Frozen vegetables are always a good idea — but they're a real lifesaver when you have a new baby.
You've got the baby's meal plan covered (not much variety there!) but what about you? Even if you used to be a meticulous meal planner and prepper, sitting down to map out a week's worth of food — and finding a few free hours to shop and cook — can be hard as a new parent. Like, surprisingly hard.
But frozen veggies can help. You can stock up on big bags and stash them away without worrying they're gonna go bad before you can use them. And since they're already fully prepped, you don't have to waste precious minutes washing, peeling, or chopping.
Then when you find yourself with a block of free time (the baby is taking an awesome nap and you've already showered and it's not a laundry day!), the veggies are waiting for you to hit the ground running.
Except, what do you make?
Turns out, frozen vegetables are good for way more than throwing into the occasional stir-fry. Here are 12 easy, delicious ways to incorporate them into make-ahead meals that'll keep you nourished for days.
Do a Roast Veggie Tray
Surprise: You can totally roast frozen veggies — and they don't even need to be thawed first.
Spread the veggies evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and bake them in a hot oven until soft and caramelized.
"A high heat, like 425°F (220°C), will help evaporate any condensation while they cook," says Amanda Frederickson, author of Simple Beautiful Food and a mom of two.
Use the finished product in grain bowls or omelets, tossed into pasta dishes, or as a simple side for chicken or fish.
Make a Kitchen-Sink Soup
Practically any mixture of veggies and protein becomes delicious and satisfying when simmered in a flavorful broth.
- shredded rotisserie chicken, frozen carrots and peas, and broken spaghetti in chicken broth
- diced frozen butternut squash, chickpeas, and brown rice in veggie broth
- premade mini meatballs and frozen spinach in beef broth
Toss Veggies Into a Quiche
Quiches are new parents' BFFs: They're easy to make (just mix, pour, and bake), packed with protein, and last for days in the fridge.
Best of all, they're delicious with just about any veggie, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of "Smoothies and Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen" and mom of three.
Try folding in thawed frozen artichoke hearts or peas.
Try Veggie Fried Rice
That leftover white rice from the Chinese takeout you've been living off of? You can turn it into a killer main dish.
Sauté a cup of mixed frozen veggies with sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce and add a few beaten eggs, then fold in the rice. Let it cook on medium-high in a flat layer to let the bottom of the rice get a little browned, then stir and repeat a few times until the entire mixture is heated through and you've got plenty of crispy bits.
Power Up Quesadillas With Sweet Potatoes
Baking a whole sweet potato takes an hour, but you can sauté frozen, cubed sweet potatoes in a matter of minutes.
Cook up a package with Tex Mex-inspired seasonings like cumin and chili powder, then add them to quesadillas throughout the week, Largeman-Roth recommends.
Make Veggie Smoothie Packs
You probably already use frozen fruit for your smoothies, so why not toss a handful of veg in there?
"Adding frozen spinach or cauliflower is a great way to add a ton of nutrients to smoothies," says Frederickson. (And since the flavor is pretty neutral, you won't taste them.)
Make individual smoothie packs by filling plastic zip baggies each with:
- 1 diced banana
- 1/2 cup chopped frozen fruit (like berries or mango)
- 1/2 cup chopped frozen veggies
- a generous spoonful of nut butter
When you're ready to drink, just dump the ingredients into a blender with your milk of choice.
Sauté a Batch of Garlicky Greens
Spinach, kale, or collards all work here. Add a generous glug of olive oil and plenty of chopped garlic, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like some heat.
Use these greens as a side dish for anything, stuff them into omelets, or pile them onto a baked potato and top with shredded cheese.
Make Taco Filling (That’s Good for More Than Just Tacos)
Those frozen Southwestern veggie blends with corn and bell pepper? They're awesome sautéed up with canned black beans, garlic, and some cumin or smoked paprika.
Make a big batch for stuffing into tortillas, stirring into scrambled eggs, or sprinkling on top of tortilla chips for healthy-ish nachos.
Make Broccoli Pesto for Pasta
Just because you don't have fresh basil on hand doesn't mean you can't have pesto.
Toss a cup of frozen thawed broccoli in the food processor with garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts or walnuts, and olive oil, and pulse to make a thick, pesto-like sauce that's ready for pasta whenever you are.
Add Frozen Spinach to Lasagna
Lasagna's the ultimate make-a-big-batch-and-freeze-for-later meal, and folding spinach into the cheese mixture is an easy way to get a serving of veggies.
To keep the lasagna from getting watery, sauté the spinach and squeeze out the excess liquid before adding it to the cheese, Frederickson recommends.
Do a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Veggie Curry
It's easier to make than you think — and you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand.
Sauté a package of mixed frozen vegetables until softened, then add red or green Thai curry paste (to taste) along with a can of coconut milk (add a splash of water or broth if the mixture seems thick).
Fold in any protein you'd like — cubed tofu, thawed frozen shrimp, or chicken breast cut into thin strips — and simmer until cooked.
Two Words: Grilled Cheese
Because sometimes you're not into making a big batch and just need to eat ASAP. A handful of veggies turns a buttery cheese sandwich into something sorta virtuous while only tacking a few minutes onto your total prep time.
Try diced cauliflower or broccoli florets with cheddar, spinach with mozzarella, or artichokes with goat cheese. Or if all you have on hand is green beans and plain old American cheese slices, go with that. It's all good.
With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.
Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.
Cooking may help develop their problem-solving and hand-eye coordination skills, increase confidence, and even improve diet quality by encouraging fruit and veggie intake.
Yet, it's important to choose age-appropriate recipes and assign kitchen tasks that are safe for your child to tackle.
For example, very young children can help by washing vegetables, stirring ingredients, and cutting out shapes with cookie cutters while older children can take on more complex tasks, such as chopping and peeling.
Here are 15 healthy recipes that you can make with your kids.
1. Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are an oatmeal dish that you prepare ahead and refrigerate overnight — with no cooking required.
Not only can pre-making nutritious breakfast options save you time, but choosing dishes that children can make themselves may also help your kids get excited about preparing healthy food.
Overnight oats are simple and appropriate for all ages. Plus, they're easy to individualize, allowing kids to be creative and try out different nutrient-dense toppings like berries, nuts, coconut, and seeds.
Try out these easy, kid-approved recipes with your children. They can participate by measuring, pouring, and chopping ingredients, depending on their age. Let your kids jazz up their oats by choosing toppings of their own.
2. Strawberry and Cantaloupe Yogurt Pops
Most kids love fruit, which is why strawberry and cantaloupe yogurt pops make a perfect snack.
Strawberries and cantaloupe are both loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and folate, a B vitamin that's important for growth and development.
Dipping fruit in protein-packed yogurt ups its nutrient content and boosts feelings of fullness.
This easy recipe is appropriate for children of all ages. Kids can cut the fruit, dip it in the yogurt, and slide the fruit onto popsicle sticks, depending on their age.
3. One Bowl Banana Bread
Many banana bread recipes require multiple steps that can leave your kitchen a mess.
Notably, this healthy recipe requires just one bowl and is kid-friendly.
It's high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats thanks to its almond flour, eggs, and flax meal. As such, it's sure to keep your little ones satisfied between meals.
Plus, the dark chocolate chips and banana give this bread a hint of sweetness.
Have your children mash the bananas, measure ingredients, and fold the chocolate chips into the batter. Once it's out of the oven, they can top their slices with nut butter for a boost of protein.
4. Ants on a Log
Ants on a log, which combines crunchy celery, smooth or chunky nut butter, and sweet, chewy raisins, is a classic snack for many kids.
All you need are those three basic ingredients, though you can also spice things up. Let your kids get involved by spreading their favorite nut butter onto the celery and sprinkling fun toppings, such as chocolate chips, granola, and fresh or dried fruit, onto the "logs."
If your child has a nut allergy, you can fill the celery with cottage cheese, cream cheese, or even mashed avocado for a more savory twist.
This recipe offers many variations of ants on a log sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They're an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients like potassium, folate, and vitamins C and E.
Plus, their smooth, creamy texture can be a hit with kids, especially when made into guacamole and paired with tortilla chips or veggie sticks.
Guacamole is a breeze to make and can be modified depending on your child's tastes. For example, you can add veggies like onions and tomatoes to the mix, as well as fresh herbs like cilantro.
Kids can have a blast mashing the avocados with a handheld masher or old-fashioned mortar and pestle.
Here's a kid-friendly guacamole recipe that your whole family will love.
6. Mini Eggplant Pizzas
This mini eggplant pizza recipe is ideal for kids and parents alike.
It uses eggplant instead of pizza dough for the base, which can help increase your child's vegetable intake.
Kids of all ages can participate by spreading tomato sauce on the eggplant rounds and topping them with cheese. More adventurous eaters can experiment with different toppings like olives or anchovies.
7. Kid-Friendly Green Smoothie
Smoothies are an excellent way to introduce more fruits, veggies, and other healthy ingredients into your child's diet.
