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Pumpkin Spice Latte sauce now at Starbucks

Much of the United States is still experiencing sweltering temperatures, but that isn’t stopping Starbucks from preparing for the fall onslaught of Pumpkin Spice Latte orders that are right around the corner. According to several posts from Starbucks employees on Reddit’s r/Starbucks board, the coffee giant has started to send shipments of the sauce used in making the iconic fall beverage to stores around the country. On Friday, one user posted a giant jug of the pumpkin flavored sauce and captioned it, “It’s coming. God help us all.” Others questioned how it can be PSL time already when Halloween is still weeks away. But not all coffee drinkers feel the same. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has a die-hard fan-base who wish away the weeks of summer, so they can pull out their sweaters and head to the nearest Starbucks for an whipped-cream topped pumpkin dream. While you may be getting excited for your favorite fall tradition,…

California drought sends avocado prices soaring

Guacamole and avocado toast are about to cost you a lot more green. Between an intense heat wave, summer drought and heavy winter rains, California, the nation’s leading avocado producer, has suffered a significant shortfall of fruits this year. Forecasts expect production to plunge as much as 46% to 215 million pounds, down from 401 million pounds in 2016. “We lost fruit that would have have sized up to be this year’s crop,”  Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, a trade group for avocado growers, told the Los Angeles Times. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of an avocado jumped to $1.25 last week — up from $1.14 last year at the same time and just 94 cents at the start of summer 2016. Mexico, the leading international avocado supplier to the U.S., suffered similar weather this year and is able to send fewer boxes across the border, adding…

This one dietary change could help America reach greenhouse-gas emission goals

For many Americans, the idea of giving up meat is unfathomable or even alien. What’s the 4th of July without a hamburger? But a new analysis of beef consumption in the States shows that our carnivorous habit is holding us back from reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Conducted by a team of scientists from Oregon State University, the study states that if more people switched to a plant-based diet, America could still come close to meeting the greenhouse gas goals set by former President Barack Obama in 2009 — even in the face of current president Donald Trump backing the nation out of the Paris Climate Accord. If every American were to replace the beef in their diets with beans — even while continuing to eat chicken, pork and dairy products — the country could reach 46 to 74 percent of the previously set 2020 target. This is true even without any changes to the current energy infrastructure…

America’s most horribly unhealthy chain restaurant meals announced by watchdog group

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a national nutritional watchdog group, just released their annual list of the most shamefully caloric items on menus across American chain restaurants. Titled the Xtreme Eating Awards, the list aims to inform Americans of the amount of calories, cholesterol, fats, sodium and sugars they consume when eating out. Top honors went to The Cheesecake Factory — no stranger to lists of culinary shockers. It’s Pasta Napoletana took the “Worst Adapted Pasta” award for its 2,310 calories and 79 grams of saturated fat and shocking 4,370 milligrams of sodium — a full three days worth of the daily recommended salt intake. The dish was the brain child of Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at TCF who asked in a Facebook Live video in March, “How can we turn a meat lover’s pizza into a pasta?” Moore and TCF might have been successful in their…

This is the dirtiest object in your home

If you’re curious what is the leading culprit in harboring bacteria in your home, you’re about to be grossed out. It’s not your shoes, your purse, or even the toilet. It’s an object you actually claim to use for cleaning — the kitchen sponge. A new study published in Scientific Reports found that the kitchen sponge, given its constant contact with water and food particles, is a good place for bacteria to grow. The results may be unsurprising, but the amount of bacteria is where we might underestimate the situation. Sponges showed a density of 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter — about equivalent to the number of bacteria in human feces. Yikes. “Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria…

Study finds a few alcoholic beverages could actually boost your memory

Social drinkers probably wouldn’t consider memory recall one of the benefits to their Friday night habit, but a new study shows that a few drinks may actually strengthen your ability to learn new information. Researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a study by giving 88 participants a word-learning task. Participants were then divided at random into two groups. One group was told to drink as much as they want, while the other was told not to drink at all. The next day, participants were asked to complete the same task. Surprisingly, those who had drank alcohol did better when remembering what they learned the previous day. “The theory is that the hippocampus – the brain area really important in memory – switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory,” said Professor Celia Morgan of Exeter. The researchers stressed that this limited positive effect should be taken in stride…

Experts say this is the best way to load silverware in a dishwasher

At some point it’s likely that you’ve opened a dishwasher to find your spouse or roommate loaded or rearranged it in a way you felt very strongly about. Chances are, how you load a dishwasher is nearly ingrained in you at this point, and whether grounded in truth or not, you have ideas about how the task is done most efficiently. This includes the decision to load silverware handle side up or handle side down. An ongoing poll on Houzz shows that people are split nearly 50/50 on the debate. The handle-side-up argument states that knives and forks can cause serious injuries to the person who will be unloading the machine. The handle-side-down camp insists that cutlery doesn’t get nearly as clean when it’s hidden in the basket, and also that handle side pointing down allows for less silverware overall to fit in each load. So which is the correct way? TipHero looked at various…

Fruit flavored beer on the rise in North America

If you’re a fan of hoppy, bitter beers, hold on to your IPAs — the next trend in beer is not for you. According to a report from Mintel, fruit-flavored beer launches have increased worldwide in response to people seeking more flavorful drink options. Since 2012, one in ten beer launches have contained either fruit juice concentrate, fruit extracts or fruit peels. The trend began to accelerate in Europe about five years ago with the growing popularity of radlers, or shandies — a half beer and half fruit juice or lemonade blend. Seeking to offset a decline in mainstream beer sales, global brewers like Heineken, Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch InBev began brewing fruit beers as well. But for years it had been craft brewers who have been leading the market with releases of fruity styles such as sours, cherry beers and saisons. Now, we’re also seeing fruit juice being added to their pale ales and…

Book Review: Canning goes Back to Basics for beginners

This time of year always seems to turn in to a game of pass the produce. Your neighbor has too many tomatoes. Your friend gets extra cucumbers in her CSA. And every week, your co-worker tries to pawn off a basket of his peppers. There are worse problems to have. This year, instead of saying no — or continuing to pass the goods down the line to other friends — pick up a new skill for this plethora of produce, and learn to can. Canning is the next natural extension of our increasing national awareness of eating fresh, healthy and local. Grandma knew canning could feed her family healthy meals all year long, and what’s old usually becomes new again. Canning — much like knitting (can you believe it?) — is back on the scene. But between tools, temperatures and safety measures, the age-old practice can leave first-timers at a loss (and wishing Grandma was still…

Newspaper writes correction for erroneously calling hot dog a sandwich

Newspapers take pride in getting the facts right the first time, so it all that more difficult for them to admit they’ve made a mistake. But one newspaper is taking steps to correct a decades old error. The Louisville Courier-Journal has issued a correction for six previous articles, which erroneously refer to hot dogs as sandwiches. The articles were published between 1887 and 1966, so the mistake could almost be forgiven, but given that it’s National Hot Dog month, the paper sought to make things right, stating: On the following dates, the Courier-Journal incorrectly referred to hot dogs as sandwiches: Oct. 2, 1887; Aug. 10, 1901; March 20, 1904; July 21, 1935; Jan. 14, 1939; May 4, 1941; Sept. 15, 1950; June 29, 1958; Nov. 16, 1961; and Aug. 4, 1966. Among those errors were references to a frankfurter sausage sandwich, frankfurter sandwich, coney island sandwich, frankfurter sandwich with mustard, and, the most…