anaerobic conditions prevent plants and fungi from decaying completely, all but six per cent of our lowland peat has been removed in just a few short decades, yet each year we are digging up 106 million cubic feet of what’s left for use in horticulture (Defra, 2010).
Surprisingly it is domestic gardeners, you and I, who are driving this. We consume two thirds of it, mostly in the form of multi-purpose compost. As a result, important landscapes, habitats and archaeological sites are being destroyed and more than 630,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere each year, the equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions of more than 300,000 cars (RSPB, 2011).
Plenty More Fish in the Sea?
It's hard to imagine the damage over-fishing is wrecking on the oceans. The effects are literally invisible, hidden deep in the ocean. But there is data out there. And when you visualise it, the results are shocking.
This image shows the biomass of popularly-eaten fish in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1900 and in 2000. Popularly eaten fish include: bluefin tuna, cod, haddock, hake, halibut, herring, mackerel, pollock, salmon, sea trout, striped bass, sturgeon, turbot. Many of which are now vulnerable or endangered.
Oceans in distress foreshadow mass extinction
I want to acknowledge that there have been at least two rec-listed diaries recently which have covered this topic but I think it's something that bears repeating (if not shouting from the rooftops!).
All five mass extinctions of life on the planet, reaching back more than 500 million years, were preceded by many of the same conditions now afflicted the ocean environment, they said.
"The results are shocking," said Alex Rogers, an Oxford professor who heads IPSO and co-authored the report. "We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime."
Three main drivers are sickening the global marine environment, and all are a direct consequence of humans activity: global warming, acidification and a dwindling level oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia.
Up to now, these and other impacts have been studied mainly in isolation. Only recently have scientists began to understand how these forces interact.
"We have underestimated the overall risks, and that the whole of marine degradation is greater than the sum of its parts," Rogers said. "That degradation is now happening at a faster rate than predicted."
Higher food commodity prices here to stay (h/t to Patric Juillet)
The report predicts that, in real terms, agricultural commodity prices are likely to remain on a higher plateau during the next ten years compared to the previous decade, adding that prolonged periods of high prices could make the achievement of global food security goals more difficult and put poor consumers at a high risk of malnutrition.
Roundup Birth Defects:Regulators Knew
WASHINGTON -- Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.
Random USDA Testing Finds 34 Unapproved Pesticides on Cilantro
The Chicago Tribune reports that when the USDA randomly tested a batch of cilantro for the first time in its 20 year program, it found 34 unapproved pesticides.
According to the story:
Azoxystrobin and captan are legal for use on potatoes but were found 16 times at levels that exceeded federal limits, the most such detections in this round of testing. Next on the list for excessive amounts of legal pesticides were imported asparagus and domestic spinach.
Olive Oil Could Save You From a Stroke
Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes cooking will tell you that olive oil is wonderfully delicious and deserves a place in every kitchen. But it also might just save your life. In a recent French study of people over the age of 65, those who regularly used olive oil had a remarkably lower rate of stroke.
Home & Garden
Should I Buy Whole Grain Pasta?
You probably already know that I health-heartedly support the regular consumption of whole grains. But I also hold that there is a huge difference between intact grains and processed whole grains. So yes, brown rice is better for you than white rice, but pasta is different.
Noodles are made of dough and are therefore processed no matter what. For this reason they will never be a pinnacle of health food, but that does not mean that there can’t be a place for them in your diet. Italians eat pasta almost every day, and most of them are healthier than us. The important thing to think about when you are eating pasta–any pasta–is quantity.
Continue Eating Out Without Breaking the Bank
What Not To Buy in Bulk
Best Conventional Produce 15 Low-Pesticide Choices
Making Berries Last
Glorious Groundcover Ideas for Your Garden
I would add to their list Corsican Mint and Roman Chamomile as both release wonderful aromas when tread on and you can use them for medicinal/culinary purposes!
Attract Beneficial Insects: 5 Flowers for the Vegetable Garden
Herds for Hire: Rent Goats to Manage Invasive Weeds
DIY: Glowing Outdoor Orbs
DIY: Sunburst Mirror Made with Wood Shims
DIY: Tripod Camping Stool
ReadyMade 100 Project Manual
ReadyMade magazine has sadly folded but this book rounds up 100 projects that were judged to be the best as submitted by readers.
4 Great Sangria Recipes for Summer Entertaining
Frisee Salad with Roasted Blood Orange Hazelnut and Feta
Warm Squid Salad
Apple, Almond and Smoked Mozzarella Farro Salad
Panko Crusted Spinach Dip
Savory Tomato Scones
Tabbouleh This is a refreshing, herbaceous recipe from David Lebovitz that will be a nice surprise if all you've ever had is the kind you make from a box!
How to Make Butterflake Rolls If You're Not Martha Stewart
1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, 49 Bucks
Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream Cake (Shh, it's vegan)
Rhubarb Orange Vanilla Jam
How to make pink fuzzy slipper cookies
Ok, I admit, I just had to include this one because they are absolutely adorable! And made with Nutter Butters which I love!
Blueberry Overload Coffee Cake
Well that is the week's plateful of Tasty Bits! Thanks for stopping by!