Renovation & Design

Keep those cukes under wraps

QUESTION — Why are English cucumbers shrinkwrapped? — Evan


ANSWER — If you were to compare the appearance of a shrink-wrapped English cucumber over two weeks versus a non-wrapped one, you would notice that the shrink-wrapped cucumber lasts about three times longer. Shrink-wrapping reduces dehydration and damage to cucumbers during transport and reduces the amount of moisture lost in the cucumber.

Extra Tip: Shrink wrap takes a while to remove. To quickly remove it, cut the cucumber in half so that it is easier to work with. Score the plastic along the seam, being careful not to cut through the cucumber. Remove plastic and cut off both ends of the cucumber, because the ends are a little bitter.

If you are cutting plastic off several cucumbers, consider using an electric knife.

Take extra care not to cut yourself when using an electric knife, because the cucumber may roll while you are working with it.

QUESTION — I am looking for an alternate solution to commercial toilet-bowl cleaners. Would you have one that I can make at home? I am really impressed with the window cleaner that you featured, so I hope you may be able to suggest one for the toilet bowl. Enjoy reading your columns. Thanks. — Helen, Winnipeg


ANSWER — Store your toilet bowl brush in either bleach or vinegar. Drop four denture tablets into the toilet bowl, leave for five minutes and clean with your toilet-bowl brush. With very little effort the bowl will look and smell great.

Did you know? Denture tablets are also useful for cleaning coffee makers. Drop two tablets into the tank and fill with water. Run as normal and pour the water out. Repeat using plain water.

Letter from Friendly Manitoban

Dear Reena — As I was finally finishing up a scrapbook, after 10 years sitting on the shelf and with a deadline, I ran out of my handy-dandy Tombow brand adhesive in its easy roller dispenser. I was nowhere near a store and I had to get the job done that night. As I pondered alternatives, I discovered the double-sided tape I use to plastic-cover the windows for the winter. It worked exceptionally well. Every box comes with plenty of tape and there is usually some left over once the winterizing is done. I think you can also buy the product separately from the plastic covering. — Sincerely, Lori


Gardening Tip of the Week

I want to share with your readers my favourite gardening tip. I use this hint on all of my garden vegetables, flowers, plants and grass. In a plastic garden mixer, I combine: 1 tbsp. Epsom salt with one gallon water. Epsom salt helps the plants produce chlorophyll, which helps plants to grow healthy and strong. I love this tip because it saves me money and makes a huge difference in my life. — Happy gardening, Max

Cheesy Tips of the Week

• Use dental floss to slice super-soft cheeses. Lay the floss under the cheese, pull it up and cross both ends to slice off pieces without squishing the block.

• When making homemade pizza: keep your crust crispy by sprinkling it with cheese before adding sauce.

• Colour cream cheese with liquid food colouring when using the cheese to fill rolled sandwiches. Use a variety of colours for every layer; slice it as you would a jelly roll.

• Cream cheese will last longer if you store it upside down to create a secondary seal.

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.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email to Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:



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