Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Homemade Air Freshner Banishes Odour of Curry

By Reena Nerbas

Rusty Cutlery

Dear Reena,

I have a lot of rust stains on my stainless-steel cutlery, is there a way of removing them? Linda

Dear Linda,

In commercial settings; it is very common to toss cutlery into a sink of plain old white vinegar, let soak and polish with a cloth. Or cut a potato in half and sprinkle it with powdered laundry detergent, rub onto spots, rinse and dry. Doing this gets rid of water and rust spots. Bar Keepers Friend is another effective option. To make your own silver or stainless-steel cleaner: Place crumpled aluminum foil in a pan or plastic bucket. Dissolve one quarter cup washing soda in enough hot water to cover the cutlery. Place cutlery on foil and let stand for 5 mins. until the stains are gone. Rinse and polish dry.

Lingering Odour of Curry

Dear Reena,

I cook a lot of East Indian food and it tastes great! The problem is that after I cook curry, my house smells for several days. How can I remove the smell in a hurry? Thanks, Opal

Dear Opal,

My favorite solution is to make your own air freshener using vinegar or water and 15 drops of your favorite essential oils such as the delightful combination of; cinnamon, orange or grapefruit and peppermint. Simmer the water/oils on the stove for 15 minutes following cooking. Other than that, you can, light fragrant candles such as soy blueberry or cinnamon. Always put soy candles in a container as they will spread out when they melt (you can also light a few beeswax candles). If you own a Lamp Berger, you can utilize the wonderful appliance for killing odors such as: cigarette, cooking, pet odors and paint fumes.

Blueberries in Cupcakes

Dear Reena,

Whenever I bake blueberry cupcakes, the berries drop to the bottom of the cups and won’t distribute evenly in the cupcake? Any ideas of how to avoid this? Harper

Dear Harper,

Roll the berries in flour (or cornstarch) before adding them to cupcake batter. This trick works with nuts as well. When it comes to using frozen blueberries in a recipe, do not allow them to thaw first. Adding them while frozen will preserve the texture and prevent them from bleeding into the other ingredients, and changing the color of your baking. Note: If the skin is not broken, a blueberry will not bleed color.

Feedback from Wise Reader

Re: Keeping Brown Sugar Soft

To keep brown sugar from going hard I store it in a quart jar with a tight lid. Works great, Donna

More Tips from the Kitchen

  • To remove tomato skins, put tomatoes in boiling water for 45 seconds. Plunge tomatoes into ice water and the peel will slide right off. Submitted by: Nathalia
  • I purchase mini fruit flavored yogurt cups for my children. The problem is that they hate eating yogurt. So, with the wrapper still sealed, I decided to push a popsicle stick into the center of each yogurt cup. I then froze the mini yogurts. Now instead of offering the kids a yogurt, I remove the frozen yogurt from the cup, and offer them a popsicle and they gobble it up in a hurry. Submitted by: Erin

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

, , , ,