Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Keeping Food Fresh Longer

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Keeping Food Fresh Longer

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Bottom of Frying Pan

Hi Reena,

Do you have advice for cleaning the bottom of a stainless-steel frying pan? Thank you, Katharine

Hi Katharine,

Here are a few tricks to brighten a stainless-steel pot, both on the inside and the outside: Soak tomato juice, sauce, puree, ketchup, any tomato acid base in the pot. Add a little water and boil for 5 mins. Or boil rhubarb leaves in water to bring shine back to old pots, the oxalic acid found in rhubarb leaves is a strong cleaner. Scrub the pot exterior with an S.O.S pad, water and Bar Keepers Friend to rejuvenate pots. For serious cleaning, some people use oven cleaner, in a ventilated area.

Salty Gravy

Hi Reena,

I bought a package of gravy mix but found it salty; is there anything I can do so it’s not so salty? Sandy

Dear Sandy,

Here are a few suggestions to try: Next time you purchase store bought gravy, look for sodium reduced packages. If the gravy is already cooking in the pot, add a potato to the gravy to absorb some of the saltiness. Another option is to add milk, sodium reduced broth or water to dilute the flavor. If this is the case combine flour or cornstarch with the liquid while it is still cold before adding it to the gravy, so that the gravy thickens.

Feedback from Caring Readers

Re: Speaking of Bananas

In your recent column, you offered one suggestion to minimize fruit flies around bananas and another to keep them from ripening too quickly. Here is a third tip that combines both ideas. Wrap fresh bananas individually and completely in plastic wrap: they’ll ripen even more slowly (because the ethylene gas is restricted from passing from one to the other), and they’ll be protected from fruit flies. Scott

Re: Weed Killers

According to the Department of Ecology in the State of Washington, “herbicides (such as Weed and Feed and Round-Up) can cause serious damage to fish, wildlife and people when they get in the lake water.” Using your vinegar recipe, or a tarp, or digging by hand are the only safe solutions for killing weeds. Penny

Keep Food Fresh Longer

SALADS: Combine vegetables in a salad bowl but do not add the dressing. Present the dressing on the side, this way uneaten salad does not get tossed out due to sogginess, it stays fresh and crunchy for a few extra days.

SOUP: Add meat, vegetables and broth to the pot to create delicious soup. Cook the rice or pasta separately, rinse in cold water and drain. Add the pasta or rice to individual soup bowls as people dish out portions of soup, this way the grains do not become soggy. When storing leftovers, keep the grains separate from the soup and add only as needed.

GREEN ONIONS: Chop green onions and store them in an empty plastic water bottle. The green onions do not become soggy, and they are chopped and chilled and ready to use as needed.

CELERY: Remove store-bought celery from plastic and wrap it in aluminum foil to ensure that it stays crisp longer.

CHEESE: Smear the cut side of cheese with a light coating of butter to prevent it from drying out.

LEMONS: Store lemons in sealable bags in the fridge, they last much longer as opposed to sitting on the counter at room temperature.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at





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