Q. I am planning to cook a ham for our New Year’s celebration. When I buy a ham that says fully cooked, do I have to heat it before eating it?
A. If you are new to hams, they can be confusing. Hams sold in the grocery store are either ready-to-eat or fresh. The ready-to-eat hams are fully cooked and are safe to eat without further heating. However, lots of people reheat these hams because they prefer to eat them hot. The temperature of the product is not critical to the safety, as it was already fully cooked.
By contrast, a fresh ham or ham product requires cooking in order to be safe. These hams will include cooking instructions and safe-handling instructions on the label.
Q. How do you tell the difference between termites and ants with wings?
A. Winged ants have elbowed antennae, the front wings are larger than the rear wings, and the point that attaches the thorax and abdomen is narrow. Termites have straight (not elbowed) antennae, the front and rear wings are the same size, and the point that attaches the thorax and abdomen is broad.
Q. Is crested wheatgrass good for a cattle pasture?
A. Crested wheatgrass is particularly well adapted to low precipitation zones. While it is not as productive as some other grasses, it is drought tolerant and can be used effectively in those dry environments if proper grazing management is practiced.
The growth begins early in the spring, but following heading, protein drops rapidly and the forage becomes very coarse and less palatable. Once crested wheatgrass has achieved sufficient spring growth to support grazing, cattle will do well until heading. It is possible that fall rains will bring adequate green growth to allow for some grazing in the fall.
Q. Is there any 4-H project that can help the kids in my club learn about insects?
A. We have a new national curriculum to guide parents or volunteers through the scientific process of exploring bugs through hands-on learning. Entomology is the best bug project out there. You can get more information about this fun project from the WSU Franklin County Extension Office at 509-545-3511 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.