This green smoothie recipe is naturally sweetened with frozen fruit and contains a healthy dose of fat and protein from nutritious additions like Greek yogurt and avocado.
Plus, the fresh greens give this smoothie an enticing hue.
Your kids can help by washing and chopping the ingredients and adding them to the blender.
8. Rainbow Spring Rolls
Though many kids dislike vegetables, offering veggies to your children in fun, exciting ways may make them more willing to try new foods.
The translucent rice paper used to prepare spring rolls allows the colorful ingredients inside to shine through, providing a visually appealing meal or snack for kids. Plus, spring rolls are easy to make and highly versatile.
Your kids can help by using a spiralizer to create long, thin strands of veggies, layering ingredients in the rice paper shells, and mixing tasty dipping sauces.
Carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers make good choices for spiralizing. If you desire, you can add protein sources like chicken or shrimp to make the rolls more filling.
Here's a kid-friendly spring roll recipe.
9. No-Bake Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
If you're looking for a sweet treat for your kids that isn't packed with added sugar and artificial ingredients, try this chocolate chip cookie dough bite recipe.
It's loaded with healthy ingredients like almond butter, coconut milk, and raisins and sweetened with honey and dark chocolate chips.
Moreover, it doesn't require any baking, uses only one bowl, and takes just 10 minutes to prep. Children can help by stirring ingredients and forming the balls of dough.
10. Apple Pie in a Jar
This scrumptious recipe uses ingredients like almond flour, eggs, honey, apples, and coconut oil to create a sweet yet nutrient-dense, snack-size treat.
While most desserts rely on refined ingredients, such as white flour and vegetable oil, these mini apple pies are much more wholesome.
Kids can pitch in by rolling the dough into individual balls, stirring the ingredients, and assembling the pie jars.
11. Veggie Omelets
Kids can learn a lot about cooking by making omelets. Plus, they're customizable and packed with nutrients that are essential for growth.
For example, eggs are often considered nature's multivitamin because they boast numerous vitamins and minerals, including choline, iron, and vitamins A, B12, and E, all of which are essential for children's health.
Adding colorful vegetables like peppers and greens further boosts omelets' nutritional value.
What's more, kids are likely to enjoy cracking the eggs, whisking the ingredients, and frying their creation on the stove. Older children can even be tasked with making their own omelets from start to finish.
Check out this veggie omelet recipe to get some ideas.
12. Healthy Cheesy Crackers
Some popular snacks marketed to kids, such as cheesy crackers, are loaded with additives like unhealthy oils, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors.
Nonetheless, you and your kids can make healthy snack alternatives at home using simple, nutritious ingredients.
This recipe for cheesy crackers uses just four ingredients, including real Cheddar cheese and whole grain flour. Your kids can cut the dough into fun shapes before you bake them.
13. Colorful Salad Jars
Making colorful salad jars with your kids is an excellent way to motivate children to eat more veggies.
If your child is a picky eater, making vegetables more visually appealing and giving your kid frequent chances to try them may promote their veggie intake.
Furthermore, research shows that kids prefer sweet veggies over bitter ones, so mixing both sweet and bitter types into one dish may diversify your child's diet.
Have your little ones help you layer veggies and other healthy ingredients like beans, seeds, chicken, and eggs in Mason jars. Let your child pick which veggies they prefer, but encourage a combination of both bitter and sweet veggies.
Bitter veggies include kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli, while sweet varieties include carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, and corn.
Check out this fun recipe for colorful salad jars.
14. Frozen Yogurt Pops
Many ice cream and yogurt pops are packed with added sugar and artificial colorings and sweeteners. Since these ingredients should be limited in children's diets, consider ditching the store-bought ones and have your kids help make nutrient-dense, homemade yogurt pops.
This recipe for frozen yogurt pops uses protein-packed yogurt and is naturally sweetened with frozen fruit and a bit of honey.
Kids can help by gathering the ingredients, pouring the fruit and yogurt purée into paper cupcake liners, and slotting the tray into your freezer.
15. Sweet Potato Nachos
Sweet potatoes are a favorite veggie of many kids because of their pleasant taste and bright color. They're also highly nutritious, offering ample beta carotene, fiber, and vitamin C.
To make nutrient-dense nachos, replace the regular corn chips with sweet potatoes.
Kids can layer on healthy toppings of their choice, such as salsa, cheese, black beans, and peppers.
Here's a child-friendly recipe for sweet potato nachos.
The Bottom Line
Cooking with your kids not only keeps them busy but also teaches them cooking skills and even encourages them to try new, healthy foods.
Try involving your kids in some of the recipes above to get them inspired in the kitchen and making delicious snacks and meals.
- 8 Healthy Swaps for Everyday Food and Drinks - EcoWatch ›
- 25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids - EcoWatch ›
- Magnetic Induction Cooking Can Cut Your Kitchen’s Carbon Footprint - EcoWatch ›
Throughout Texas, there are a number of solar power companies that can install solar panels on your roof to take advantage of the abundant sunlight. But which solar power provider should you choose? In this article, we'll provide a list of the best solar companies in the Lone Star State.
Our Picks for the Best Texas Solar Companies
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Sunpro Solar
- Longhorn Solar, Inc.
- Solartime USA
- Kosmos Solar
- Sunshine Renewable Solutions
- Alba Energy
- Circle L Solar
- South Texas Solar Systems
- Good Faith Energy
How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when comparing and contrasting different solar providers. These are some of the considerations we used to evaluate Texas solar energy companies.
Different solar companies may provide varying services. Always take the time to understand the full range of what's being offered in terms of solar panel consultation, design, installation, etc. Also consider add-ons, like EV charging stations, whenever applicable.
When meeting with a representative from one of Texas' solar power companies, we would always encourage you to ask what the installation process involves. What kind of customization can you expect? Will your solar provider use salaried installers, or outsourced contractors? These are all important questions to raise during the due diligence process.
Texas is a big place, and as you look for a good solar power provider, you want to ensure that their services are available where you live. If you live in Austin, it doesn't do you much good to have a solar company that's active only in Houston.
Pricing and Financing
Keep in mind that the initial cost of solar panel installation can be sizable. Some solar companies are certainly more affordable than others, and you can also ask about the flexible financing options that are available to you.
To guarantee that the renewable energy providers you select are reputable, and that they have both the integrity and the expertise needed, we would recommend assessing their status in the industry. The simplest way to do this is to check to see whether they are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified or belong to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other industry groups.
Types of Panels
As you research different companies, it certainly doesn't hurt to get to know the specific products they offer. Inquire about their tech portfolio, and see if they are certified to install leading brands like Tesla or Panasonic.
Rebates and Tax Credits
There are a lot of opportunities to claim clean energy rebates or federal tax credits which can help with your initial solar purchase. Ask your solar provider for guidance navigating these different savings opportunities.
Going solar is a big investment, but a warranty can help you trust that your system will work for decades. A lot of solar providers provide warranties on their technology and workmanship for 25 years or more, but you'll definitely want to ask about this on the front end.
The 10 Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas
With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the 10 best solar energy companies in TX.
SunPower is a solar energy company that makes it easy to make an informed and totally customized decision about your solar power setup. SunPower has an online design studio where you can learn more about the different options available for your home, and even a form where you can get a free online estimate. Set up a virtual consultation to speak directly with a qualified solar installer from the comfort of your own home. It's no wonder SunPower is a top solar installation company in Texas. They make the entire process easy and expedient.
Sunpro Solar is another solar power company with a solid reputation across the country. Their services are widely available to Texas homeowners, and they make the switch to solar effortless. We recommend them for their outstanding customer service, for the ease of their consultation and design process, and for their assistance to homeowners looking to claim tax credits and other incentives.
Looking for a solar contractor with true Texas roots? Longhorn Solar is an award-winning company that's frequently touted as one of the best solar providers in the state. Their services are available in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and since 2009 they have helped more than 2,000 Texans make the switch to energy efficiency with solar. We recommend them for their technical expertise, proven track record, and solar product selection.
Solartime USA is another company based in Texas. In fact, this family-owned business is located in Richardson, which is just outside of Dallas. They have ample expertise with customized solar energy solutions in residential settings, and their portfolio of online reviews attests to their first-rate customer service. We love this company for the simplicity of their process, and for all the guidance they offer customers seeking to go solar.
Next on our list is Kosmos Solar, another Texas-based solar company. They're based in the northern part of the state, and highly recommended for homeowners in the area. They supply free estimates, high-quality products, custom solar designs, and award-winning personal service. Plus, their website has a lot of great information that may help guide you while you determine whether going solar is right for you.
Sunshine Renewable Solutions is based out of Houston, and they've developed a sterling reputation for dependable service and high-quality products. They have a lot of helpful financing options, and can show you how you can make the switch to solar in a really cost-effective way. We also like that they give free estimates, so there's certainly no harm in learning more about this great local company.
