Things that Get Better with Age
On August 21, the United States celebrates Senior Citizen Day, a tradition started by President Reagan in 1988. On this day, we celebrate the contributions of senior citizens in our society, and we acknowledge the issues that affect them. We at Heart to Home Meals wish every senior a Happy Senior Citizen Day!
- Cheese: Every cheese is aged or ripened before consumption. This process occurs when enzymes break down milk proteins, giving each cheese its distinctive flavor and texture. Some cheeses are aged for only a brief time, such as ricotta, but some can be aged for years or even decades, like some kinds of cheddar!
- Wine: Some of the best red wines from renowned wine regions like Bordeaux, Rioja, and Napa get better the longer they age. This is due to chemical changes to tannins, molecules that occur naturally in grapes, which develop a smoother texture as the wine ages. While some varieties of white wines can age, high quality red wines tend to have the best aging potential.
- Whiskey: Like wine, whiskey is another alcoholic beverage that can be aged. Most distilleries let the spirit mature for at least three years, but some can be aged for up to 25 years. By aging whiskey in oak barrel casks, the wood traps large molecules, creating a smoother flavor.
- Cast iron skillets: Unlike other types of cookware, cast iron skillets only get better when aged. Every time a person cooks with their cast iron cookware, the oil hardens in a process called polymerization, forming a protective coating around the iron. This vastly increases the iron’s durability—some families can even pass down cast iron skillets for generations!
- Seedlings: Each tree begins its life journey as a tiny seed. The seedling requires ample water and light to enable its growth, becoming taller and developing harder protective bark. With time and care, a seedling can grow into a tall tree —for redwoods, the tallest type of tree, a mature specimen can be as tall as hundreds of feet.
- You: The natural process of aging comes with many benefits, both physical and mental. Studies show that seniors are the most satisfied age group, with higher self-esteem and more workplace satisfaction. In terms of health, seniors have less severe allergies and catch colds at a much lower rate than younger demographic groups.