Understanding core health and wellness topics are an important aspect of your family's overall well-being. From food safety to nutrition to chronic disease prevention and management, Illinois Extension is committed to helping families across the state and beyond live the best versions of their lives. Find the Nutrition & Wellness Team throughout the state!
Featured Websites & Current Events
Learn to Can, Freeze, Ferment, and Dry Garden Produce with a Free Webinar Series: June 3rd-July 22nd
Feeding My Baby: From Cradle to Table
Selling Food from the Kitchen at the Farmers Market
Canning, Freezing, and Drying Food from the Garden
Do you need your pressure canner lid tested?
Home canning is a great way to preserve a variety of food! Dial pressure canner gauges need to be tested once a year. Over time, a dial gauge’s calibration can become inaccurate and show an incorrect pressure. If the pressure is even slightly lower than recommended, the internal temperature of the food will not be high enough to kill all the bacteria, and harmful toxins can build up and cause illness or death. Find the closest University of Illinois Extension office to get your dial gauge tested.
June 3 | Canning Foods
What is the difference between pressure canning and water bath canning? What equipment do I need? What recipes are safe to use? This webinar answers these questions, along with up-to-date information on canning. Whether you are new to canning or have been doing it for years and want a refresher, all are welcome to join! Register Here
June 10 | Freezing Foods
Freezing foods at home is simple and require equipment you likely already have in your kitchen. For the best quality frozen fruits and vegetables, it is not enough to simply add foods to your freezer. In this webinar, learn which foods do freeze well, why blanching improves frozen food quality, the process of freezing at home, and more. Register Here
June 17 | Fermenting Foods
Fermentation is growing in popularity as a way to create foods and drinks with probiotic properties for healthy gut microbes and as a method of home food preservation. In this webinar, learn the fundamentals and benefits of Lacto-fermentation; learn how to safely ferment at home, and gain the confidence to get started right away! Fermentation is an easy and economical way to preserve your food with added health benefits. Register Here
June 24 | Drying Foods
Dried foods make tasty, compact snacks. From jerky to dried fruit, dehydrating at home is easy to do. In this webinar, learn about up-to-date drying methods and equipment, ways to test for sufficient drying, and ways to use dried foods in recipes. Register Here
July 1 | Making Jams & Jellies
Make a sweet spread, such as jams and jellies, at home with your favorite berries and other fruits. Though sweet spreads are a popular home canned item, it is important to follow up-to-date canning processes and use appropriate equipment. Join in this webinar to learn step-by-step how to can jams and jellies at home, as well as troubleshooting challenges that may arise, such as unset jellies. Register Here
July 8 | Pickling Foods
Pickling is an ancient form of food preservation that involves the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. Join us as we share information on basic pickling methods using the latest scientific methods to ensure food safety. Register Here
July 15 | Preserving Apples
Apples are ripening in Illinois orchards. Learn about the varieties of apples along with preservation methods. We will discuss juicing, freezing, canning, and dehydrating apples. All this information will include the most current science-based preservation methods and highlight food safety. Join us and learn to preserve this delicious seasonal fruit with confidence. Register Here
July 22 | Processing Tomatoes
Do you expect an abundance of tomatoes in your garden, but you aren’t sure what to do with them? Whether canning, freezing or drying, it’s important to follow up-to-date methods. You’ll learn all about canning salsa, the variety of ways to water bath or pressure can tomatoes, dehydrating this luscious fruit, and how to freeze for best results! Register Here
Keep up with the Nutrition and Wellness Extension team as we provide current evidence and research-based nutrition and food safety information. Follow us on our journey to not only eating well, but living a healthy lifestyle!
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Around the Table
Stop by our table on Instagram @family.finances.food for practical, research-based information for your family from University of Illinois Family and Consumer Science Extension Educators.
Around the Table also has a Facebook page! Sit around our table with University of Illinois Extension educators as we share our best tips for raising kids, eating healthier, and spending smart.
Chronic Disease and Nutrition
- Diabetes Life Lines: Learn ideas for living with diabetes through proper diet and exercise.
- Know Who to Trust for Reliable Information: Find out how to identify trustworthy sources for important health and wellness information. Spanish Version.
- Keeping Nourished When Ill: Learn about what to eat and how to stay hydrated when feeling sick.
- Feeding My Baby-From Cradle to Table: Feeding My Baby is designed to help you make informed decisions as your baby transitions from cradle to table.
- Fiesta de Sabores: Esta es una colección de recetas Hispanas recomendadas para gente con diabetes.
- HOT Project: Healthy Outcomes for Teens: The HOT Project is a website for middle school students to increase their knowledge about obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
- Osteoporosis Facts & Recipes: The Surgeon General estimates that by 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will have weak bones unless changes are made to diet and lifestyle. This website provides facts and recipes for anyone who has osteoporosis.
Food Safety At Home
- How to Safely Receive, Store, and Reheat Carryout Meals: This fact sheet reviews how to receive, store, and reheat takeout, carryout, or pick up meals with food safety in mind.
- Understanding Food Package Dates: Do you keep it or throw it out? : A helpful fact sheet for understanding the difference in sell by, use by, pack, quality assurance, and expiration dates on foods. Spanish version.
- How to Build an Emergency Food Supply: When preparing an emergency food supply use this fact sheet to help reduce stress and ensure you and your family have access to safe and healthful foods
- How to Make Your Own Bleach Sanitizer: A how-to guide for making bleach at home. Use this bleach sanitizer to clean surfaces such as tables, counters, floors, doorknobs, toilets, showers, faucets, and sinks. Spanish Version.
- Steps for Freezing Food: Learn step-by-step how to freeze food for the best quality, get answers to what should and should not be frozen, and how to thaw safely in a fact sheet.