"Powered by the Texas sun." That's the official tagline of Alba Energy, a solar energy provider that's based out of Katy, TX. They have lots of great information about solar panel systems and solar solutions, including solar calculators to help you tabulate your potential energy savings. Additionally, we recommend Alba Energy because all of their work is done by a trusted, in-house team of solar professionals. They maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and they have rave reviews from satisfied customers.
Circle L Solar has a praiseworthy mission of helping homeowners slash their energy costs while participating in the green energy revolution. This is another company that provides a lot of great information, including energy savings calculators. Also note that, in addition to solar panels, Circle L Solar also showcases a number of other assets that can help you make your home more energy efficient, including windows, weatherization services, LED lighting, and more.
You can tell by the name that South Texas Solar Systems focuses its service area on the southernmost part of the Lone Star State. Their products include a wide range of commercial and residential solar panels, as well as "off the grid" panels for homeowners who want to detach from public utilities altogether. Since 2007, this company has been a trusted solar energy provider in San Antonio and beyond.
Good Faith Energy is a certified installer of Tesla solar technology for homeowners throughout Texas. This company is really committed to ecological stewardship, and they have amassed a lot of goodwill thanks to their friendly customer service and the depth of their solar expertise. In addition to Tesla solar panels, they can also install EV charging stations and storage batteries.
What are Your Solar Financing Options in Texas?
We've mentioned already that going solar requires a significant investment on the front-end. It's worth emphasizing that some of the best solar companies provide a range of financing options, allowing you to choose whether you buy your system outright, lease it, or pay for it in monthly installments.
Also keep in mind that there are a lot of rebates and state and federal tax credits available to help offset starting costs. Find a Texas solar provider who can walk you through some of the different options.
How Much Does a Solar Energy System Cost in Texas?
How much is it going to cost you to make that initial investment into solar power? It varies by customer and by home, but the median cost of solar paneling may be somewhere in the ballpark of $13,000. Note that, when you take into account federal tax incentives, this number can fall by several thousand dollars.
And of course, once you go solar, your monthly utility bills are going to shrink dramatically… so while solar systems won't pay for themselves in the first month or even the first year, they will ultimately prove more than cost-effective.
Finding the Right Solar Energy Companies in TX
Texas is a great place to pursue solar energy companies, thanks to all the natural sunlight, and there are plenty of companies out there to help you make the transition. Do your homework, compare a few options, and seek the solar provider that's right for you. We hope this guide is a helpful jumping-off point as you try to get as much information as possible about the best solar companies in Texas.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
A number of supermarkets across the country have voluntarily issued a recall on sushi, salads and spring rolls distributed by Fuji Food Products due to a possible listeria contamination, as CBS News reported.
The tainted food was discovered during a routine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection of a facility in Brockton, Massachusetts. Fuji Food has never needed to recall its products before, but acted swiftly and immediately ceased production and distribution of its products in Brockton, according to an FDA statement.
"As responsible processors of safe, fresh food for nearly 30 years, we are addressing this problem vigorously and we apologize to those who are affected by it,"" said Fuji Food Products CEO Farrell Hirsch, in the FDA statement. "We will restart operation only after we have eliminated the cause and the FDA certifies that our facility is once again free of possible contamination."
The pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious infections and can be fatal, particularly for young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. Nearly 1,600 people in the US become seriously ill from listeria every year. About 16 percent of the cases are fatal, according to CNN.
Exposure to listeria can trigger miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. Healthy, able-bodied teens and adults usually have fever, headaches, nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control, as USA Today reported.
For Trader Joe's customers, all of the potentially tainted products are packaged in plastic trays with clear lids. Trader Joe's urges anyone who bought any of its recalled products to throw them out or return them to any of its stores for an immediate refund. The recalled products, as CNN reported, include California Rolls, Classic California Rolls with Brown Rice & Avocado, Spicy California Rolls, Tempura Shrimp Crunch Rolls, Tofu Spring Rolls, Shrimp Spring Rolls, Smoked Salmon Philly Roll, Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl, Banh Mi Inspired Noodle Bowl and the Queso Fundido Spicy Cheese Dip.
In addition to Trader Joe's own line, 13 varieties of Okami sushi rolls and salads were distributed to brand name retailers in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as CNN reported.
Fuji Food Products, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Ready-to-Eat Sushi, Salads and Spring Rolls Manufactured on the East C… https://t.co/4s0P7fYzKk— U.S. FDA (@U.S. FDA)1575462120.0
The FDA said consumers should return any item from the following list of products, UPC codes, and sell by dates printed on the package.
- Okami 8-piece California Roll: 7-32869-28101-5, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Spicy California Roll: 7-32869-28102-2, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Supreme California Roll: 7-32869-28103-9, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Spicy Supreme California Roll: 7-32869-28104-6, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Classic California Roll with SO: 7-32869-28105-3, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Supreme Combo: 7-32869-28111-4, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Supreme Sampler: 7-32869-28112-1, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Brown Rice Classic California Roll: 7-32869-28122-0, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 25-piece Sushi Platter: 7-32869-28200-5, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 6pcs Sushi Platter: 7-32869-28201-2, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-piece Seafood Combo: 7-32869-28262-3, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami Tempura Shrimp Roll 6-piece: 7-32869-28114-5, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Okami 8-pieces Salmon Philly Roll: 7-32869-28113-8, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Trader Joe's Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl: 603751, 11/20-12/04/2019
- Trader Joe's Banh Mi Style Salad: 614719, 11/19-12/03/2019
- Trader Joe's Shrimp Spring Rolls 7 oz: 908795, 11/18-12/02/2019
- Trader Joe's Tofu Spring Rolls 7 oz: 921510, 11/18-12/02/2019
- Trader Joe's Queso Fundido 16 oz: 646574, 12/10-12/24/2019
- Trader Joe's 8-piece Spicy Cal Roll 8 oz: 348966,11/22-12/06/2019
- Trader Joe's 8-piece California Roll 8 oz: 348997, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Trader Joe's 8-piece Tempura Shrimp Crunch Rolls 8.5 oz: 513289, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Trader Joe's 8-piece Smoked Salmon Philly Roll: 603775 11/20-12/04/2019
- Trader Joe's 8-piece Brown Rice California Roll 8 oz: 909822, 11/22-12/06/2019
- Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After ... ›
- Pillsbury Flour Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk - EcoWatch ›
- Ragú Sauces Recalled Over Potential Plastic Contamination ... ›
- Tyson Foods Recalls Almost 200,000 Pounds of Chicken Fritters ... ›
By Eoin Higgins
The climate crisis is hurting the New England fishing industry, claims a new report published Monday, with a decline of 16% in fishing jobs in the northeastern U.S. region from 1996 to 2017 and more instability ahead.
University of Delaware researcher Kimberly Oremus' paper, "Climate variability reduces employment in New England fisheries," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This is an important signal to incorporate into the fisheries management process," Oremus told Science X. "We need to figure out what climate is doing to fisheries in order to cope with it."
Oresmus found that the fishing industry is in trouble due to variations in ocean temperature. Of particular concern is the Gulf of Maine, an area of the ocean warming faster than nearly any other in the world.
"New England waters are among the fastest-warming in the world," said Oremus said. "Warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures have been shown to impact the productivity of lobsters, sea scallops, groundfish and other fisheries important to the region, especially when they are most vulnerable, from spawning through their first year of life."
As The New Food Economy explained, the New England fishing industry has been under threat for decades due to overfishing and climate change.
Due to overfishing, cod stocks are nearly depleted. To avert complete collapse, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now sets limits on fish catches, or quotas. In the past decade, catches have plummeted, from 100 million pounds of cod in the early 1980s to a fraction today.
Oresums told HuffPost's Alexander Kaufman that while her research shows the fisheries' decline is driven by warmer winters, she wasn't able to get a full picture of the crisis.
"This doesn't capture all the anthropogenic climate change," said Oresmus. "There's probably additional warming on top of the variability that I don't account for."
According to Kaufman:
The Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Nova Scotia in Canada to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has warmed faster than 99% of global oceans, increasing by an average of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit per year over the past three decades. While temperatures fluctuate, melting Arctic ice is weakening the southward current that once flushed the basin with cold waters from Greenland, putting the basin's temperatures on a firm upward trajectory.
The effects have made the fishing industry even less predictable than in years past. Record lobster hauls over the past decade in Maine now look set to decline, according to two studies published in the past month. The New England fishery for Northern shrimp, once a winter mainstay, is set to remain closed for a seventh consecutive year. An iconic seafood processing firm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, went bankrupt in May.
Ultimately, Oresmus told The New Food Economy, New Englanders have to prepare for a different-looking coastal future.
"The individuals who can't weather these climate shocks are the small mom-and-pop businesses and smaller fishing establishments," said Oresmus. "There are communities that are just not going to be fishing communities anymore."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Could the Climate Crisis Spell the End for Maine Lobster? - EcoWatch ›
- Northern Fish Are Tough, but No Match for Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
A healthy fish population can help fight the degradation of coral reefs, the study's authors explained in Nature Communications Friday, but damaged reefs don't attract as many fish because they don't smell or sound like healthy reefs.
"Healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places – the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape," senior author and University of Exeter professor Steve Simpson explained in a press release received by EcoWatch. "Juvenile fish home in on these sounds when they're looking for a place to settle."
A loudspeaker on a coral reef. Tim Gordon / University of Exeter
So a team of researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol in the UK, and Australia's James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science spent October to December of 2017 in the Great Barrier Reef trying to see if they could replicate these healthy reef sounds in damaged environments.
The Washington Post explained their process:
At the start of fish recruitment season, when fish spawn and mature, the team built 33 experimental reef patches out of dead coral on open sand about 27 yards from the naturally occurring reef. They then fixed underwater loudspeakers to the center of the patches, angling them upward to ensure the sound was distributed evenly in all directions.
Over 40 nights, the team played recordings from a healthy reef in some of the patches. In other patches, they used dummy speakers that emitted no sounds, and they left a third group of patches untouched.
Tim Gordon deploys an underwater loudspeaker on a coral reef. Harry Harding / University of Bristol
The result? The reef patches that broadcasted the healthy reef sounds attracted double the number of fish as the other patches, and the fish species drawn to them were 50 percent more diverse. That diversity included species from every section of the food web, from plankton eaters to predators, which is important for reef health.
"Reefs become ghostly quiet when they are degraded, as the shrimps and fish disappear, but by using loudspeakers to restore this lost soundscape, we can attract young fish back again," Simpson said in the press release.
The scientists called this process "acoustic enrichment" and think it could be one tool for helping reef ecosystems recover more quickly.
"Of course, attracting fish to a dead reef won't bring it back to life automatically, but recovery is underpinned by fish that clean the reef and create space for corals to regrow," Australian Institute of Marine Science fish biologist and study author Dr. Mark Meekan said in the press release.
However, the researchers urged that it is also important to tackle reef threats like the climate crisis or overfishing directly. And in this they were backed up by scientists not involved in the study.
"Using acoustic enrichment to help recolonise degraded reefs with essential reef fish is a novel tool which can add to the reef conservation toolbox," Dr. Catherine Head of the Zoological Society of London and the University of Oxford told The Guardian. "Our biggest tool in the fight for coral reefs is the 2016 Paris climate change agreement to curb global CO2 emissions, and we must continue to put pressure on governments to fulfil this agreement alongside doing our bit to reduce our own carbon footprints."
By Erica Cirino
Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.
Coral reefs are in a death spiral. Many of the world's major reefs — which give the oceans life, support fisheries, prevent storm damage, provide medicine and create ocean-based tourism opportunities — are expected to disappear by 2100. Experts say coral decline has numerous causes, including chemical runoff, plastic pollution, disease and overfishing.
But the main culprit is climate change, a crisis with no quick fixes.
As the late Ruth Gates — one of the world's foremost coral experts and former director of the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology — told me two years ago, shortly before her death: "A significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions is required to save corals … not to mention, us. Such an endeavor will require government and public cooperation, and it will take time."
Coral reefs don't have much time, so experts around the world have used whatever tactics were in their reach to try to give corals a fighting chance. Much of their focus has been on top-down, policy-driven approaches like creating marine protected areas, banning toxic sunscreens, and cracking down on the illegal capture of reef fish.
But a growing number of experts, building on efforts by Gates and others, have taken a more bottom-up approach: coral reef restoration, or the process of repopulating deteriorating reefs with healthy coral. And they're tapping citizen scientists to help with the effort — people participating in scientific projects organized by experts.
There's evidence that this type of restoration could solidly support the full range of reef-conservation efforts underway. But given the extent of the crisis and what's at stake, is repeatedly putting new crops of corals into harm's way the answer?
Climate Change Threats
Though reefs cover less than 1 percent of Earth's surface, they support more than a million different species, including many types of algae — like sea grasses and sea lettuces — and a broad range of animals from starfish to shrimp to sharks, as well as people. Experts estimate that corals pull $375 billion into the global economy every year, mainly by fostering tourism, supporting fisheries, and contributing to medicine and storm protection.
Despite their value corals have been in decline for decades. Scientists responded by initiating the first reef-restoration efforts about 50 years ago. Since then restoration efforts have been tailored to meet the needs of corals prioritized at specific times and places. In the 1970s, as coastal development boomed, scientists focused on expanding corals' habitat by strategically placing shipwrecks, concrete pipes, tires and other manmade structures underwater on which corals could grow. By the early 2000s, scientists had become more interested in addressing other localized risks to reefs — such as overfishing, irresponsible tourism and invasive species.
But climate change poses an even more far-reaching threat.
Bleaching — a precursor to coral death caused by stressors including warming waters — has left nary a reef unscathed around the world. Most corals thrive in temperatures between 73-84 degrees Fahrenheit. Oceans naturally undergo seasonal warming, which leads to temperature fluctuations high enough to bleach some corals. In the past corals could recover from bleaching events once waters cooled. Scientists say it takes 15 to 25 years for a reef to recover from serious bleaching and become healthy enough to support a rich host of marine life. But today, with the relentless and extreme warming our oceans now face, corals are running out of possible recovery time. It's becoming much harder for them to make a comeback.
A major coral bleaching event on part of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Oregon State University / CC BY-SA 2.0
Not only does climate change raise the temperature of the oceans, resulting in inhospitable conditions for corals, it deposits excess carbon dioxide into the water — increasing seawater's acidity. More acidic waters can erode hard corals' skeletons and make it more difficult for corals to grow. The cumulative effects have been seen around the planet. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 27 percent of the world's coral population has died over the past three decades.
According to UNESCO, bleaching on coral reefs across the world was first documented in 1983, but since then its frequency and severity has quickly accelerated. In a 2017 report, the organization identified the cause of bleaching on 72% of its so-called "globally significant" reefs from 2014 to 2017 as record-breaking ocean temperatures.
Marine biologist Maria Anderson said a dying coral reef is a painful thing to witness.
"During bleaching, the usual reef hues of browns, purples and greens are replaced by a white ghost town," said Andersen, a resident marine biologist at Ocean Group Maldives who is part of an upstarting coral reef replanting project based at InterContinental Resort, a hotel on Raa Atoll. "Soft corals appear as white blobs that melt off rocks and hard corals turn into fragile skeletons. The only way I can describe it is heartbreaking."
Secret Weapon # 1: The Public
To stem this tide, restoration efforts now mostly involve growing corals in undersea nurseries and transplanting them onto dying reefs that are losing coral. Like saplings being replanted in a fallen forest, young corals can help regenerate an ecosystem that's becoming barren.
But the work can be expensive and labor-intensive. According to researchers it can cost more than $150,000 to restore one reef — a small fortune in low-income coastal communities that may struggle to find funding.
That's why restoration efforts have grown increasingly reliant on the help of citizen scientists. This has significantly reduced the high price tag of restoration by replacing paid labor with volunteers — without any noticeable decline in success. Research shows the growth and survival rate of the corals planted by citizen scientists is almost identical to corals planted by experts. When handled properly, the corals replanted by volunteers survive at a rate of at least 80 percent, and often exceeds 90 percent, said Dalton Hesley, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Benthic Ecology and Coral Restoration Lab, who led that study.
"Replanting is an investment," Hesley said. "These corals should, in theory, live indefinitely, and you should expect to see growth over the years."
A healthy staghorn coral colony two years after it was planted on a reef in the Florida Keys.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
But that's only if we also take necessary action to prevent further degradation of, and ultimately remediate, the oceans, he said. Unless the world addresses climate change, runoff, pollution and development, reefs will continue to decline and risk being lost forever.
At this moment in Earth's history, "I don't think it should be a matter of choosing one over the other," said Andersen. Both large-scale efforts to address the climate crisis and labor-intensive replanting efforts are necessary to give reefs a chance of surviving Earth's current extinction crisis. "We have to meet somewhere in the middle, finding renewable resources while also restoring reefs. We can't just sit around and wait, leaving corals in limbo."
Secret Weapon # 2: Genetics
"On first glance replanting may seem like a distraction from mitigating climate change, which is what we have to do if we want to save reefs," said Andersen. But she says restoration can give corals a better chance — especially when they're coupled with recent efforts to supercharge replanting by genetically identifying the most diverse and resilient species.
A well-planned, diverse reef is probably the best remedy to bleaching, Andersen said.
"I've heard of hundreds of restoration projects around the world, but none that have failed," she said. "But if one happened to fail, I would assume its leaders failed to create enough coral diversity."
Hesley agreed: "With high diversity there's strength."
Thousands of species of hard and soft corals have been identified to date, and each of these species has varying levels of resistance to stressors. Even within a species, scientists have identified different gene patterns that can convey different benefits.
