By Peggy Crum, MA, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

Oranges are the go-to fruit during the winter months. But winter or not, fresh oranges are always in season: blood oranges from January through March, navel oranges from November through May, and juice oranges from February through October.

The common orange of Italy, Moro (blood) oranges have a red blush to their otherwise normal-looking-orange exterior; but on the inside, the fruit is maroon, deepening when growing conditions include low night temperatures. Blood oranges are tart with a hint of raspberry and plum flavor.

Navel oranges are so called because they have what looks like a belly button at their blossom end—actually a small second orange, sometimes big enough to have edible segments of its own. This mutation was discovered on a branch of the orange family tree in the mid-1800s. Since then, grafted branches continue the lineage of easy to peel, seedless, sweet fruit with just the right amount of tartness. Washingtons are the most common variety joined by Cara Cara navels from January through March. Nearly perfect for eating out of hand, navels are not perfect for juicing. Within about 30 minutes of the juice being released from the segments, an intensely bitter compound called limonin forms, overwhelming the flavor of the juice.

Juice oranges are highly preferable for juicing. Valencias, the most common variety, are large, very juicy, and sweet—the sweetest of all citrus fruits. Cool growing temperatures turn oranges from green to orange. Before harvest, if the soil is warm, chlorophyll moves back into the ripe fruit causing a little green to appear on the skin. Regreening, more likely in Valencias since they are prolific in summer months, is not a bad thing and does not affect the ripeness or quality of the fruit.

Choose oranges that are heavy for size. Store them on the countertop for only a few days before moving them to the fridge where they will keep for weeks.


Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his orange ginger chutney recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the chutney during lunch at Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here:


Spring semester has begun, but it is still winter on MSU’s campus and at our on-campus Starbucks locations. Everything is winter white, from the snow covering campus to the new Flat White beverage now available at Starbucks.

Flat White at Starbucks at Wells

Starbucks is introducing Flat White into its core beverage lineup for customers who love espresso. This creamy beverage is made with whole milk, added to ristretto shots for a strong espresso flavor, and finished with a Starbucks signature dot.

Pair your beverage with the new Salted Caramel Tart or Salted Carmel Square. If salted caramel isn’t your taste, celebrate National Croissant Day on January 30 with a La Boulange Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant or Slow-Roasted Ham & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich.

If you’re looking for some protein, try the new Squirrel Brand Nuts including Classic Almond, Crème Brulee Almonds, Black Truffle Almonds or a Fruit and Nut blend. KIND bars are also available at our on-campus Starbucks, including Almond Coconut Cashew Chai, Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Nut, Peanut Butter Chocolate + Protein and Blueberry Vanilla Cashew bars.

Starbucks merchandise.

A returning favorite, Guatemala Casi Cielo is back for a limited time. This single-origin medium roast coffee from Guatemala Antigua offers an elegant flavor complexity with a floral aroma, lemon-like acidity and a dark cocoa finish. Merchandise, including Guatemala Casi Cielo packaged and single serve coffee, is available at Starbucks at Well Hall.

Casi Cielo merchandise

Also at Starbucks at Wells Hall, enjoy special discounts on the holiday Starbucks Dot collection mugs and reusable cups. Get them while they last!

Starbucks is located at Wells Hall and the Broad College of Business, as well as the Broad Art Museum Café Proudly Serving Starbucks! Visit for our Starbucks hours of operation.


By Peggy Crum, MA, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

FreekehAncient grains seem to have complicated names. Just when we’re getting used to quinoa (pronounced kēn-wah), along comes another one! Freekeh (pronounced frē-kah) is durum wheat, harvested green and roasted. Originating in eastern Mediterranean and parts of North Africa, it is formally known as farīk (meaning “what is rubbed” in Arabic). Common names are freekeh, freeky and freek; also, firig in Turkey and gruenkern in Germany.

Freekeh’s unusual name is tied directly to its production method. Wheat is harvested early, when the leaves just begin to turn yellow and the wheat grains are still soft and creamy. After drying for a day in the sun, piles of cut wheat stalks are set ablaze in a carefully supervised way, to burn the straw and chaff. Since the wheat grains are green and high in moisture, they don’t catch fire. Next, the roasted grains are rubbed (farīk) to remove the chaff. Modern technologies have updated the production process but the result is the same smoky flavor as in times of old.

