Is a potato look­ing at you? Cut the eye off

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

QUES­TION: Any tips on how to keep my pota­toes fresh for a long pe­riod of time? I am tired of throw­ing out pota­toes. — Bor­can, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: When pur­chas­ing pota­toes choose ones that are firm and free of sprouts, green skin or spots. Green pota­toes may con­tain a sub­stance called sola­nine, which is bit­ter and can be toxic. If pota­toes have turned green, trim off the green ar­eas be­fore us­ing. To pre­vent pota­toes from green­ing, they should be stored in a dark, cool place that is well-ven­ti­lated. Potato sprouts are poi­sonous; cut off the sprouts and they are fine for eat­ing. Store an ap­ple with pota­toes to pre­vent sprout­ing.

When a potato grows an ‘eye’ the potato starts to shrivel. This means the potato shrinks and the out­side skin gets old ... just like peo­ple. Next time you see a potato grow­ing an ‘eye’ and look­ing up at you, take a knife and cut the eye off. The potato will not shrivel up as quickly. Avoid stor­ing pota­toes with onions be­cause, when close to­gether, they pro­duce gases that spoil both.

No need to throw pota­toes or potato peels into the garbage, they are easy to com­post. In the win­ter col­lect leftover fruits and veg­gies into an empty ice cream bucket and leave out­side to freeze. When spring ar­rives; dump the con­tents of your buck­ets into your com­post pile. get what you pay for, and ball­point ink pens are no ex­cep­tion. One hint is to se­cure lids on pens when not in use. A home­school­ing teacher once told me that she al­ways keeps ball­point ink pens in seal­able bags when not in use to keep them work­ing longer.

QUES­TION: I am a seam­stress and of­ten use vel­vet rib­bon for fin­ish­ing edges of dresses and blouses. Of­ten the rib­bon frays, un­rav­els and curls up, leav­ing the ends look­ing un­fin­ished. Your in­put would be much ap­pre­ci­ated. — Mavis, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: Good for you for keep­ing up the art of hand­made ap­parel. When you pre­pare vel­vet rib­bon for cut­ting, run a bead of clear nail pol­ish across the ends. Af­ter it dries, cut through the coated area. Your edges will no longer fray, ravel or curl. Reader feed­back Hi Reena, Just want to let you know that last week I no­ticed ball­point ink on my leather couch. I used non-bleach, non­gel tooth­paste on the area and the ink came out in­stantly. Tips of the week

When us­ing paint trays for house­hold paint­ing jobs, try slip­ping an empty (and very clean) plas­tic bag over the paint tray be­fore pour­ing paint. In­stead of hav­ing a paint tray to clean up, it’s a sim­ple job to re­move the plas­tic bag and dis­card.

Buff out scuffs on suede us­ing a card­board emery board or a piece of light sand­pa­per. Pro­ceed gen­tly mak­ing sure not to dam­age suede. Or place the af­fected area of the suede over steam from a ket­tle of boil­ing wa­ter to raise the nap and then care­fully brush out with a suede brush.

Be­fore fill­ing a gar­den or house­hold plant con­tainer with pot­ting soil, first lay a cof­fee fil­ter on the bot­tom in­side of the pot and then add the soil on top. This will keep the soil from drain­ing out the pot’s drainage holes when you wa­ter the plant.

If a recipe calls for cook­ing spray I use parch­ment paper in­stead. I just dou­ble the paper so the sides are high and the food does not burn or stick to the paper. As well, I re­heat food in a pie plate in the oven with parch­ment paper — tastes freshly made.

Sub­mit­ted by Val, Blu­menort, Man.

I en­joy your ques­tions and tips. Keep them com­ing.

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