- What can I Freeze?: This helpful fact sheet explains how long to keep foods frozen for best quality.
- Is My Meat Safe to Eat? Foodborne illness is a serious issue. 1 in 6 Americans are hospitalized each year from foodborne disease. This website provides food safety education and is also available en Español.
- Using the Microwave Safely: Learn about how to safely use the microwave, what containers should go in the microwave, prevent fires, defrosting food, and getting the best results!
Food Safety At Work During COVID-19
- Food Banks-Best Practices: This fact sheet reviews communications and protocol for employees, volunteers, and customers at food banks. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Food Banks-Receiving Food and Cleaning: Use this fact sheet to answer questions about accepting food, how cleaning and disinfecting should be handled in food banks, and cleaning food packaging. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Grocery Stores-General Questions and Employee Health: This fact sheet answers common food safety questions and employee health for grocery stores. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Grocery Stores-Cleaning and Disinfecting: Use this fact sheet to answer questions about accepting food, how cleaning and disinfecting should be handled in grocery stores, and cleaning food packaging. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Grocery Stores-Receiving and Food Packaging: Learn if food packaging needs to be cleaned, recommended cleaning and disinfectants, and accepting food from other states and countries. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Food Service and Retail-Cleaning and Disinfecting: Get answers about what disinfectants to use, self-service area cleaning, surface cleaning, and guest health. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Food Service and Retail-General Questions and Employee Health: This fact sheet answers common food safety questions and employee health for food service. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
- Food Service and Retail-Receiving and Food Packaging: Learn if food packaging needs to be cleaned, recommended cleaning and disinfectants, changes in the supply chain, and accepting food from other states and countries. Produced in collaboration with NC State Extension.
Meal Prep and Recipe Resources
- What's Cooking? With Mary Liz Wright: These helpful videos are all under four minutes and go through recipes, washing produce, canning, freezing, drying, using appliances, and additional kitchen tips.
- Eat.Move.Save: Learn how to make healthier choices on a budget.
- Recipe Substitutions: Find out how to substitute for common ingredients rather than having to make another trip to the grocery store.
- Cooking with Children: Read about ways to involve children of all ages in the kitchen.
- Cooking for One or Two: Use this fact sheet to help learn how to cut recipes down for one or two people, shopping tips, quick meals, maximizing meals, and saving money.
- Creative Ways to Use Leftovers: Read suggestions for turning one meal into two or more! This fact sheet also discusses how to store, thaw safely, and reheat leftovers.
- One Container Meals: Get some tips and healthy suggestions for creating quick and easy one pot or pan meals.
- Shopping to Save: Helpful tips for grocery shopping on a budget.
Food through the Seasons
- Apples & More: Visit Apples & More to learn about U-pick apple orchards, apple nutrition, varieties & selection, and fun activities for children.
- Pumpkins & More: You can learn about U-pick pumpkin farms, pumpkin nutrition, varieties & selection, and fun activities for children.
- Raspberries & More: Learn about varieties & selection, how to plant, and where to find nurseries and U-pick farms.
- Strawberries & More: Your guide to growing strawberries, u-pick strawberry farms, strawberry nutrition, and selection & care
- Turkey for the Holidays: Need help with your holiday turkey? Get all the answers here—cooking techniques, leftover ideas, turkey facts, and much more.
Interactive Youth Food and Nutrition
- Food Fun from Apples to Zucchini: A website to introduce elementary students to 37 different kinds of produce -- many they may not know. (Intended for elementary students)
- Fresh From the World...Where Your Food Comes From? This site looks at 15 different popular foods and explores their histories and origins to help kids understand that their food comes from all over the world. (Intended for 4th-5th grade students)
Additional Food Safety and Nutrition Resources
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully and make better food choices.
- Food Safety For Consumers: Foodsafety.gov provides information on the latest recalls, food safety tips, information on food storage, cooking temperatures, how to handle food during natural disasters, and other helpful information to prevent foodborne illness.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: The National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation.
30 Days of Food Rescue: Social Media Campaign
Health at Home Series
Food Rescue at Home: Reducing Food Waste and Reusing Leftovers (Recording)
Reducing food waste is a shared responsibility. Learn what you can do to reduce food waste at home, save money, and protect the environment.
Emotional Eating: Understanding How Stress Impacts Hunger and Appetite (Recording)
Increase your awareness of how emotions and stress affect eating habits, increase your ability to identify emotional triggers leading to emotional eating, and learn effective practices to reach your wellness goals.
The Science Behind Popular Eating Trends (Recording)
Join us to explore these eating styles and learn the pros and cons of current diet trends. Plus, explore the eating plans which are evidence-based such as Mediterranean, DASH, and the USDA MyPlate.
Every Step Counts: Getting the Most Out of Activity Trackers (Recording)
Every step counts! Activity trackers give you an accurate count for steps, heart rate, and sleep. They are also fun; they get you off the couch and moving!
Take Your Kitchen Appliances Out for a Spin (Recording)
Did you get an electric pressure cooker as a gift and not sure what to do with it? We will share tips and tricks, recipes, and food safety information, all to make your life easier, and your meal plans varied!
Diabetes: Practicing Self-care During Difficult Times (Recording Coming Soon)
Managing stress during difficult times is challenging for everyone; however, if you or a loved one has
diabetes, it is even more important to be intentional about managing stress.
Cooking For One (Recording Coming Soon)
Single-person households are on the rise and forecast to grow over the next 15 years! Cooking for one can be creative and rewarding with or without leftovers. Indulge, choose what you like to cook, and get the good smells going in your kitchen! Join us and learn some new ways to plan, shop, prepare, and enjoy meals on the smaller side.
Food Safety and Nutrition Research & News
News from Educators in the Field