"Some corals grow very quickly, some are less prone to disease, some bleach less, some are hardier during storms, for example," Hesley said. "There's not one coral species or individual that excels across the board, so we must focus on creating high levels of coral diversity."
Larger-scale reef restoration projects, like the program Hesley is involved in at the University of Miami, keep track of coral genetics using DNA analysis, ensuring coral diversity. Smaller-scale programs in rather remote places, like Andersen's project in the Maldives, often do not have in-house access to labs and genetics testing, which can be prohibitively expensive.
Andersen said these challenges require her to go through a complex research process and collaboration with coral geneticists on a different atoll to pinpoint the most and least resilient coral species. Then, she must carefully remove fragments of coral from reefs known to have survived past bleaching events so that they can be used to spawn more hardy corals. After that, she monitors the donor reef and fragments to ensure they stay healthy. These preliminary parts of the replanting process, which require permits and extraordinary precision, are left up to the professionals.
Choosing coral parent colonies to aid reef restoration efforts.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Promise and Challenges
When it comes to giving dying corals another shot, Hesley acknowledged that coral reef restoration is not a perfect solution. He said finding adequate funding, staff and volunteer labor, and addressing the root causes of reef decline — climate change and local stressors to reef health — are lingering challenges.
However, Anderson said the benefits of reef restoration, especially those powered by citizen scientists, are strong compared to their drawbacks. This has led to projects cropping up on reefs all around the world, developed by scientists hired by research institutions and hotels alike.
One of the most exciting she's seen is a citizen-science restoration project led by Peter Harrison of Southern Cross University in Australia, who has developed a backpack-sized inflatable coral spawn catcher and nursery pool in which baby corals can grow until they're big enough to be replanted.
Of course, even volunteers can only do so much. Harrison has also pioneered use of robots to swiftly distribute baby corals onto nearly 7.5 acres of damaged reefs, doing a job in just six hours that would take several human hands at least a week. If perfected, it could put volunteer seeding efforts effectively out of business.
But there's always a role for people willing to help. After corals are propagated, whether it's by hand or machine, citizen scientists can help care for them in undersea nurseries.
All of this requires careful planning. Andersen emphasizes the importance of establishing clearly defined goals for restoration, based around a community's needs and available resources. Another aspect of a successful restoration effort, she said, is an effective and accessible training program that primes citizen scientists on how to participate and, ultimately, care about the future of corals.
And that ties into the fundamental reason why citizen science still matters: because restoration buys time for corals. Experts at the Smithsonian Research Institute have found that the more living coral a reef has when exposed to highly acidic waters, the more likely it is to survive, instead of bleaching and dying.
Meanwhile, the efforts help to connect people to something that otherwise might stay out of sight and out of mind beneath the surface of the ocean.
"I don't think a lot of people who get involved in restoration initially have that emotional attachment to coral reefs simply because they haven't had a chance to care about them," Andersen said. "Restoration gives them the opportunity to make a connection, to really understand how dire the situation is, and to do something that can help."
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
- Cancun Businesses Take Out Insurance Policy on a Coral Reef ... ›
- UN Biodiversity Chief: Humans Risk Living in an 'Empty World' With ... ›
- Report Details Climate Crisis Impacts on Coral Reefs, Warns of ... ›
- Corals Turn Bright Neon in Last-Ditch Effort to Survive - EcoWatch ›
- NFL Green Tackles Coral Restoration Project in Tampa - EcoWatch ›
- NFL Green Tackles Coral Restoration Project in Florida - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Discover Why Coral Reefs Are Turning White, Informing Restoration Possibilities - EcoWatch ›
- Hawaii Moves to Ban More Reef-Harming Sunscreens ›
Historically, it hasn't always been possible to grow fresh vegetables throughout the year.
Therefore, people developed methods of food preservation, such as pickling and fermentation — a process that uses enzymes to create chemical changes in food.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made with salted, fermented vegetables. It typically contains cabbage and seasonings like sugar, salt, onions, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers.
It may also boast other vegetables, including radish, celery, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, spinach, scallions, beets, and bamboo shoots.
Though usually fermented for a few days to a few weeks before serving, it can also be eaten fresh, or unfermented, immediately after preparation.
Not only is this dish delectable, but it also offers many health benefits.
Here are 9 unique benefits of kimchi.
1. Nutrient Dense
Kimchi is packed with nutrients while being low in calories.
On its own, Chinese cabbage — one of the main ingredients in kimchi — boasts vitamins A and C, at least 10 different minerals, and over 34 amino acids.
Since kimchi varies widely in ingredients, its exact nutritional profile differs between batches and brands. All the same, a 1-cup (150-gram) serving contains approximately.
- Calories: 23
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sodium: 747 mg
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 22% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 55% of the DV
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Iron: 21% of the DV
- Niacin: 10% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 24% of the DV
Many green vegetables are good sources of nutrients like vitamin K and riboflavin. Because kimchi often comprises several green veggies, such as cabbage, celery, and spinach, it's typically a great source of these nutrients.
Vitamin K plays an important role in many bodily functions, including bone metabolism and blood clotting, while riboflavin helps regulate energy production, cellular growth, and metabolism.
What's more, the fermentation process may develop additional nutrients that are more easily absorbed by your body.
Kimchi has an excellent nutritional profile. The dish is low in calories but packed with nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamins B6 and K.
2. Contains Probiotics
The lacto-fermentation process that kimchi undergoes makes it particularly unique. Fermented foods not only have an extended shelf life but also an enhanced taste and aroma.
Fermentation occurs when a starch or sugar is converted into an alcohol or acid by organisms like yeast, mold, or bacteria.
Lacto-fermentation uses the bacterium Lactobacillus to break sugars down into lactic acid, which gives kimchi its characteristic sourness.
When taken as a supplement, This bacterium itself may have several benefits, including treating conditions like hayfever and certain types of diarrhea.
Fermentation also creates an environment that allows other friendly bacteria to thrive and multiply. These include probiotics, which are live microorganisms that offer health benefits when consumed in large amounts.
In fact, they're linked to protection from or improvements in several conditions, including:
- certain types of cancer
- the common cold
- gastrointestinal health
- heart health
- mental health
- skin conditions
Keep in mind that many of these findings are related to high-dose probiotic supplements and not the amounts found in a normal serving of kimchi.
The probiotics in kimchi are believed to be responsible for many of its benefits. Nonetheless, more research is needed on the specific effects of probiotics from fermented foods.
Fermented foods like kimchi offer probiotics, which may help prevent and treat several conditions.
3. May Strengthen Your Immune System
The Lactobacillus bacterium in kimchi may boost your immune health.
In a study in mice, those injected with Lactobacillus plantarum — a specific strain that's common in kimchi and other fermented foods — had lower levels of TNF alpha, an inflammatory marker, than the control group.
Because TNF alpha levels are often elevated during infection and disease, a decrease indicates that the immune system is working efficiently.
A test-tube study that isolated Lactobacillus plantarum from kimchi likewise demonstrated that this bacterium has immune-enhancing effects.
Though these results are promising, human research is needed.
A specific strain of Lactobacillus found in kimchi may boost your immune system, though further research is necessary.
4. May Reduce Inflammation
Probiotics and active compounds in kimchi and other fermented foods may help fight inflammation.
For example, a mouse study revealed that HDMPPA, one of the principal compounds in kimchi, improved blood vessel health by suppressing inflammation.
In another mouse study, a kimchi extract of 91 mg per pound of body weight (200 mg per kg) given daily for 2 weeks lowered levels of inflammation-related enzymes.
Meanwhile, a test-tube study confirmed that HDMPPA displays anti-inflammatory properties by blocking and suppressing the release of inflammatory compounds.
However, human studies are lacking.
HDMPPA, an active compound in kimchi, may play a large role in reducing inflammation.
5. May Slow Aging
Chronic inflammation is not only associated with numerous illnesses, but it also accelerates the aging process.
Yet, kimchi possibly prolongs cell life by slowing this process.
In a test-tube study, human cells treated with kimchi demonstrated an increase in viability, which measures overall cell health — and showed an extended lifespan regardless of their age.
Still, overall research is lacking. Many more studies are needed before kimchi can be recommended as an anti-aging treatment.
A test-tube study indicates that kimchi may slow the aging process, though more research is necessary.
6. May Prevent Yeast Infections
Kimchi's probiotics and healthy bacteria may help prevent yeast infections.
Vaginal yeast infections occur when the Candida fungus, which is normally harmless, multiplies rapidly inside the vagina. Over 1.4 million women in the United States are treated for this condition each year.
As this fungus may be developing resistance to antibiotics, many researchers are looking for natural treatments.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that certain strains of Lactobacillus fight Candida. One test-tube study even found that multiple strains isolated from kimchi displayed antimicrobial activity against this fungus.
Regardless, further research is necessary.
Probiotic-rich foods like kimchi may help prevent yeast infections, though research is in the early stages.
7. May Aid Weight Loss
Fresh and fermented kimchi are both low in calories and may boost weight loss.
