Today is November 3, 2021

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Jellyfish Day

The world’s oceans are diverse ecosystems that are home to many creatures large and small. When beach-goers enter the water, they should understand that they may be sharing the sea with crabs, fish and even mammals. Some sea creatures are relatively harmless, while others can be more dangerous in certain situations. Understanding the differences can keep both marine life and people safe.

Jellyfish are marine creatures that call the saltwater home in various areas and during different months of the year. There are more than 200 species of jellyfish, which come in a diverse range of forms. Jellyfish can be found in every ocean in the world, and some can thrive in freshwater lakes and ponds as well.

The jellyfish’s main defense mechanisms are its stings and its transparent body, which make it hard to see in the water. Jellyfish have the potential to sting, and some dangerous varieties can even cause death. Beach-goers’ best defense is to learn about jellyfish, including how to recognize those that pose a threat to human health.

The sea wasp of coastal Australia and Indo-Pacific regions; the chiropsalmus quadrigatus of the same region; the tiny irukandji, which has spread to many different waters; and the alatina alata, found in both Pacific and Atlantic waters, are some of the world’s most dangerous jellyfish, says Smithsonian. Most of these jellies are box jellyfish, which get their name from the cube-shaped swimming bell. Stings can be extremely painful, and some are fatal to humans, although there are some antivenoms available in Australia, where many encounters with this type of jellyfish occur.

Many people will never encounter a deadly variety of jellyfish. However, jellyfish populations generally are on the rise, and that figures to lead to an increase in stings as well. In 2018, more than 1,000 people were stung on a Florida beach in one week. The National Marine Fisheries Service says there have been more blooms of jellyfish in different parts of the world. Agricultural runoff, commercial fishing and warmer oceans have contributed to the increased jellyfish population in recent years.

Most jellyfish stings occur in the summer and fall when people are most active at the beach. Jellyfish stings can be treated with vinegar to neutralize the pain before removing the tentacles if they are present. Also, exercise caution when walking barefoot on the beach, as there may be jellyfish washed up on the sand.

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Tips to simplify Thanksgiving entertaining

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a houseful of close friends and relatives can be a tad overwhelming. Thanksgiving is a food- and tradition-centric holiday, and all eyes will are typically on the dinner table. Pulling off a feast of this magnitude – multiple courses, side dishes and desserts – takes considerable effort. These tips, tricks and timesavers can be a Thanksgiving host’s saving grace.

Pick the menu early

Don’t leave menu planning and shopping to the last minute. Decide what you’ll be cooking in addition to turkey several weeks before the big day. Select two or three side dishes, preferably items that can be prepared in advance and then reheated on Thanksgiving. These can include a baked macaroni-and-cheese casserole, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a cornbread stuffing.

Brine your bird

Turkey is the centerpiece of the feast, so give it every opportunity to shine. No one wants a dry turkey, but unfortunately this lean poultry can dry out easily. Meats typically lose about 30 percent of their weight during cooking. However, by soaking the turkey in a brine prior to cooking it, you can reduce this moisture loss to as little as 15 percent, according to Dr. Estes Reynolds, a brining expert at the University of Georgia. Brining the fowl for a day or more can infuse flavor and moisture. Food Network personality Alton Brown has a fan-favorite roast turkey recipe with an aromatic brine that has garnered five stars and was featured on his show “Good Eats” (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe-1950271). A simple salted water soak also can work.

Start prep work a few days before Thanksgiving

Take some stress out of Thanksgiving by cutting all vegetables and/or preparing some dishes a few days early. Label and organize prepared ingredients by recipe and store in the refrigerator. Make extra room in the fridge by removing nonessential items and placing them in a cooler with ice and cleaning out any old food or condiments. Plan your table settings and label which bowls and other serving dishes will be used for which items. This will make it much easier to set the table on Thanksgiving.

Serve batched cocktails

It can be challenging and expensive to have a full bar for guests. Mulled wine, hot cider and punches are ideal ways to service a crowd looking for delicious spirited drinks.

Create simple centerpieces

Use seasonal sights for your centerpieces or place settings. These can include small squashes, gourds, citrus fruits, nuts, or acorns. A hollowed-out pumpkin filled with fresh flowers also can be eye-catching.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate bounty. Treat guests to a great experience by learning some hosting tips to make the holiday easier to manage.