WSU Extension Q&A

March 7, 2013 

Q. I’m making corned beef for the first time this year. Do you have any tips?

A. Corned beef is made from one of several less tender cuts of beef, such as the brisket, rump or round. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking.

Keep food safety in mind. It can be cooked on top of the stove or in the oven, microwave or slow cooker.

Fork-tender is a good indication of doneness, but use a food thermometer to be sure. Cook all raw corned beef to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees before removing meat from the heat source.

Corned beef still may be pink after cooking. This does not mean it is not done. Nitrite is used in the curing process. This fixes pigment in the meat and affects the color. Allow the brisket to stand for about 20 minutes. This will make it easier to slice, and it is best sliced diagonally across the grain of the meat.

Q. How soon should a lamb nurse after it is born?

A. As soon as possible. Nursing soon after birth (within the first couple of hours) will help keep lambs healthy throughout their early life.

The reason that lambs need colostrum (first milk) is because it is rich in antibodies. It is essential that lambs receive colostrum within the first 24 hours to ensure that adequate absorption of the antibodies can take place.

This transfer of antibodies through colostrum is referred to as passive immunity and is important to protect lambs from a range of diseases during the first several months, before they can make antibodies of their own.

If the lamb won’t nurse the ewe but will nurse a bottle, feeding 2 to 4 ounces of colostrum at three- to four-hour intervals will provide adequate passive immunity. If the lambs won’t nurse at all, the lamb can be fed through a stomach tube.

Q. I was looking at my roses today, and the buds appear to be swelling and starting to grow. Is it too early to prune roses? A. Yes, it’s still too early to prune your roses. The Tri-City Rose Society experts recommend not pruning your roses until forsythia (the yellow flowering shrub that flowers in early spring) blooms.

If you prune earlier, you may encourage even more rapid bud growth.

This tender young growth can be damaged by the cold and frosty nights we are still experiencing. It may be hard to resist pruning, but it’s better to wait a bit yet.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 547-3511.

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