A 4-week study in 22 people with excess weight found that eating fresh or fermented kimchi helped reduce body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat. Additionally, the fermented variety decreased blood sugar levels.
Keep in mind that those who ate fermented kimchi displayed significantly greater improvements in blood pressure and body fat percentage than those who ate the fresh dish.
It's unclear which properties of kimchi are responsible for its weight loss effects — though its low calorie count, high fiber content, and probiotics could all play a role.
Though the specific mechanism isn't known, kimchi may help reduce body weight, body fat, and even blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
8. May Support Heart Health
Research indicates that kimchi may reduce your risk of heart disease.
This may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties, as recent evidence suggests that inflammation may be an underlying cause of heart disease.
In an 8-week study in mice fed a high cholesterol diet, fat levels in the blood and liver were lower in those given kimchi extract than in the control group. In addition, the kimchi extract appeared to suppress fat growth.
This is important because the accumulation of fat in these areas may contribute to heart disease.
Meanwhile, a weeklong study in 100 people found that eating 0.5–7.5 ounces (15–210 grams) of kimchi daily significantly decreased blood sugar, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels — all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
All the same, more human research is needed.
Kimchi may lower your risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation, suppressing fat growth, and decreasing cholesterol levels.
9. Easy to Make at Home
Though preparing fermented foods may seem like a daunting task, making kimchi at home is fairly simple if you adhere to the following steps:
- Gather ingredients of your choice, such as cabbage and other fresh vegetables like carrot, radish, and onion, plus ginger, garlic, sugar, salt, rice flour, chili oil, chili powder or pepper flakes, fish sauce, and saeujeot (fermented shrimp).
- Cut and wash the fresh vegetables alongside the ginger and garlic.
- Spread salt in between the layers of cabbage leaves and let it sit for 2–3 hours. Turn the cabbage every 30 minutes to evenly distribute the salt. Use a ratio of 1/2 cup (72 grams) of salt to every 6 pounds (2.7 kg) of cabbage.
- To remove the excess salt, rinse the cabbage with water and drain in a colander or strainer.
- Mix the rice flour, sugar, ginger, garlic, chili oil, pepper flakes, fish sauce, and saeujeot into a paste, adding water if necessary. You can use more or less of these ingredients depending on how strong you want your kimchi to taste.
- Toss the fresh vegetables, including the cabbage, into the paste until all of the veggies have been fully coated.
- Pack the mixture into a large container or jar for storage, making sure to seal it properly.
- Let the kimchi ferment for at least 3 days at room temperature or up to 3 weeks at 39 F (4 C).
To make a version that's suitable for vegetarians and vegans, simply leave out the fish sauce and saeujeot.
If you prefer fresh over fermented kimchi, just stop after step 6.
If you choose fermentation, you'll know that it's ready to eat once it starts to smell and taste sour — or when small bubbles begin to move through the jar.
After fermentation, you can refrigerate your kimchi for up to 1 year. It will continue to ferment but at a slower rate due to the cool temperature.
Bubbling, bulging, a sour taste, and a softening of the cabbage are all perfectly normal for kimchi. However, if you notice a foul odor or any signs of mold, such as a white film atop the food, your dish has spoiled and should be thrown out.
Kimchi can be made at home using a few simple steps. Typically, it needs to ferment 3–21 days depending on the surrounding temperature.
Does kimchi have any downsides?
In general, the biggest safety concern with kimchi is food poisoning.
Recently, this dish has been linked to E. coli and norovirus outbreaks.
Even though fermented foods don't typically carry foodborne pathogens, kimchi's ingredients and the adaptability of pathogens means that it's still vulnerable to foodborne illnesses.
As such, people with compromised immune systems may want to practice caution with kimchi.
Although people with high blood pressure may have concerns about this dish's high sodium content, a study in 114 people with this condition showed no significant relationship between kimchi intake and high blood pressure.
Kimchi has very few risks. Nonetheless, this dish has been tied to outbreaks of food poisoning, so people with compromised immune systems may want to use extra caution.
The Bottom Line
Kimchi is a sour Korean dish often made from cabbage and other vegetables. Because it's a fermented food, it boasts numerous probiotics.
These healthy microorganisms may give kimchi several health benefits. It may help regulate your immune system, promote weight loss, fight inflammation, and even slow the aging process.
If you enjoy cooking, you can even make kimchi at home.
- 9 Dishes Chefs Eat When They're Sick - EcoWatch ›
- When's the Best Time to Consume Probiotics? - EcoWatch ›
- 8 Impressive Benefits of Purple Cabbage - EcoWatch ›
Six months: That's how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.
It's a time-sensitive deadline. After years of decline, as few as 6 to 19 vaquitas survive in their only home, the Gulf of California. Also known as the Sea of Cortez, the gulf lies between mainland Mexico and Baja California — and the porpoises' population there has slowly but steadily been wiped out over the past decade. First these gentle, blunt-faced porpoises were killed by shrimp fishermen, who accidentally caught the "sea cows" in their large gillnets. More recently they've fallen to poachers seeking a rare fish called the totoaba (Totoaba mcdonaldi).
Totoaba swim bladders sell for up to $20,000 each in China, where they're considered a delicacy and are used in traditional medicine. The bladders are frequently smuggled through the U.S. before heading to Asian consumer markets.
With transnational criminal cartels leading the totoaba poaching and distribution, and with time running out for vaquita, the future for both species "looks very bleak indeed," says Richard Thomas, global communications coordinator for TRAFFIC, an NGO focusing on wildlife trade.
Conservationists have urged Mexico to protect the vaquita for years, and the country and its allies have taken many steps along the way, but the species' population has continued to decline. As a result the international community has now finally put a bit of real pressure on the Mexican government. According to an agreement established this August at the 18th triennial meeting of the member parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Mexico, in collaboration with the U.S. and China, must now work to eliminate both the supply and consumer demand for totoaba and support a program to remove destructive gillnets from the fishery in the Gulf of California. The three nations promised to meet about these goals in the next few months.
"Urgent measures include maintaining net-free zones, round-the-clock patrolling of these areas with removal of all gillnets — and protection for those carrying out these tasks — and arrest and prosecution of illegal fishers," says Thomas.
Mexico, meanwhile, must improve its enforcement of existing laws by Nov. 30 and report on its progress to the CITES Secretariat every six months. The first report will be due in early 2020.
#Vaquita & #Totoaba #CITESCoP18 Mexico US & China agreed Parties would eliminate supply & demand & support gillnet… https://t.co/aOWfSJ5wsa— Ivonne Higuero (@Ivonne Higuero)1566860314.0
"Mexico took this, I think, with a lot of commitment, but also wanted the other parties to recognize the efforts that have been done in the country as well," says Adrian Router, Latin American wildlife trafficking coordinator at the Wildlife Conservation Society. "It's not that Mexico had done nothing — there's a long, long list of things they have done — but obviously it's been insufficient."
If these new efforts don't roll out fast enough, or if vaquita continue to die, Mexico could conceivably face international sanctions that would prevent it from exporting some of its most profitable native plants or animals, specifically those species currently listed on what's known as CITES Appendix II.
CITES, an international treaty covering wildlife trade among 183 member nations, protects threatened species by placing them on two lists that regulate trade. The first, Appendix I, bans all international trade in endangered plants and animals. The second, Appendix II, allows trade, but only of specimens from proven-sustainable populations.
Blocking Mexico from legally exporting its Appendix II species — a step advocated for by several conservation organizations in the lead-up to CITES — is actually a pretty significant threat. More than 2,300 Mexican plants and animalsappear on CITES Appendix II, including some coveted species and products such as bighorn sheep hunting trophies, mahogany wood and shark fins.
Other species on the list include boa constrictors, iguanas, corals, spider monkeys and dozens of kinds of orchid.
CITES sanctions, however, don't happen very often. One of the few noteworthy examples occurred in 2013, when CITES threatened to sanction Thailand if the country didn't reduce the amount of illegal ivory for sale there. (The threat worked, by the way. The amount of ivory available in Bangkok markets dropped 96 percent by 2016.)
But progress for the vaquita will be much tougher to achieve because of the violent cartels dominating the trade. "The vaquita and the totoaba are a good example of how things can go really, really bad for biodiversity when the commodity is really high-value and organized crime gets involved," says Reuter.
"It's a big, big challenge," he adds. "As we know, the totoaba bladder trade involves transnational, highly organized networks. It's a high-value commodity. It requires actions being taken like for addressing any other serious crime committed by organized cartels and organizations. Sometimes that's difficult because it requires lots of resources, staff and coordination that — in many instances, not just in Mexico but in many other countries in the region — are not available to tackle environmental crimes."
With the time for action growing increasingly tight, will we see any progress on saving the vaquita from extinction? Reuter says he'll be watching to see what happens by the end of the year, especially to find out if the proposed meeting between Mexico, the United States and China actually takes place. "If it does, it would be a very good forum to follow up on what happened," he says.
