Renovation & Design

SOLUTIONS: Stored food lasts longer when double-bag sealed

QUESTION: I bought graham wafers, stored them in a plastic jar and kept them in the deep freeze. When I went to use them to make a slice, the wafers smelled rancid. Is it due to the plastic container? Do I throw them away or is there something that I can do (as it's a big jar)? Thanks. Enjoy your column. Marlene (Winnipeg)

ANSWER: Frozen graham wafers should last at least one year in an air-tight container. Depending on the container you used, air and moister were likely factors in the rancidity of the food. In the future; if you double bag food in sealable bags, it will last longer. In the meantime, place wafers on a pan and heat in the oven for a few minutes, then observe smell. It is possible the wafers were freezer burnt and not rancid.

QUESTION: I do a lot of entertaining using tablecloths and napkins. Do you have any suggestions on how to get cloth napkins clean? Is there a pre-soak solution? Although they are fancy stitched and attractive, they are becoming quite stained. Thank you. Barb (Winnipeg)

ANSWER: On average, North Americans use 7,000 paper napkins per year. Cloth napkins add a special touch to any meal. Unfortunately, as time goes on they are used less frequently. As soon as your company makes an exit, gather all napkins and soak them overnight in cold water and a squeeze of lemon juice. In the morning, wash and dry napkins as usual. Treatment for removing existent stains depends on the fabric and colour of the napkins.

Feedback from Manitoba readers

Re: Seatbelt cleaning

In a recent column, you suggested cleaning seatbelts using a degreaser or shampoo and water or heavy duty laundry detergent and water. When I asked a car detailer (a person that cleans up cars prior to resale) he told me he cannot clean the seatbelts with any chemicals due to the possibility the chemical weakens the seatbelt material. (Roger)

Re: Organizing medication

I just wanted to respond to the person asking for help organizing her 82-year-old mother's medicine. There is only one answer to this, which you missed. I did this for my 88-year-old mother a few years ago and it is excellent. The pharmacy made bubble packs that are in Sunday to Saturday packages. They're easy to read with morning, mid-day, supper and evening markings for taking medication at the right time. The pharmacy also included non-prescription meds/vitamins that she takes in this. There are no "expired" medicines to throw away. Med alert supplied by the pharmacy makes up a package that is kept on the fridge with all her medications and contact information for paramedics, should they ever be called. You gave a very complicated procedure, which really did not help this person. Sincerely (Charlotte)

Re: Organizing medication

One should return expired medicines to the pharmacy for proper disposal, rather than toss out or flush down the toilet. It is much safer and eco-friendly. Love your column. Will be trying the stainless sink cleaning tips from that same issue. Thanks (Eric)

Baker's secrets:

-- Instead of a toothpick, test the doneness of a homemade cake with a raw spaghetti noodle.

-- For perfect and professional cake slices, heat the knife or run it under hot water and dry before cutting.

-- Before transferring a freshly baked cake to a platter, dust the platter with icing sugar to prevent the cake from sticking.

-- Wrap a slice of apple along with baked cake, to hold in freshness.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my website,


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