Freeze onions for later use
Can you freeze onions whole? — Tanya, Illinois
Yes, you can freeze a whole (or even quartered) onion. You’ll have to peel, wash and core it beforehand. I prefer to chop my onions, freeze them flat on a baking sheet (to prevent them from sticking and clumping together) and then transfer them to a freezer storage bag. I chop or even dice them because that’s how I use onions when cooking. Thaw them in the refrigerator or use frozen and straight from the bag. The texture changes when onions are frozen, so use them for cooked dishes.
Do you have a frugal way to soften cuticles? — Anna, Ohio
Try a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Soak fingers in the solution for 10 minutes. A vinegar soak or simply applying lotion will work, too.
How do you select a good pineapple? — Dee H., Wisconsin
Look for a plump, firm pineapple with green crown leaves. While pineapples do not ripen like bananas once they’re picked, you can be fairly confident that a pineapple at your local store is ripe and delicious, even if it looks green. I look for green and golden yellow tones. You don’t want a pineapple that shows any sign of deterioration, such as bruising, leakage, wrinkles, softness or wilted or brown leaves. There’s no need to tug on the crown to check for ripeness.
Are there plants I can add to my garden to help deter mosquitoes? — Pauline, Michigan
You can try lemon balm, lemongrass, ageratum, citronella plants, marigolds, horsemint, catnip, rosemary, garlic, eucalyptus or peppermint.
I love the homemade laundry soap. I do have a question. I make the liquid for my high-efficiency machine, but I’m not sure what amount to use. I’ve been putting in 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on the size of the load. Is this the proper amount? Also, the last time I made a batch, after letting it sit overnight, it separated. Did I not cook it long enough? Is it okay to shake it up and use, or should I reheat it? — Kathy B., email
Half a cup is typically the amount used. It’s not uncommon for it to separate. You can shake, mix or whisk it prior to each use and it will be fine. You’ll notice it doesn’t create a lot of suds, but it still works just fine. During the cooling process, using an electric mixer (low setting) every 20 minutes or so until it’s completely cooled often prevents lumps and separation.
I’m getting a bunch of sour cream later this week at $.19 for 16 ounces, with coupon. Aside from beef stroganoff, baked potato topping and nachos, what can I do with it? I’m looking for dinner or snack ideas. — Khaski, New Hampshire
I have a few recipes on my blog. Visit frugalvillage.com/2009/10/07/uses-for-leftover-sour-cream. You can use it in homemade salad dressings, waffles, cake batter, dips, casseroles, sauces, cookies, tacos and quick breads such as banana bread. As a treat, you might enjoy strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar, too.
photo by Sora ZG