Meanwhile there's both good news and a stark reminder about the need for action. Last month the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society reported that scientists had, over the course of a few weeks, observed six vaquitas in the Gulf of California, an important confirmation that the animals still exist. "It is excellent to see these vaquitas are well fed, plump and healthy looking," vaquita researcher Barbara Taylor said in a press release. "This invigorates the resolve for Mexico to protect their species."
Demonstrators with The Animal Welfare Institute hold a rally to save the vaquita, the world's smallest and most endangered porpoise, outside the Mexican Embassy in DC on July 5, 2018.
SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images
Next, 600 Mexican antipoaching troops are scheduled to arrive in the region soon to enforce a "zero tolerance" fishing policy in the vaquita's habitat.
But those troops may find themselves in the midst of a renewed struggle with local fishermen. Mexico has paid shrimp fishermen to stay out of vaquita habitat since 2015, but those compensation funds reportedly stopped arriving last December, after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office. With fishermen now struggling to feed their families, their leaders say fleets could resume operation any day. "We know about the vaquita, and we've done what we can, but we have needs and we have to work," Lorenzo Garcia, president of the region's largest fishermen's federation, told Fronteras.
Even with the imminent arrival of Mexican soldiers, the resumption of gillnet shrimp fishing in the Gulf of California represents a major shift in vaquita conservation efforts. Will it push the tiny porpoises closer to disappearing? The world will be watching.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Revelator.
- Just 'Days' Left to Save 6 to 19 Remaining Vaquitas - EcoWatch ›
- Vaquita Still Doomed Without Further Disruption of Totoaba Cartels ... ›
- Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Remain in the World, Scientists Announce ›
An oil spill in the endangered Ganges river dolphin breeding grounds located in southeast Bangladesh has been called a "major disaster" by environmentalists, reports Agence-France Presse (AFP).
Ganges River dolphins are in crisis after a tanker carrying 1,200 tonnes of diesel collided with another ship on th… https://t.co/Z0hALyLWs4— RiverDolphins (@RiverDolphins)1572247855.0
A tanker carrying 1,200 tonnes of diesel collided with another ship in the Karnaphuli river near Chittagong port last week, spreading 10 tonnes of diesel across 16 kilometers, port authority spokesman Omar Faruk told the publication. The Department of Energy issued a fine for polluting the environment, reported local media agency Dhaka Tribune. The Marine Bulletin reports that as of Oct. 26 about eight tonnes have been collected.
Around 60 Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica) use the area as a breeding ground and could inhale toxic petroleum vapors when surfacing to breathe. At least 20 dolphins in the last four years have died of unnatural causes including pollution in the river and in the adjacent Halda river, reports AFP.
The Ganges river dolphin is one of just three freshwater dolphins in the world and is unique to two river systems in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. A 2014 study found that their population has dwindled dramatically since their 4,000 to 5,000 population in the 1980s. Today, the total population is around 2,000 individuals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Declared by the government of India as a National Aquatic Animal in 2009, the World Wildlife Fund notes that the species is a key indication of ecosystem health but are largely endangered due to human activities.
Ganges river dolphin habitat is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and is used for fishing. Individuals are often caught as bycatch after becoming tangled in fishing nets used for shrimp and fish. They are also hunted for meat and oil, which is both used medicinally and to attract catfish for fisheries.
One of the biggest threats to the Ganges river dolphin is pollution. The WWF reports that the essentially blind cetaceans have likely lost a majority of their eyesight due to pollution in their home waters.
"Pollution levels are a problem, and are expected to increase with the development of intensive modern industrial practices in the region," wrote the organization. "Compounds such as organochlorine and butyltin found in the tissues of Ganges River dolphins are a cause for concern about their potential effects on the subspecies."
In addition to oil spills, industrial and agricultural runoff seeps into their marine ecosystem with an annual input of more than 8,000 tonnes of pesticides and nearly 5.4 million tonnes of fertilizers that are used in their region, according to WWF. A 2016 report outlined the threat from "unabated dumping of toxic industrial and household waste," reported the Dhaka Tribune at the time.
- 10,000 Gallons of Oil Spills Into Chile's Pristine Patagonia - EcoWatch ›
- Source of Vast Oil Spill Covering Brazil's Northeast Coast Unknown ... ›
- Hunting, Fishing Cause Dramatic Decline in Amazon River Dolphins ... ›
- These Are the Challenges Facing India's Most Sacred River ... ›
- Plastic Fishing Waste Threatens Endangered Wildlife in Ganges River - EcoWatch ›
Anyone planning to serve shrimp with their champagne this New Year's Eve should check their receipts.
The largest grocery store in the U.S. has recalled "cooked" shrimp products in three states due to a potential "health hazard," CBS News reported Friday. Kroger Co. said the impacted shrimp was sold at its stores in Michigan, central and northwest Ohio and northwest Virginia.
"The product may be under-cooked, which could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens," Kroger wrote in its recall notice.
The recall impacts nine different varieties of cooked shrimp that are also available at KingSoopers, Frys and Smiths stores, The Detroit Free Press reported. The items were produced between Aug. 25 and 26 of 2018 and have a sell-by dates between Aug. 25 and 26 of 2020. Kroger is offering a full refund for all of the shrimp varieties below, as listed by The Detroit Free Press:
- Sand bar cooked shrimp 26/30, two-pound packages, UPC code 11110-64115.
- Shrimp cooked, tail-on, 26/30, frozen service case, UPC 69439-XXXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp, grab and go service case, UPC 69447-XXXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp cooked, 26/30, seasoned, service case, UPC 69472-XXXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp cooked, 26/30, tail on, frozen service case, UPC 89439-XXXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp cooked, service case, UPC 89461-XXXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp cooked, seasoned, 26/30, service case, UPC 98107-XXXXX. Package size varies.
- Shrimp cocktail, 26/30, UPC 99479-5XXXX, package size varies.
- Shrimp, cooked, peeled, 26/30, UPC 40401-370681, two-pound packages
Customers with questions can call the Aqua Star Consumer Hotline at 1-800-232-6280.
"We are sorry for this inconvenience. Your safety is important to us," Kroger wrote in its notice.
The shrimp recall tops up a rough year for food safety in the U.S. By November, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention had undertaken 22 food safety investigations, the most in at least 12 years, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wrote.
Some of the problems can be linked to deregulatory moves by the Trump administration, the NRDC explained. An outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce that killed at least five people midyear was potentially caused by irrigation water contaminated by a nearby factory farm, but Trump's Food and Drug Administration suspended testing and inspection for irrigation water used on vegetables in 2017.
Crop scientist Dr. Sarah Taber wrote for Slate that Trump's hardline stance on immigration could also be partly to blame, since it makes the immigrants who do the nation's frontline farm work feel increasingly insecure. Taber explained:
[T]o do even the most basic food safety practices, you need workers who can get trained, stay, and put that training to work. Any situation that disrupts the farm workplace, increases turnover, or incentivizes workers to keep quiet and not get noticed has consequences for food safety. And the recent immigration crackdowns are more than disruptive enough to affect farm operations' safety practices.
Kroger has not released any information about how raw or under-cooked shrimp ended up labeled as fully cooked, so there is no way to assess if this outbreak specifically could have been impacted by the current administration's policies.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.
And the reports are having an impact.
Studies by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication show that in communities where local weather forecasters are reporting on the climate crisis, "public opinion is changing more rapidly", said Ed Maibach, director of the center and an author of the studies. "We showed a really strong impact – people who saw the climate reporting came to understand climate change was more personally relevant," he said.
The change has come as meteorologists and weather forecasters themselves have changed their opinions on the climate crisis and its causes. In 2008 a survey of some American Meteorological Society members found that only 24% of weathercasters agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warming was caused by humans. In 2010, a study by Maibach found that 54% agreed that global warming is happening. But by 2017 a full 90% agreed that climate crisis is happening, and 80% indicated it was human-caused.
"There's been an enormous shift," he said.
The change has been partially brought about by Climate Central's Climate Matters reporting program founded after Maibach released a study showing that the public has a high degree of trust with local forecasters.
"All TV weather forecasters are really good science communicators," Maibach says. Not only are they scientists, but they are trusted by their viewers because they don't generally report on politics or other controversial topics, he says.
Today, more than 600 TV weathercasters participate in the program, which provides training, scientific information, charts and videos for education and newsroom use.
Here's a snapshot of four of those local TV news forecasters.
‘You have the chance to shift the public view a little’
Keith Carson, WLBZ/WCSH, Maine
At the beginning of his career, Carson wasn't fully onboard with the idea that climate crisis was occurring and it was caused by humans. Carson began working in the field in 2006. Today, though, he says: "Frankly it's getting harder and harder to deny it scientifically." And now he knows how easy it is now for anyone to twist facts and create even more divisiveness.
These days, Carson regularly shares information about the climate crisis and other scientific topics with viewers through a nightly science segment called "Brain Drops".
