Monday, November 18, 2013

Talking Turkey

Note to all Wise County residents, did you realize that Thanksgiving is just around the corner?  It’s time to give thanks and feast on turkey with family and friends.  Texas AgriLife Extension, Wise County wants to make sure that the turkey you serve produces only compliments, and not complaints, by encouraging you to follow four simple steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Before you begin working with poultry, or any potentially hazardous food item, one of the primary rules of food safety is to keep everything CLEAN by washing hands with warm/hot soapy water before preparing food, and after your hands have come in contact with raw turkey.
After purchasing, take your turkey home and store it in the freezer or the refrigerator.  Never store the turkey on the counter top, or any other place where the temperature reaches above 40 degrees F.
The safest place to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator.  Depending upon the size of your turkey, it may take up to 2-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.  Place your turkey on a tray in the refrigerator to prevent its juices from dripping on other foods.   
As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately 24 hours to thaw every 5 pounds of turkey in the refrigerator.  If the turkey is thawed in the microwave, it should be cooked immediately because areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook.  Follow the instructions on the package for thawing.
A turkey that is 8-12 pounds will take approximately 3 hours to cook.  12-14 pounds will take 3 to 3.75 hours, 14-18 pounds will take 3.75 to 4.25 hours, 18-20 pounds will take 4.25 to 4.5 hours, and 20-24 pounds will take 4.5 to 5 hours to cook.
To safely cook the thawed turkey, tuck the wing tips under the shoulders of the turkey and place in a roasting pan with ½ cup water.  For safety, stuffing should be cooked separate from the turkey.  A tent of foil can be loosely laid over the turkey for the first 1 to 1.5 hours and removed for browning.  Place the turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F.
Turkey meat will be safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F; however, the meat may still be slightly pink. Some people prefer cooking turkey to a higher temperature (whole turkey to 180°F in the innermost part of the thigh; turkey breasts to 170 degrees F in the thickest part). For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving.

If you are stumped on the best way to thaw, prepare or cook a turkey, concerned about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-674-6854 or send an Email to: web page link for Hotline. The hotline will be staffed with food safety specialists on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time to answer your turkey questions. 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pesticide Applicator 5 Hr. CEU Program

All TDA Pesticide Applicator license holders who need to obtain CEU’s for their Applicator license need to be at the Decatur Civic Center, Thursday, December 12, 2013.  Participants will receive 5 hours of CEU’s consisting of 1 hour of Laws and Regulations, 1 hour of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and 3 hours of general.  The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:00 p.m.

This year we will have high quality speakers and diverse topics:

· Brush Management Options for Today’s Times - James Jackson, Extension Program Specialist, Range Management, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,  Stephenville
· Back to Basics Land Stewardship  - Ricky  Linex- USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Weatherford, TX
· Laws and Regulations -  Henry Krusekopf - Texas Department of Agriculture, Inspector, Dallas
· Resistant Weeds What You Should Know and Why You Should Care -  Todd Baughman, Ph.D.  -  Program Support Leader, Oklahoma State University, Institute for Agricultural Biosciences
· Fundamentals of Lawn Care  -  Hennen Cummings, Ph.D. , Associate Professor and Director of Turfgrass Management, Tarleton State University

The registration fee for the program will be $40, due no later than December 6, 2013.  Lunch included.  Checks need to be payable to: Extension Livestock Committee and sent to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 206 S. State Street, Decatur, 76234. 

For more information call the Extension Office at 940-627-3341.  The event is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Wise County Extension Forage and Livestock Committee.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smart Nutrition Choices

While we’re overfed, we’re undernourished, and new research shows that many Americans are not meeting their average daily needs for key nutrients.  The solution is to eat nutrient-rich foods, like high quality lean protein to provide you with the essential vitamins and minerals you need to fuel a healthy lifestyle.  The new definition of healthy eating is not just about counting calories, but making your calories count more.  Eating nutrient-rich foods satisfies the body, helping you feel full longer, while providing much needed nutrients.  Following is an example from the Cleveland Clinic:
A glazed doughnut has almost exactly the same number of calories as a bowl of high-fiber multigrain cereal with nonfat yogurt and blueberries. So you can eat either one, right? Nope. The cereal choice has about a quarter of the fat — and six times the fiber! Eat the doughnut and you’ll be hungry in less than two hours; eat the cereal and you’ll find you eat less all day long.
During the upcoming holiday season, consider trying this recipe idea for fruit salad. It comes from our recent Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dinner Tonight cookbook:

Fruit Salad with Honey-Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4

1/2 cup sliced grapes
1 cup large apples, diced
1/2 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Honey-Yogurt Dressing

1/4 cup French vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Combine grapes, apples, carrot, raisins, and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine all the ingredients for the honey-yogurt dressing in a small bowl and stir well. Pour the dressing over the fruit mixture and toss gently to combine.
Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving. The salad may be served in a lettuce-lined salad bowl.

Nutrition facts per serving: 127 calories, 5g total fat, 19mg sodium, 0.5mg cholesterol, 27g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 1g protein

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Consider Spraying Brush In The Fall

For most brush species, ranchers tend to think of late spring and early summer as the season for herbicide spraying.  That is the best time for foliar applications on many hardwood species.  But if you run out of time before you run out of brush, you can change your tactics to continue brush control into the fall.
            You can spray brush that’s susceptible to foliar application in the fall, or switch to methods of application that don’t depend on leaves to absorb the herbicide.
            Basal bark applications aren’t dependent on leaves, and cool fall days may be the most comfortable time for working at individual plant treatment.  With Remedy herbicide, streamline basal application and low volume basal application are effective on a wide variety of brush species year-round.
            For some species, such as mesquite, optimal control has been achieved by treating anytime the brush has mature leaves, roughly May through September.  But later basal applications still provide acceptable control – often better than optimally timed foliar treatments.  Compared to foliar applications, basal applications are more consistent from year to year.  On greenbriar, dormant season treatment can be just as effective as a growing season application.
            With low volume basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of 25% Remedy herbicide and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the lower 15 to 20 inches of stem.  Wet all sides of the stem, but not to the point of runoff.  The method is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 6 inches in diameter.
            For streamline basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of either 25% Remedy and 75% diesel, or 25% Remedy, 10% penetrant (such as Cide-Kick, Cide-Kick II, AD 100 or Quick Step II) and 65% diesel.  Apply the mix with a straight stream nozzle in a 2 to 3 inch wide band completely around the stem.  Streamline basal is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 3 inches in diameter.
            With streamline basal, the penetrant seems to improve control on greenbriar, yaupon, pricklyash and Texas persimmon.  On other species it may not increase control, but it may improve coverage around the stem, especially on cooler days when diesel is more viscous.  If the penetrant saves a little time, the additional cost may be made up in labor savings.  If you can spray the stem from one side – and still have the solution circle the stem – you can save mixture.
            For almost any brush species, an option that’s effective anytime of year, including winter, is cutting the brush and then treating the freshly cut stump.  For these applications, use a mixture of 25% Remedy and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the sides and outer portion of the cut surface including the cambium.  Thoroughly wet the cut surface, stem and root collar, but not to the point of runoff.
            For more information on fall brush control methods, contact me at the County Extension office at 627-3341.