Renovation & Design

Sodium reduced gravy will still float your boat

Question: I bought a package of gravy mix but found it salty, is there anything I can do so it's not as salty? Ashir

Answer: Next time you purchase store bought gravy, look for sodium reduced packages. If the gravy is already cooking in the pot, add a potato to the gravy to absorb some of the saltiness. Another option is to add milk, sodium reduced broth or water to dilute the flavour. If this is the case combine flour or cornstarch with the liquid while it is still cold before adding it to the gravy, so that the gravy thickens.

Question: I have a tricky, sticky situation and as I read your column regularly, I thought you might be able to help. I had a tenant in my suite for the past year and he has now passed on. My problem is that he left the sink in such a state that I had to replace it. It was completely coated in tar, as are the pipes below. I have replaced the sink, but the pipes still reek of tar and I cannot have anyone back in the suite until I get rid of the smell. Have you any ideas of how I might clean the residual tar out of the pipes and get rid of the smell of tobacco? Thanking you in advance, Tammy

Answer: Begin with this easy method of cleaning the drain: Pour one-cup vinegar into the drain, chase with one-cup baking soda. Plug the drain and fill the sink with hot water (do not leave water in sink if small children are in the home). Leave overnight and in the morning, drain and pour hot water down the sinkhole. If the odor remains; clean the drain with a commercial product such as Drano, use according to the directions. If you still notice an odor; turn off the water and place a pail under the U-shaped pipe under the sink. Remove the pipe from the drain. Using a baby bottle brush, thoroughly scrub with vinegar, dish soap and water. Replace the pipe and turn the water back on.

Question: Often a recipe calls for a half teaspoon of lemon zest. The rest of the lemon goes into the garbage. If I was to zest the whole lemon and juice, can lemon zest and lemon juice be frozen? What is the best way to do that? Katharina

Answer: You never need to throw fresh lemon into the garbage. Either grate the entire lemon rind (excluding the stem) and place the zest into a sealable container and freeze (the juice also freezes well). Or zest as much as you require and put the remainder of the whole washed lemon into a sealable freezer bag or container. Close the seal and place the container with the lemon, inside the freezer. Whenever you require zest, take the lemon out and use your grater to zest as much as you need of the frozen lemon. Place the remainder back inside the container/bag and into the freezer for next time.


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.

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