Q. Is a slow cooker safe to use? I’m worried about the low temperature and the safety of the food.
A. Yes, it cooks foods safely and slowly at a low temperature; generally between 170 degrees and 280 degrees. The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrink less. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process. Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker, and keep the lid in place.
Q. What’s the difference between blackberries, marionberries, boysenberries and loganberries?
A. The blackberry is a fruit belonging to the genus rubus. There can be many hybrids of blackberries just like there are many varieties of wine grapes. Marionberries, also known as marion blackberries, are a specific hybrid of blackberries. A loganberry is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. The boysenberry is a cross between raspberries and loganberries and made famous by Knott’s Berry Farm in California.
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Q. I want to know more about what my kids can do in 4-H. What’s available?
A. Every club is different because each 4-H club caters to the needs of the youth members in that club. Every spring, usually in March, the Benton-Franklin 4-H Program hosts an educational event called “Gear Up for Fair.” It gives kids a chance to learn about doing three projects of their choice. It features many of the nonlivestock projects available for exhibition at the Benton-Franklin County Fair. Call for more information 509-545-3511.
Q. Is the United States the largest corn producer in the world?
A. If gold medals were given out for corn production, the United States of America would own them all. World Corn Production in 2009 was 817 million metric tons. United State produced 41 percent of all world production. Other countries include: China 29 percent, Brazil 7 percent, Mexico 2 percent, Indonesia 2 percent, India 2 percent, France 2 percent, Argentina 2 percent, South Africa 1 percent, Ukraine 1 percent, and combined rest of the world 11 percent. So, if the United States has poor production in a drought year, it can have a large impact on the world.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 547-3511.