QUESTION: I have often noticed that restaurants have grains of rice in salt shakers. Is this for good luck or a joke that someone plays on the waitress?
Answer: While some people consider the following a myth, here is the reason why many people add rice grains to shakers. A few grains of rice added to salt shakers is a great way to prevent salt from clumping because rice is said to absorb moisture.
Did you know many people believe the cure for hand-held devices that accidentally become wet is to leave them in a bowl of rice for several hours to absorb moisture? I have tried this, and after leaving my wet iPhone in rice for two days, the phone worked again.
Question: Thanks to a lazy dog owner, I stepped in a pile of you-know-what and I didn’t notice until the following day. After cleaning the mess up, the smell is lingering. The sole is a rubberized material used on walking shoes. I have scrubbed with a variety of products, but I cannot get rid of the smell. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Toss the shoes in the washing machine and wash with heavy-duty detergent and hot water. If the shoes are not washable, scrub the bottom sole with an old toothbrush, water and quite a bit of whitening toothpaste. Soak the bottom sole in 50/50 vinegar and water.
Question: Whenever I bake apple pie, the crust ends up with a soggy texture. What can I do to prevent a soggy crust?
Answer: Before you make your next hot apple pie, cook the apples slowly first over low heat for 15 minutes. Add sugar to the apple slices. Doing this will extract some of the juices and make the crust less soggy. Choose Granny Smith apples — they are perfect for apple pie. Another trick is to peel and cut the apples and then place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, nutmeg (optional) and cinnamon (according to the recipe). Leave at room temperature for one to two hours. This allows the apples time to release their juices. Strain the liquid before adding the apple mixture to the crust, let apples drain for an 15 additional minutes. Continue to follow the recipe as directed.
Tips for storing apples
â If you are planning to store apples for an extended period, wrap each unwashed apple individually with a piece of newspaper and store inside a box in a cool dark place, such as the basement, refrigerator or your pantry. The newspaper prevents the apples from touching one another, thereby protecting each apple.
â Bruised apples should not be stored for longer than a few days. Either use them right away or make them into apple cider, apple pie filling or applesauce. If the apples are to be eaten within a few days, store them in the fridge away from carrots and potatoes.
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. Ask a question or share a tip at reena.ca.