Weekly food for thought, with items on preserving dairy products, Narragansett's new Oktoberfest beer,  "Sweets: A History of Candy," and more.

Do you know how to keep dairy safe? Don’t let your dairy products mold, spoil or sour. Here are some preserving tips to keep in mind before your next trip to the grocery store:

Buying Pick up milk and dairy products toward the end of your shopping trip to reduce the amount of time they are out of refrigeration. Check the "sell-by" date on all dairy products. Storing Store dairy products in a refrigerator set below 40 degrees. Never store milk in the refrigerator door –– the milk is susceptible to warmer air when the door opens and closes. Remove mold from hard cheese by cutting a one-inch square around it; the rest is safe to eat. Discard entire package of soft or shredded cheese if mold is present. Shelf life Discard all milk after the container has been opened one week, regardless of the "sell-by" date. Eat yogurt within seven to 10 days after buying it. Hard cheese like Cheddar, Gouda, Edam and Swiss can last for three to four weeks. It is OK to freeze hard cheese, but texture and taste may suffer. Ice cream can last two to four months.

-- www.eatright.org

Easy recipe: (End of) Summer Salad

2 to 3 ears of corn

2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1 to 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch corn in boiling water for 2 minutes. Immediately put cobs in bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Cut kernels from the cobs and put into a bowl with the diced tomatoes. Put chopped onion in a cup of warm water for 2 minutes, then drain and add to corn-tomato mixture. Drizzle with vinegar and stir gently. Season to taste. Serve the same day it’s made.

-- The Repository

Did You Know?

Food items that were introduced to the public at the World Colombian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893 included Cracker Jack, Juicy Fruit gum, Quaker Oats, Cream of Wheat and Shredded Wheat.

In addition, caramel maker Milton Hershey purchased a chocolate-making apparatus that he had seen a German company use and began making the bars that would become Hershey’s most notable confection.

-- “The People’s Chronology” by James Trager

Would You Buy It: Honest Tea Organic Peach White Tea

PRODUCT: Honest Tea Organic Peach White Tea

DETAILS: Honest Tea makes organic bottled teas that are “just a tad sweet” and have fewer than 80 calories for a 16.9-ounce bottle.

CLAIMS: The company is environmentally friendly and socially responsible; the beverages are fair-trade certified.

MORE INFORMATION: www.honesttea.com or 800-865-4736

AVAILABILITY: At retailers nationwide, including CVS.

COMMENTS: Although I like Honest Tea in general, I didn’t care for the Peach White Tea. I thought it was too sweet and didn’t have a fresh peach flavor. “Smells flowery.” “There’s something thick in the liquid. Is it pulp?” “I’d rather brew my own.”

WOULD YOU BUY IT: Honest Tea? Yes. The Peach White Tea flavor? No.

-- The Repository

Food Quiz

What crop listed below would not have been raised and eaten by early cultivating Indians of North America?
A. Corn
B. Beans
C. Squash
D. Tomatoes

-- www.funtrivia.com

Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word:  Malic acid

This is a natural acid found in sour apples and other fruits. In winemaking, when certain bacteria convert malic acid to lactic acid (which is much less strong and sour), a process called malolactic fermentation occurs. This reduces the wine's tartness, adds complexity to the flavor and can add a slight sparkle. Malic acid is used as an acidulant and as a flavoring agent in the processing of some foods.

-- www.epicurious.com

Number to Know

23 billion: Since 1912, when Cracker Jack started to put prizes in each caramel corn box, the brand has distributed more than 23 billion toys.

-- CrackerJack.com

The Dish On …

“Sweets: A History of Candy” by Tim Richardson

Richardson, who has both candy makers and dentists in his ancestry, traces mankind’s sweet tooth back to the caveman days. He tells the story of sugary snacks up to present-day, with interesting trivia sprinkled throughout the book.

-- Amazon.com

From the Beer Nut’s Blog: Narragansett’s new 'Fest beer

I’ve been a supporter of Narragansett since they made a comeback a few years back – the beers are good for what they’re trying to be. So, I was really looking forward to trying Narragansett’s new fest beer, an Oktoberfest-style lager.

The beer looks like a traditional Oktoberfest. It’s easy to drink, but maybe a tad too sweet and a little too light. Overall, it’s a pretty decent beer. It’s not a top-tier Oktoberfest, but certainly not the worst. And I just love the fact that they are available in a 16-ounce tall boy.

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/

Food Quiz Answer

D. Tomato

GateHouse News Service