Renovation & Design

Here's how to avoid the headache of peeling garlic bulbs


A mason jar is your best ally in removing the peel from garlic bulbs.

Question: I avoid purchasing fresh garlic bulbs because I don’t like to take time to remove the peel from the bulbs. Do you have an idea of how to remove the peel without the headache? — Brad

Answer: Place the garlic bulb inside a mason jar. Secure the lid, and shake as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. The skin will separate from the bulb and your headache will be a memory.


Question: Can you please tell me if I am required to wash empty food and drink cans before placing them in the recycling bin? — Manfred

Answer: Great question! The following is the advice from the Manitoba website, SimplyRecycle: "Save water and time when recycling cans and bottles. You do not have to clean them out or remove their labels and lids. Just ensure they are empty first!

Plastic, glass and metal containers can be cleaned if you have the time. Doing so avoids contaminating other materials, reduces unpleasant odours and the development of mould and, generally, ensures sorting centre employees work in a healthier environment."


Question: When preparing cake, is it better to purchase boxed mixes or bake cakes from scratch? What is the difference? — Emily

Answer: It’s definitely a personal choice, here are a few differences: The cost, on average, of boxed mixes is generally less than that of homemade ingredients.

Boxed mixes require less planning and fewer ingredients and are, therefore, more convenient.

Unless you are a confident baker, the risk is greater when following a recipe "from scratch" rather than working with a boxed recipe. In other words, there is more room for error due to ingredients, humidity, oven temperature and so on.

On the contrary, some people can taste the difference between boxed cakes and those made with fresh ingredients, and therefore prefer the flavour of homemade cakes.

The ingredients listed on boxed cakes are often unfamiliar, whereas homemade recipes are often familiar items that are used; this is especially important for people with food allergies or special diets.


Question: I was told by my mother to store my batteries in the fridge? Does this actually increase the life of batteries? What is the best way to store batteries to improve their lifespan? — Helga

Answer: It is not necessary to store batteries in the fridge. Store them in a cool, dry place at room temperature. 


Question: I own a gas stove which is in desperate need of cleaning. What is the best way of cleaning the iron grates? — Samantha

Answer: For this task, choose a well-ventilated area. The easiest solution for cleaning iron grates is to place the grates inside a garbage bag. Fill a spray bottle with household ammonia and generously spray the grates. Close the bag tightly by twisting the opening, to ensure that the fumes stay inside the bag.

Leave the bag closed for 12 hours. Open the bag and wipe the grates with an abrasive, non-scratching pad. Rinse the grates with water and wipe with a dry cloth.


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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