2017-12-07 / Editorial Page

Consumers get answers from Ga. Department of Agriculture

Consumer Q’s is a weekly ques­tion and-answer column by Arty Schronce at the Georgia Depart­ment of Agriculture. Please share your thoughts, questions and sug­gestions with him by phone, mail or email. Q: Do we grow Fraser firs in Georgia?

A: There are a few farms that grow Fraser (sometimes misspelled Frasier) firs but most of them sold in the state are from points north. The Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is native to the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Because it cannot handle hot temperatures, it cannot be grown in some parts of Georgia. In those areas, Georgia Christmas tree farmers grow red cedar, Leyland cypress, Virginia pine, deodar cedar, Arizona cypress and other conifers.

Q: Can double-yolk eggs be used the same as regular eggs?

A: In most baking recipes, double- yolk eggs can be used on a one-for- one basis for regular eggs. You may find that your cakes will be richer than those made with regular eggs. If the two yolks look very large and you are afraid they will upset the yolk-albumen ratio in your recipe, then set the double yolker aside and use it for scrambling, frying or making an omelet.

The release of more than one yolk at a time is due to a glitch in the egg-laying cycle and is more com­mon in young hens. As the hens get older, they tend to settle into laying single-yolk eggs. Double yolks are also more common in meat-type strains of hens versus egg-type hens. Genetics may also be a factor involved with some hens naturally producing a higher percentage of double-yolk eggs than others.

Q: What kind of kerosene should be burned in a home heater?

A: Only K-1 kerosene should be burned in a home heater. Also, heat­er manufacturers and the Georgia Department of Agriculture recom­mend clear, non-dyed fuel for home use because over an extended period of time, dye can damage a heater. Be sure to follow all the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using a kerosene heater.

Q: Is it safe to cook meat in a crock pot?

A: Slow cookers or crock pots can safely cook food. These coun­tertop appliances cook foods slowly at a low temperature – generally between 170 degrees F and 280 de­grees F. The low heat helps leaner, less expensive, cuts of meat become tender and causes less shrinkage. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created within the tightly covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make a slow cooker or crock pot a safe option for cooking foods.

Q: How close should a house­plant be placed to an incandescent light?

A: Generally, it is best to keep the tops of plants at least one foot away from incandescent light sources. A rule of thumb is: If your hand feels warm when held at the foliage clos­es to the light source, the plant is too close. Because compact fluorescent light bulbs generate less heat, they can be used closer to houseplants.

Q: Where do mosquitoes go in the winter?

A: In Georgia some species of mosquitoes overwinter in the egg stage and some in the adult stage. The adults that overwinter are fe­males that will be able to start lay­ing eggs again when warm weather returns in the spring. Mosquitoes that overwinter as adults undergo changes in body chemistry that en­able them to endure the cold.

Q: My house has a Southwest desert décor. I want to use cac­tuses indoors. Do they make good houseplants?

A: There are numerous types of cacti that may be used as house­plants. Visit a local garden center to see some of the options. Cacti do have a high light requirement and are unsuitable for dark rooms.

Q: How many bones does a turkey have?

A: A turkey has about 200 bones.

Q: What is a capon?

A: A capon is a male chicken about 16 weeks to eight months old which is surgically unsexed. They weigh about four to seven pounds and have a good quantity of tender, light meat. They are usually roasted.

If you have questions about agri­culture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agri­culture, write Arty Schronce (arty. schronce@agr.georgia.gov) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.

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