Q. Some of my recipes use alcohol as an ingredient. Is it true that cooking destroys the alcohol?
A. Contrary to what most people believe, when using beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages in recipes, quite a bit of alcohol can be left after cooking. Research conducted at the United States Department of Agriculture found the following:
When alcohol is added to food that won't be heated again, the amount that is left is:
-- 100 percent with immediate consumption
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-- 85 percent when alcohol is added to boiling liquid
-- 75 percent when flamed
-- 70 percent overnight storage
For food that will continue to be heated after the addition of alcohol, i.e. baked or simmered:
-- 15 minutes, 40 percent remains
-- 30 minutes, 35 percent remains
-- 1 hour, 25 percent remains
-- 1.5 hours, 20 percent remains
-- 2 hours, 10 percent remains
-- 2.5 hours, 5 percent remains.
Clearly, the belief that cooking destroys alcohol is a misconception unless that food is heated for an extended period of time. The good news is there are many substitutions for alcohol that can be used in recipes.
Q. We live in an apartment and don't have any place to raise large animals. What are some small animals my kids could raise in their 4-H club?
A. 4-H allows a variety of animals. As long as your apartment permits, you could raise guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets or any other type of pocket pets, as well as cats and dogs. In 4-H the cats and dogs do not have to be purebred show animals but must have the ability to be shown. The animals provide the opportunity for the youth to develop lifelong skills.
Q. I had tomato hornworms on my tomato plants last year. Someone told me to till my garden twice a year, in the fall and the spring, and I wouldn't have them anymore. Have you heard of this and what does tilling do to prevent the worms?
A. Tomato hornworm overwinter as pupae in the soil. Tillage may reduce tomato hornworm populations by destruction of the pupae in the soil. This is not a reliable method to eradicate them, but would likely reduce the population.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.