2011-06-23 / News

Consumers get answers from Ga. Department of Agriculture

Gary W. Black, Commissioner, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30334, www.agr. georgia.gov. Find us on Facebook.

Q: What are cabbage sprouts? They look like cabbage heads but are smaller. They are larger than Brussels sprouts and not as hard.

A: The sprouts that arise on a cabbage plant after the main head is cut are sometimes referred to as “cabbage sprouts.” These heads are smaller and looser (not as firm and solid) as the primary head. Because they are looser, they are generally cooked rather than being grated into slaw. Try cooking them with liquid (water or broth) and some butter, olive oil or bacon grease. Some people consider cabbage sprouts a real delicacy. They are not commonly available commercially. Check for them at local farmers markets.

Q: I heard a farmer on the news talking about the drought say it was so dry he “dusted in” a crop.” What does that mean? He was not referring to crop dusting or dusting with an insecticide.

A: When a farmer says he “dusted in” his corn crop, he means that he sowed the corn seed while the ground was dry. His tractor and equipment may have made dust rise in their wake, hence the term. The farmer sometimes sows seeds in dry conditions in hopes that rain will arrive soon and cause the seed to germinate.

Q: I’m eating a lot of cantaloupes now. The seeds look meaty, and I think birds that eat sunflower seeds may eat them. Can I use the seeds in my bird feeder?

A: Yes. A few of our native birds that will eat cantaloupe seeds are cardinals, catbirds, nuthatches, blue jays, chickadees and mourning doves. Rinse the pulp off the cantaloupe seeds. Let them dry and mix them with your regular birdseed or serve them by themselves. To save cantaloupe seeds for use in the winter, let the seeds dry for about 48 hours and store them in an airtight container. Why not share Georgia cantaloupes with our feathered friends!

Q: I have been reading about how healthy lima beans are and have been eating more of them. I found fresh lima beans at the farmers market. I am familiar only with dried ones and didn’t even know we grew lima beans in Georgia. Do you have some suggestions on cooking them?

A: Yes, indeed we do grow limas in Georgia. And, like you, more people are discovering how healthy they are. If the beans are still in the pod, split the pod open and push the beans out. Rinse the shelled beans. Place the limas in a pot of boiling water or stock. You can also put them in the liquid and bring them to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender (five to 20 minutes depending on the size of the beans.) The fresh beans can also be steamed. You can also find young limas in the freezer section of the grocery store. Cook them the same way. Add salt, pepper, butter or seasonings as desired.

If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at www.agr. georgia.gov or write us at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 227, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail us at info@agr.georgia.gov. To learn more about agricultural issues, get garden tips and find sources for flowers, livestock and other agricultural products, consider a subscription to The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions for Georgia residents are $10 per year. To start or renew a subscription, send a check or money order payable to Market Bulletin at the address above.

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