Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Bananas

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Black Gas Stovetop

Hi Reena,

I have a black gas stove (that I really love) but would like to find something that cleans the black stovetop without using harsh scrubbers or chemicals, because I am afraid to damage the surface. It would be nice to also do this without streaks! Any ideas? Thanks so much, Brenda

ANSWER – Using a good quality micro fiber cloth, wipe your stovetop after each use when it has cooled. Clean burners with dish soap and a plastic scouring pad. Stubborn cooked-on spills can be cleaned with a mild abrasive cleanser that you can make yourself by combining 50/50 borax and baking soda. If the spills are difficult to remove, allow the baking soda and borax combination time to sit on the food stained area before scrubbing it with a plastic scouring pad. Wash removable burner grates in a sink full of warm, soapy dish water with a plastic scouring pad. Rinse all parts with warm clear water and dry.

Be careful to avoid the gas ports on your burners. If they are plugged use a toothpick to clean the ports, or brush gently with a soft-bristled brush. For pilot-less stoves, check the port and area below the igniter wire and clean it as well. Debris left under the igniter can keep the gas burner from lighting. To remove streaks, combine 50/50 vinegar and water and wipe stove top.

Keeping Bananas from Browning

Dear Reena,

Can you please tell me how to prevent bananas from turning brown when making Banana Cream Pie? Maureen

Dear Maureen,

Black bananas take a tantalizing dessert from a treat to a travesty; and I have been the baker of the latter. I learnt (the hard way) to begin with newly ripe bananas. Toss banana pieces in a bit of lemon juice. Completely cover bananas with cream, and slice bananas just before serving. Lastly, instead of cutting bananas into individual slices, consider slicing each banana lengthwise once down the middle before placing them into the pie crust, less oxidizing equals less chance of black bananas.

Speaking of Bananas…

  • During this time of year, fruit flies are out in full force. I store bananas in the plastic bags that you find at the grocery store. I twist the bag so that no air gets in or out. They sit on the counter and don’t turn black any faster than if they were without the bag. Fruit flies breed in fruit, drains and plants and this gives the flies one less place to breed. Submitted by: Reena Nerbas
  • I always pull bananas apart after bringing them home from the store, I find they don’t not ripen as quickly. Submitted by: Marilyn

Feedback from Caring Reader

Re: Weed Killers

I read your recent piece on this subject and you provided a sure-fire recipe for a DIY herbicide which included table salt. You omitted the important caveat on using this mixture near or in your gardens or anywhere you hope to grow anything again in your lifetime. I know you know that the salt effects not only the vegetation, but insects and microbes in the soil rendering it unable to support plant growth for many years. You may want readers to restrict it to pathways, areas between pavers, etc. i.e. areas where you never want anything to grow ever. I enjoy your column. Keep it up. Roslyn

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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