Freeze deli meats when they go on sale
photo by adactio
DEAR SARA: Can I freeze deli-style sliced ham? The ham that we like to take in our lunch is on sale half price this week, so I want to stock up. Can I freeze it if I put it in freezer bags? Will it taste OK thawed? — champagnium, Nova Scotia
DEAR CHAMPAGNIUM: Yes, you can freeze deli-style ham and various other cold cuts, too. Place them in freezer bags or airtight freezer containers. You can divide them with wax paper and individual serving amounts so they’re easy to separate and thaw. Or ask your deli whether they’ll separate them with paper when they slice and package them. Thaw cold cuts in your refrigerator a day before using them. They will taste fine. You’ll discover they will pick up extra moisture, but ham is often packed in water. If you think they’re too wet, blot them with a paper towel. Don’t freeze for longer than a month.
DEAR SARA: A close friend of mine is moving into a new house. I want to buy him a housewarming gift, but it has to be ecofriendly. He’s single. Any suggestions? My price range can be up to $200. A few of us can go in on a group gift because we’re all stumped on what to buy. Any suggestions? Bonus points if it’s frugal, too. — Lee, via e-mail
DEAR LEE: Try a push mower for a frugal and green gift. You can get a decent one for under $200. They’ve made them lighter and easier to push than the older-style models. It’s quiet, has no fumes and is great exercise, too. Another frugal, green gift idea is a Wonderwash. It’s a manual clothes washer. It costs around $45. It holds about five pounds of clothing. It’s faster than a standard washing machine, doesn’t use electricity and uses less detergent and less water. It’s portable, too. Visit www.laundry-alternative.com, or call (888) 813-9559.
DEAR SARA: I have small clay pots with saucers that I’d like to use on my enclosed porch. I don’t want to paint them, but I want them to look different than plain orange pots. I’d like ideas for plants for them, too. — Sheila, via e-mail
DEAR SHEILA: Hot-glue green sheet moss on the outside of the pot. Use baby tears or succulents in them. Once you’ve planted your flowers, set the pot on top of the saucer and tuck a bit of sheet moss between the saucer and the pot. If you’re feeling crafty, you could tie a raffia bow around the pot. You can add a mushroom bird and glue a bit of raffia to its beak so it looks as if it’s using it for nesting material.
DEAR SARA: My daughter-in-law’s birthday is in August. She appreciates my bargain shopping and loves when I give her goodies that I’ve found at end-of-season sales. I want to give her a frugal gift for her birthday that’s useful and bought on clearance in August. Any ideas? — Cheryl J., via e-mail
DEAR CHERYL J.: You can find beach towels on clearance in August. Quality beach towels are expensive if you’re paying full price, but by late summer they are discounted heavily. It’s a good time to pick up grilling accessories and yard and garden tools and accessories, too.