Consumer Q's

Could strange item in lawn be puffball mushroom?

(Consumer Q’s is prepared by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Gary W. Black, Commissioner.)

Q: I noticed something in my lawn that I thought was left by a stray dog, but when I scooped it up it seemed to be a leathery material and at the center some black dust poofed up. Do you know what this could be? Should I spray the spot?

Answer: It sounds like the remnants of a puffball mushroom. The dust is the spores that are part of the reproductive cycle of the fungus. You do not need to spray or take corrective action. * * *

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Q: I just came across a recipe for roasted chicken that calls for celery root. What is celery root? Do we grow it in Georgia?

A: Celery root is another name for celeriac, a variation of celery. The name “celery root” is actually a misnomer in that you are not eating the roots but the bulblike stem. Celeriac is comparable to Florence fennel which is a bulbing form of fennel and kohlrabi which is a bulbing form of cabbage.

We do not know of anyone commercially growing celeriac in Georgia, although some home gardeners may be growing it.

Celeriac is sometimes called "turnip-rooted celery" since the edible part resembles a turnip. Celeriac’s flavor is starchier and sweeter than celery. It is peeled and served raw in salads, boiled, fried or cooked in vegetable soups and mashed potatoes. It is also roasted with chicken or roasted with onions, parsnips, beets, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, winter squash and other vegetables.

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Q: Do you have a recipe for a true whipped cream? I am tired of the oily, fake whipped toppings.

A: Imitation toppings cannot match the clean, sweet taste of real whipped cream, and the good news is that fresh whipped cream is simple to make.

Marcia Crowley of the Georgia Department of Agriculture demonstrates how to make whipped cream and peach-blueberry parfaits in a Georgia Grown Spotlight at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wial7CsCF-M. Here is the recipe she uses:

BASIC WHIPPED CREAM

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chilled whisk or beaters

Chilled mixing bowl (Chill bowl and whisk or mixing beaters by putting them in the freezer 15-20 minutes beforehand.)

Whip cream until it reaches the soft peak stage. (When you lift the whisk or beaters, a soft peak of cream will hang on.) Add sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until thick. It will store in the refrigerator for up to two hours.

Homemade whipped cream is the perfect topping for pecan, apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, peach, strawberry and blueberry pies. You can also use it to top fresh strawberries, peaches, sundaes, hot chocolate, gingerbread and slices of pound cake. Whipped cream and Georgia Grown products are a combination that can’t be beat! 

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If you have questions about 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. There you will also find answers to more than 650 questions about food safety, Georgia Grown products, pets, gardening and other agricultural subjects by clicking on Consumer Q’s.



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