Dangerous Working Conditions For Some Meat Processsing Workers, Flowers And Blossoms To Use In Your Kitchen, Trump-Putin Meeting

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The nasturtium is a common edible flower that has a slightly spicy flavor to its sweetness.
F Delventhal (CC BY 2.0)

Wisconsin is home to many poultry processing plants big and small, including companies like Jennie-O Turkey Store, Pilgrim’s (formerly Gold’n Plump) and Brakebush Brothers. We talk to a reporter about the series of serious injuries that have occurred at some of these plants in the last few years and the bigger picture of this nationwide. We also talk to a culinary expert about edible flowers and blossoms. Finally, we examine President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and get an update on where the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election stands today.

Featured in this Show

  • Working Conditions Inside Midwest's Poultry Processing Plants

    A new student-reported investigation sheds light on the dangerous conditions some workers face at poultry processing plants, dozens of which are located in Wisconsin. We talk to the project’s editor about worker safety in the plants, and the issue of underreporting.

  • Garnish Meals With These Edible Flowers

    Dani Lind never much considered eating wild flowers until one experience in sixth grade turned that around.

    Pretending to be voyagers with other campers at a site in northern Minnesota, Lind harvested dandelions that were later turned into fritters over the campfire.

    “I just remember being blown away by that because my mom had a big flower garden and we had a vegetable garden, and I had just never heard of eating flowers, especially not ones that I considered to be a weed,” said Lind, who operates Rooted Spoon Culinary, a catering business in Viroqua that specializes in local, seasonal foods.

    Now, 30 years later, rarely a plate goes out from her catering business without a flower ingredient, she said.

    “We really like to use them a lot as garnish, because they say you eat first with the eyes and first impressions are everything, so if we can make a plate a little bit more beautiful with a splash of color and an extra nice fragrance or spice, it just makes things a little more special,” she said.

    Wild Flowers

    Elderberry flowers. Fort Greene Focus (CC BY-ND 2.0)

    Lind said she particularly enjoys elderberry blossoms this time of year.

    These mild flowers serve medicinal purposes, too. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the flowers in tea can help relieve fevers, headaches and indigestion.

    Other petals favored by Lind include the orange day lily petals, which Lind describes as “sweet and tender.” She said these petals are great raw in salads and slaw, but can also be used in cooking. Lind warns another favorite, wild bergamot with its pale purple flower, is spicy and peppery.

    Come springtime, she recommends black locust blossoms, which she said have pea-shaped flowers that are white and fragrant with a sweet, tropical smell.

    Other options to try include apple and plum blossom petals, chickweed, chicory, clover, columbine, comfrey, garlic mustard, honeysuckle (avoid the berries, which are poisonous), lilac, mint, rose, violet and wood sorrel.

    When foraging, Lind advises foragers stay away from areas that have possibly been sprayed with pesticides or could be in the way of runoff.

    Steer clear of commercial forests too, she advises, unless they specialize in organic plants.

    Veggie Flowers

    Zucchini flower. Jamie Anderson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Other options for flowers are right on the plants that grow the fruits and vegetables we’re already used to enjoying.

    Once it starts to blossom, kale’s flowers turn a shade of yellow and are just as edible as the leaves.

    The same is true for flowers from broccoli, arugula, peas and radishes. Lind’s favorite are zucchini flowers, which she said pair well with salads or omelets.

    Zucchini flowers taste like a fresh, sweet squash,” she said.

    She warned that not all vegetable flowers are edible, directing foragers away from members of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant. Flowers in the genus have five petals that can be fused together, and they often are colored white, yellow or purple. Their roots and leaves are inedible, too.

    Flowers In Tea

    Basil flowers. cskk (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Lind said flowers of basil, mint or lemon balm are great options for tea or other refreshments.

    To use these in tea, she said:

    1. Add one part water to one part honey or sugar and bring to a boil.

    2. Turn off the heat and pack the pot full of flowers such as rose petals, hibiscus, lilac, lavender or basil.

    3. Let that steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and refrigerate. It will keep for a week or two.

    Lind said plants aren’t useless once they blossom, but rather are transferring energy to their flowers, leaving them as sweet and delicious alternatives to the bitter leaves.

  • Flowers So Pretty You CAN Eat Them

    Many times of flowers and blossoms can be great additions to the dinner table, including some wild, others you can find in your garden, and other herb and vegetable flowers and blossoms. We talk to a local caterer and flower expert about how to harvest these flowers, which ones to look for and ideas for using them in your next meal.

  • An Update On The Mueller Investigation

    12 Russian agents have been charged with hacking into the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. We look at where the investigation led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections stands today. We also discuss President Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Rachael Vasquez Producer
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Sara Shipley Hiles Guest
  • Dani Lind Guest
  • Katy Harriger Guest

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