For Carson, the issue is bigger than just climate change. "If people are going to dismiss science and the scientific process, it opens the door for other regressions," in scientific thinking.
Carson talks about climate change with his viewers about once every two weeks. "I think it's important to do, but not to hammer it daily. It's against human nature to change minds, and hammering it home daily would make some people dig in more." He approaches the topic like many of his colleagues do, by simply presenting the facts about what is happening.
Weathercasters, he says, have a unique opportunity because they are an integral, well liked part of the community, "and you have the chance to shift opinion a little".
While Carson does get some pushback from viewers, most of those who comment on his climate reporting are not his viewers, he says.
From stories on breweries to ranchers: find a way to relate
Elisa Raffa, of KOLR10/KOZL, Springfield, Missouri
Raffa, a self-described science geek, believes her job is to educate her viewers about how climate change will impact them. She's done stand-alone news segments about how climate change will impact fishing in local lakes, a local coffee shop and a local brewery. One piece detailed how ranchers must be more careful with their cattle as black vultures move into the region because of warming temperatures.
"It gets people to look at climate change outside of the political realm," she says.
Raffa is careful to ask objective questions about things such as precipitation and temperature, and rarely outwardly underscores climate change as the problem. Her sources usually do that themselves. That hits home with viewers who see climate change from a relatable perspective.
"Climate change will impact us in so many ways, and I love teaching my viewers and helping them learn how they can prepare and adapt and be more resilient," she said.
In addition to her special reports, Raffa talks about the climate crisis in subtle ways during her forecasts. She highlighted a recent uptick in morning high temperatures hoping to show her viewers that overnight temperatures are increasing.
"This is what I signed up for," she said. "This is a science issue. It's my duty to communicate this to the public. If I don't, who is going to?"
‘I used to be more subtle … but now we see more effects’
Jorge Torres, KOB-TV, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Over his career, Torres, chief meteorologist at KOB, has become bolder in addressing climate change. "In the beginning I was more subtle, but as more and more facts become apparent, I am more open now saying this is human induced. For me the biggest aspect is carbon dioxide," he says. "We are seeing that increasing globally and we are seeing the effects locally."
Earlier this year, Torres did an extensive news piece on the issue of water in New Mexico and how smaller snow pack will impact the state's water supply. Temperatures are getting warmer and warmer as well, he says, a fact that he points out during his daily forecasts.
"Whenever the weather story allows me to say," something about the climate crisis, he does, but he ensures it is in the proper context.
The bottom line is that he wants viewers to be open-minded about it. "Don't just hear something and dismiss it."
The forecaster quoting Bubba Gump
Heather Waldman, WGRZ, Buffalo, New York
As the trusted "station scientist", Waldman says that talking about the climate crisis is a natural fit for her and other weathercasters. "It fits in our identity."
Waldman and her station have unveiled a series of short, entertaining and informative videos called "the climate minute", that are online and are scheduled to run this week on TV.
Weather presenter Heather Waldman talks global heating in 'The Climate Minute' – video
The one-minute videos are time-consuming to produce because while Waldman uses information from Climate Matters, she also does her own research, reading IPCC and other reports.
She says she decided on short one-minute videos because she doesn't want to lose the audiences' attention.
"The audience isn't going to pay attention to anything for more than a couple of minutes and we use succinct, catchy images. The goal to find some sort of thing, where people say oh, this will have an impact – this is affecting me right now."
On an upcoming piece on how ocean acidification is affecting shrimp populations, she is using Bubba Gump shrimp quotes to keep it fun.
"Intrinsically we have the responsibility to present not just weather facts but climate facts – we don't want to pontificate, but we want to make them actionable and entertaining."
Pam Radtke Russell is a senior editor at Engineering News-Record, in New Orleans, and a specialist on climate adaptation.
By Thomas Cronin
When you think about fearsome predators in the ocean, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a shark. Sure, sharks are ok, with their sleek, menacing shape and their gaping jaws with rows of jagged teeth. But if you were a fish living on a coral reef or cruising along the shore over the sands of a tropical island, you would fear a far more terrifying predator.
Consider an armored, tank-like creature looking something like a lobster. Most are quite small, often tinier than your little finger, though some can be as long as your forearm. This animal doesn't swim around like a shark; instead, it hides in the sand or in rocky holes in coral, searching the water above with constantly roving eyes. It can snatch prey right out of the water in a tiny fraction of a second.
And it accomplishes this feat without claws. Instead, it's armed with a powerful pair of what scientists call "raptorial appendages" that end in a brutal hammer or a series of vicious, pointed spines. These prey-catching arms look somewhat like the front legs of a praying mantis, which gives these creatures their name—mantis shrimps.
They're crustaceans—the group of hard-shelled animals that includes crabs, lobsters and shrimps. The strength of the mantis shrimps' raptorial arms together with their amazing eyes make them perfect predators.
Massively Powerful Predators
Mantis shrimps' raptorial appendages contain massive muscles that can extend them to their full length in hundredths of a second, producing strike forces that in some species can smash through the glass wall of an aquarium or instantly dismember a crab. These smashing attacks are so forceful they produce tiny bubbles in the water. When these cavitation bubbles collapse in a flash of light, they release additional energy onto the target. Boat propellers and turbine blades are often ruined by cavitation forces; mantis shrimps use them to crack the hard shells of their victims.
Other species, with spiny raptorial appendages, impale fish or shrimp with a vice-like grip that allows the mantis shrimp to drag them down into its burrow—often, in the blink of an eye.
Mantis shrimps—properly called stomatopod crustaceans—first appeared in the oceans about 400 million years ago, and have been evolving on their own route to perfection ever since. By now, they are only distantly related to any other living animal, including ones that arose from their crustacean ancestors. They're so unusual that they seem to have arrived from another planet—in fact, vision scientist Mike Land jokingly calls them "shrimps from Mars."
There are almost 500 known species of mantis shrimp. However, they stay well concealed in their rocky and sandy burrows, and only a few scientists study them, so there are probably many new mantis shrimps yet to be discovered. Almost all live in shallow, marine waters and most inhabit the tropics.
Remarkable Eyes of the Mantis Shrimp
Like all crustaceans (insects, too), mantis shrimps have compound eyes—think of the eyes of crabs, bees or butterflies. Each eye has hundreds of separate facets, each of which is a single unit of the entire compound eye. But mantis shrimp eyes are far more specialized than all other compound eyes, in some ways more than any other eyes biologists have ever discovered.
For one thing, each eye is like three eyes squeezed into one. The three parts all look at the same point in space, much as our two separate eyes focus on the same scene. We use our two eyes to locate an object in space. Mantis shrimps can work out the distance to objects they're looking at using a single eye.
Two eye parts, at the top and bottom of the eye, are probably involved in this distance vision. The third part is built from parallel rows of facets that run around the middle of the eye like a belt. Usually there are six rows, though a few species have only two. This part of the eye is called the "midband," and it supports many special abilities.
Further, most mantis shrimps see ultraviolet light – part of the electromagnetic spectrum that causes sunburn in you or me and that is invisible to our eyes. Mantis shrimps not only sense this light, but with their specialized midbands they even see separate colors of it.
This feature is on top of another set of color detectors that see the same visible light we're used to—but in eight color channels as opposed to the three primary colors we see. Imagine trying to build a TV that looks right to a mantis shrimp. Besides the red, green, and blue colors that your TV uses to create a vivid picture, it would require pixels for violet, indigo, blue-green, orange and a deeper red than we can see.
And the midband can do even more. It can detect the polarization of light—where all the waves vibrate in the same plane. Our eyes cannot see this property of light. Mantis shrimps image things using it.
So putting together all its visual talents, when a mantis shrimp sees a fish, it's in patterns of ultraviolet colors, eight primary regular colors and polarized light. Their eyes gather all this information and pass it on to the animal's brain, so it can decide what to attack, when to attack it, how far away it is, and what it looks like in a dozen different ways. It's hard for a human to even imagine the visual world of a mantis shrimp.
Letting Down Its Defenses
With superpower vision coupled to explosive predatory arms, it seems like mantis shrimps would be invincible. But even these animals have their worries. Mantis shrimps can not only kill other animals, like fish, octopus or crabs. They can also kill each other. This raises a serious problem. Eventually, it's time to reproduce—but how does a mantis shrimp know when another one it meets wants to mate rather than make a murderous assault?
Mantis shrimps have been forced to evolve ways to recognize when it's safe to get intimate and to signal their own nonlethal intent. They use their special vision for this too. Mantis shrimps are often brightly colored, and they display patterns—invisible to us—in ultraviolet and polarized light. The complicated displays inform other members of their species, or of different ones, what they plan to do. If their plans include reproduction, and the viewer is of similar mind, then they can safely mate and initiate a new generation of their species.
So, yes—sharks are all right. But do they have bullet-like strikes? Do they have super-vision? Can they take down prey in milliseconds? It's mantis shrimps that have these abilities, and they use them to become some of the world's most impressive predators.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.