I visited the 2012 Young Scientist Exhibition last week and came across a couple of interesting projects which demonstrate that there are teenagers out there putting their brains to work in the food sector. It is only when you see that many enthusiastic kids under one roof you think, yes, perhaps we can create a bright future, but not if we lose them to foreign climes permanently.
One project from Coláiste Treasa in Cork stated that with the addition of 10 per cent flax seed to the daily diet of egg producing hens (at a cost of 1 cent per hen per day ) the eggs produced contain the recommended daily allowance of omega 3. Each egg had its omega 3 content increased to 6.5 times the normal level. Having bought omega 3 oil for myself I thought, wow, what a simple and cheap way to get the stuff into your body. Most omega 3 oils taste dreadful and are very expensive, plus if they are stored badly or get exposed to warm or hot temperatures they are ruined. If you are someone who sprinkles flax seed on your brecky or other dishes you should be aware that the human body can only absorb the goodness if you have zapped it in a mini blender or somehow crushed it. Otherwise it is a case of whole flaxseed in, whole flaxseed out.
The next project I noticed was one from the Ursuline Convent in Thurles where pupils experimented with growing plants with the addition of magnetised water. Magnetised water is simply water that has been exposed to magnets for a specific time (no cost involved really, just a few magnets in or underneath the watering container ). They had a 22 per cent increase in the growth rate of rape seed and similar results with rocket and radishes. They also mentioned some reports they found on the web about people who drank magnetised water who had original colour return to their grey hair. I had a look myself, and if you are interested just google magnetised water.
There were projects about subliminal effects of food packaging, there was even a project which researched the bubblegum that made the biggest bubble! I never had the opportunity to do something like this but would love to have done so. If you can encourage children to participate it is a fantastic opportunity and learning experience for them.
If you are a lover of these briny creatures remember that we are now well into the season for native oysters. In my opinion there is no comparison between the big, knobbly, Pacific oyster and the smooth, perfectly shaped, native oyster. When you are eating these you are partaking of a delicacy that Caesar and his noble mates in Rome regarded as a supreme delicacy. In fact when they invaded Britain and found a plentiful supply around the coast they had them shipped back to Rome. They are not cheap but the oysters from Kilcolgan/Clarinbridge cost four or five times the price we pay when they reach Paris or Zurich each week.
Cases Wine course starts Thursday February 2 at 8pm. It takes place every Thursday for four weeks at a cost of €80 and you will have six to eight wines each night. It is aimed at enthusiastic beginners. For more information call Peter Boland at 091 764701.