Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: More Uses for Coffee Filters


By Reena Nerbas

Storing Onions

Dear Reena,

I would like to know the best way to store onions so that they will keep for a fairly long time. Thank you, Ruth

Dear Ruth,

My favorite onion storage solution includes a pair of clean pantyhose. Place an onion in the toe and tie a knot above the onion. Drop another onion into the leg of the pantyhose and tie a knot. Continue filling both legs with onions. Hang the contraption inside of a pantry or cupboard (warn family members, they may be scared at first). Each time you need an onion, cut below the knot of the next onion. Storing onions in pantyhose keeps them properly ventilated and dry so that they last long. Onions can also be chopped and put into freezable containers. Chopped onions may be stored in the refrigerator for 30 days or frozen for about six months. Extra tip: Do not store whole onions next to whole potatoes, they will both spoil. Always store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.

Hardened Sugar

Dear Reena,

I am storing about 15 pounds of white sugar that turned as hard as a stone. I thought that the plastic lid would never let moisture in, but this summer’s moisture did it. The sugar is in a plastic pail about 1- foot in diameter. First of all, how can I get it out of the pail without a sledgehammer? Secondly, how can I use it up a little at a time without it reverting back to a solid lump? Thank-you, Audrey

Dear Audrey,

With regards to the sledge hammer, you are not far off. Begin by lining the kitchen floor with a clean bed sheet. Have a friend help you turn the pail upside down onto the bed sheet and slam the container down hard to release the contents. Or fill a bathtub with hot water and place the bucket into the water. Make sure that the water does not touch the sugar. Leave for an hour and carefully pour sugar into separate sealable containers.

After the sugar is released from the bucket, break the block into small pieces using a meat tenderizer or mallet and then use a food blender to grind the pieces until smooth. Store pieces of bread, moistened clay or halved apples with sugar to prevent future hardening.

Extra tip: In order to soften brown sugar put it in a container and place it in the microwave with a small bowl full of water beside it. Microwave for about 1 minute. If it is still hard, microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until sugar is soft, being careful not to burn the sugar.

Get the Yellow Out

Dear Reena,

I received a white polyester cotton blouse trimmed in heavy cotton lace, it looks like it’s been hanging for a while and it has yellowed. I tried lemon juice and cream of tartar but it didn’t seem to do anything, I just guessed at the measurements and the time it needed to soak. Is there anything else I can try? I currently have it soaking in borax and water (again no measurements). I am desperate because I need to wear it to sing in a choir and I don’t like yellowed whites. Thank-you so much for your help, your recipes are much appreciated. Rosabelle

Dear Rosabelle,

The great news is that the blouse is white which makes cleaning this stain easier than most. If you tried borax or washing soda and the stain did not budge you will need to move onto a more drastic solution because sometimes stains are here to stay. Assuming that the blouse is 100% washable, use a product called, “Iron Out” found at home hardware store such as Canadian Tire to zap that stain. Put the blouse into a pot filled with enough water to cover the fabric. Add one quarter cup “Iron Out”. Boil the blouse for 5 minutes. Using tongs remove fabric from water; the stain should be a distant memory, if the stain has faded but still remains repeat the process.

Fabulous Uses for Coffee Filters

Use coffee filters to hold tacos while eating. The filter makes eating tacos less messy.

Use coffee filters to weigh foods on the kitchen scale.

Stop soil from leaking out of a plant by lining the plant pot with a coffee filter preventing soil from going through drainage holes.

Life just got easier!

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.

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