Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Potato Chips to Peanut Butter


By Reena Nerbas

Keeping Potato Chips Fresh

Dear Reena,

I like to purchase large bags of potato chips when they are on sale. Unfortunately because of the diet that I am on, I can only eat a few chips at a time. Do you know any tips for keeping chips fresher, longer? Thanks Earl

Dear Earl,

The easiest solution for fresh chips is to, chip clip the bag so that no air or moisture find their way into the bag. If you don’t have a chip clip, use a hair clip or a rubber band. Freeze the bag. Pull out handfuls as needed.

If you already have a bag of stale chips or crackers in your pantry, here is an easy way to revive those snacky delights. Place chips or crackers onto a microwaveable plate and microwave for about 40 seconds. Cool and eat.

Cleaning Electric Kettle

Dear Reena,

How can I clean my wonderful kettle that now has a green line along the bottom element? Thanking you for all your past household information, Bev

Dear Bev,

Here is the best solution for this challenge; that I have ever found! Fill the kettle halfway with 50/50 vinegar and water, boil on HIGH for 3 minutes. Turn the kettle off and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Pour the contents down the drain. Repeat several times a year, as needed. Your kettle will look brand new!

Fish Smell Lingers

Hello Reena,

Help! I cooked cod in my suite last Friday and it’s now Wednesday and the smell of fish is everywhere. I have tried, burning candles, putting out bowls of shaving cream, vinegar, leaving the windows open but it’s almost a week and the smell is still there. I look forward to reading your column every week. Thank you! Marie

Dear Marie,

Overpower the fish scent by bringing a pot of water to a boil, and squeeze in the juice and rinds from three lemons. Boil for 30 minutes, or until your fish smell is completely gone. You can also toss cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg into your brew and boil those as well.

Fat in Peanut Butter

Dear Reena,

Can you please tell me why some peanut butter labels state that they contain “No Trans Fats” but the jar label lists partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient? Cheers! Bill

Dear Bill,

All peanut butter, by law, must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts. Both natural and regular peanut butters may contain some sugar and salt for flavoring. Some brands also contain a small amount of stabilizer (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil), of which about 60% is stearic acid, a saturated fat that has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels. Stabilizer is added to peanut butter to keep the oil from separating and to help maintain peanut butter freshness.

Here are the results from a 2001 study called, “Non-Detectable Levels of Trans-Fatty Acids in Peanut butter.” by Dr. Tim Sanders, food scientist with the USDA, ARS. According to his findings, “Peanut butter is made with very little hydrogenated oil resulting in no detectable amounts of trans fat in the finished product.”

“All hydrogenated oil is not the same and the amount added to specific products is not the same. So you can’t generalize about all products that contain hydrogenated oil,” Sanders explained. “In our study, we used the best science and technology available to try to detect trans fats in peanut butter and couldn’t.”

Best Tip of the Week

Here is an easy way to combat a foggy windshield. Store a chalkboard eraser in your car. When windows are foggy, wipe them with the eraser, works better than a rag! Simple and fast. Submitted By: Jan

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.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: