Question: What kind of walnut is sold in the grocery store? It does not taste the same as the black walnuts I grew up with.
Answer: The ones sold in grocery stores are usually English walnuts (Juglans regia). They are also called “Persian walnuts” because they originally come from Iran. Sometimes you may hear them called “California walnuts” because most of the ones in this country are grown there. We do not know of anyone growing them in Georgia.
The black walnut (Juglans nigra) is native to Georgia. It has a thicker and harder shell than its Persian cousin. It also has a stronger, bolder flavor that makes it a favorite to make distinctive cakes and ice creams. Black walnut meats can sometimes be found for sale in the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. The black walnut is also noted for its beautiful and highly-prized dark wood. It is a handsome, distinctive and long-lived tree in the landscape.
The butternut (Juglans cinerea) is another native, but less common, walnut you may be lucky to come across. It is noted for its buttery-tasting nuts. Both black walnut and butternut have long been used as a source of dye for fabric.
Q: Do you have any food safety pointers for packing bagged lunches for schoolchildren?
A: It is critically important not to overlook food safety in the morning hustle and bustle to get out the door and to school on time. Take precautions and choose foods that will not create problems in a packed lunch that may sit at room temperature for several hours before lunchtime rolls around.
One of the easiest tips is to get your child an insulated lunchbox, with a reusable cold pack that can be refrozen overnight. And don’t forget that food safety isn’t just for parents.
Take time to educate children on the importance of hand washing before eating and properly storing the lunchbox (i.e. in a shady cubbyhole versus a sunny counter).
Our Food Safety Division recently put together a comprehensive list of simple tips, available online (http://georgia.gov/blog/2014-07-31/gearing-school-food-safety) or by writing Jessica Badour, Georgia Agriculture Department, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Room 309, Atlanta, GA 30334.
Q: What is the difference between cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses? Which is fescue? When do I sow fescue?
A: Cool-season grasses grow well during the cool months of the year. They may go dormant or be injured during the heat of summer. Cool-season grasses include tall fescue (sometimes people will simply say “fescue”), perennial ryegrass, annual ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.
Warm-season grasses grow best during the warmest months of the year. They grow vigorously during this time and become brown and dormant in winter. Warm-season grasses include Bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and centipede.
September and October are the ideal months to sow or plant tall fescue.
Q: When is apple season in Georgia?
A: The bulk of Georgia’s apple harvest is in the late summer and fall (August–December), but a few varieties ripen in early summer.