Q. Can I use my own salsa recipe for home canning?
A. The trouble with canning your own salsa recipes is that most recipes contain low-acid ingredients. Low-acid foods either need to be pressure canned or "properly acidified" for boiling water canning. Either way, a process time needs to be determined for any particular recipe to ensure that spoilage or sickness-causing microorganisms will be destroyed. Processing time varies based on pH, solid-to-liquid ratio, and size and shape of the jar. A recipe was recently developed for canning salsa that allows for flexibility. It is called Choice Salsa and can be found at http://nchfp. uga.edu/how/can_salsa/choice_salsa.html.
Q. What kind of hay are the judges looking for to win the "Hay King Contest" at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo?
A. The dairy hay should have been cut pre-bud to early-bud stage. It should have a natural green color and not look yellow or bleached. It should be leafy, and the leaves should remain on the stem. The stems should be large and pliable, not brittle. The hay should be free from any moldy or burned smell. Deductions are taken for foreign material, including dust, weeds and odd grasses. It also must be free of noxious weeds. Seventy percent of the score is from the visual score from the judges. The other 30 percent is from the relative feed value from laboratory testing.
Q. This will be the first time our 4-H Club members will be exhibiting at the fair. Do all 4-H youth exhibitors receive ribbons?
A. Yes, in a 4-H event, it is possible for all members to receive a blue, red or white ribbon. 4-H uses the Danish judging system, as opposed to the American judging system. This means 4-H members are judged against a set of standards that they have been learning about during the past year. Through this system, they are in competition to meet the standard not against each other. They are ranked according to how well they met that standard. The American system only awards one blue, one red and one white to the top three placings. The 4-H philosophy contends that the Danish system builds more positive self-esteem.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.