Middle Eastern specialty shops are a good source and the best buy. With freekeh’s surging popularity, you can find it in organic food stores and some supermarkets’ international aisles. If you’re an online shopper, you’ll have no problem finding freekeh. Once opened, seal it in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place for four months or, preferably, in the freezer for up to a year.

Cracked freekeh, bulgur-like in appearance, adds its unique flavor to soups and stews, thickening as it cooks—about 20 minutes at a simmer. Whole grain freekeh takes longer to cook (30 to 40 minutes), and retains a bit of a crunch. Its interesting texture makes whole grain freekeh a good choice for salads and pilafs. Middle Eastern cuisine uses sweet spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cardamom and coriander to complement freekeh’s flavor.

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his freekeh chili recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the chili during lunch at Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here:


By Gina Keilen, Culinary Services Registered Dietitian

January is National Hot Tea Month. Face value says there is a holiday for everything, but this might be something worth celebrating. Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, following water. While in America, a majority of the tea drank is iced and sweetened, there are a few reasons why a cup of hot tea can do the body good.  

Tea …

  1. Provides a great deal of antioxidants. It is related to reducing your risk of heart and cardiovascular problems, and protecting against various cancers and degenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s).
  2. Boosts your exercise endurance. The antioxidants in green tea extract can increase your body’s ability to burn fat and help improve muscle endurance.
  3. Hydrates you. Especially in the colder months when it can be harder to get your fluids, a cup of warm tea can help get you to your quota.
  4. Helps you keep your weight in check. It is calorie-free and the warmness can help boost your metabolism. 
  5. Strengthens bones.
  6. Has less caffeine than coffee. Too much caffeine can make you jittery, unable to focus and can cause indigestion, headaches or sleeping problems.

To give a little more relevant perspective … tea can boost your memory helping you cram for that exam, has less caffeine than coffee to help you focus during that three-hour lecture, it has more flavor options than coffee without the added calories of creamers or syrups and, well, it doesn’t give the dreaded coffee breath! If nothing else, a nice cup of hot tea can warm you up on a cold Michigan day in January. So celebrate by heading to our on-campus Starbucks or Sparty’s for tea or get a cup in the dining halls knowing you are doing your body good!

Gina Pull Quote

Gina Keilen is a registered dietitian and culinary coordinator for Culinary Services. If you have food allergies or intolerances, or are required to follow a special diet, Gina can help provide you with resources and information to help you make safe choices while still having a great dining experience when you Eat at State. Gina can also help you to eat healthy—our dining halls offer an incredible amount of all-you-care-to-eat options. Since many of our platforms offer made-to-order dining, you are in control of what you eat and how much, and Gina can help you decide what is right for you.


Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski’s Catalan seafood stew recipe earned him first place in the MINOR’S Battle for Bocuse d’Or Contest, and a four-night trip with a guest to Lyon, France, to watch the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition January 27-28.

In August, MINOR’S challenged foodservice operators to develop and submit their own soup recipe creations for the chance to win the trip. Entrants were required to select one option from 10 soup categories: chicken noodle, chowder (excluding clam), chowder, French onion, potato soup, seafood bisque, tortilla soup, minestrone, vegetable bisque and vegetable soup.

“We feature different seafood stews here on campus already, so I was just thinking about something different,” said Chef Kurt. “I just happened to be watching an episode of No Reservation. Anthony Bourdain and José Andrés were making a seafood stew. It wasn’t much different than what we’re already doing on campus, but they made a picatta as a thickening agent. We don’t use a thickening agent. I was fascinated by that and just did a lot of research and played around with the recipe.”

“Everyone once in a while, we bring different groups in to do some team building,” said Chef Kurt. “I was working with our Creative Services department and they made the stew. They said it was really good! It was pretty easy to make, so I decided, alright, that’s the soup that I’m going to go with for the recipe.”

A MINOR’S panel of judges reviewed the recipes based on the combination of flavor, creativity and operational efficiency and selected one finalist from each category. Chef Kurt’s Catalan seafood stew rose to the top of the chowder (excluding clam) category.

“The final soups were judged before a panel of five chefs,” Chef Kurt said. “I got the call that said hands down mine had the best flavor profile and authenticity.”

Chef Kurt said it will be an honor to sit in the stands, rooting for Team USA at the Bocuse d'Or competition. He will sport some green and white in addition to his red, white and blue.

 “I see this as a great honor for MSU,” Kwiatkowski said, “and for everything we are doing here in Culinary Services.”

Chef Kurt