Posts filed under ‘Around The House’
Thanks to modern refrigeration, we can keep our food fresh longer. The problem is that the cool temperatures of the fridge don’t preserve all foods equally—as much as we’d like to believe it. People tend to throw almost everything into the fridge, assuming that it can only help. In reality, not every food item is the same chemically or physically and some will actually be harmed when refrigerated. In a few cases, foods will degrade faster in the fridge and the best case scenario is often loss of flavor.
Store-bought tomatoes never taste quite the same as tomatoes from the garden or local farm. Luckily, scientists have finally pinpointed the reason. Refrigeration actually turns off genes responsible for producing flavonoids, chemicals that contribute to the flavor of foods. When a tomato is exposed to temperatures below 54 degrees Fahrenheit, these genes begin to shut down permanently. Unfortunately, grocery store tomatoes have generally undergone refrigeration at some point, usually during the shipping process. It might be too late to save them from perpetual blandness but there’s still hope for tomatoes that were home-grown or purchased locally. Don’t store them in the fridge, just leave them on the countertop and they’ll be fine. The lost flavors from refrigeration can at least serve as a motivator for growing your own tomatoes. (more…)
The “five second rule” is an unofficial pass to eat food dropped on the floor—provided only a few seconds have elapsed. The general wisdom is that it takes several seconds for bacteria to transfer to the food item, making it safe to eat if picked up quickly. In one survey, 87% of people admitted to eating dropped food at least once. The five second rule was never backed up by science but some researchers have decided to test the idea.
In the first major study, researchers tracked the transfer of common bacteria, including E.coli, to food after it had been dropped. They found that carpet was less likely to transfer bacteria than smooth surfaces. While moist foods could become colonized within seconds, most foods were declared safe. For dry snacks, such as cookies, it could take 30 seconds or longer for bacteria to show up. The researchers decided that the five second rule works—in specific cases. (more…)
Thankfully, my current home has good plumbing and I haven’t needed a plunger in a long time. But, I can’t say the same about previous places, especially some of those places in college!
The best way to get a plunger to work well is to use the right plunger. There are two main types of plungers: toilet plungers and general purpose plungers (for almost everything other than toilets).
Sinks and floor drains are typically flat, so a flat plunger is ideal. But toilet drains are typically curved and the curvature can vary widely among models. That means a flat sink plunger isn’t well suited for creating a seal and getting proper suction around the curvature of a toilet drain. You need good suction to clear a blockage and you’ll get better suction if you use a plunger with a flanged bottom to match the curve of the toilet drain.
*Please checkout this game I’ve been working on with a friend. It’s available for free on Android and iOS. It’s a number based puzzle game that is designed for casual touchscreen gaming. Think sudoku, but better suited for visual thinkers (or people who just like palm trees). Click the phone below to check it out:
Showers should be refreshing, but it’s impossible to rejuvenate when a shower curtain is constantly rubbing your leg like an annoying dog.
To combat this problem, some shower curtains have magnets or weights to help keep it in place. Others are made of heavy or clingy materials. Sometimes these are enough, but often they’re not.
The best way to keep the shower curtain in place is to position the rod so the curtain can’t blow around.
If the curtain is hanging straight down, it is likely to blow around as the shower heats up and cool air rushes under it. Due to gravity, the shower curtain wants to hang straight down. Use this to force the shower curtain against the side of the tub by placing the curtain rod over the edge of the tub or shower basin.
The shower curtain will try to hang straight down but the tub is in the way so it will be forced against the tub and you can shower in peace.
By Chad Upton | Editor
Sometimes you have to temporarily disconnect your home electronics. It can be difficult to find a device you can spare or remember which cables to put back later. Use bread expiration tags as labels.
By Kaye Nemec
Dishwashers were an amazing invention. Long gone are the days of hand washing and drying dishes every night. Now we can simply load up the dishwasher, turn it on and wake up to a fresh load of sparkly, clean dishes.
What many of my fellow dishwasher-loving friends may be pleased to learn is that your dishwasher has some major, hidden potential that extends way behind your basic dinner plate and water glass. Below is an extensive list of items that can also be washed in your dishwasher BUT, before scrolling down read this: your dishwasher can also be used for cooking.
It’s true. And of all things, salmon seems to be the most popular choice for dishwasher cuisine. Sounds like a bad internet rumor but it has been proven accurate over and over again. Check out this recipe if you’re so inclined.
Trying to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for your entire extended family? Save yourself some time by throwing all your baked potatoes in the dishwasher. They won’t cook and/or mash themselves but it will save you the time of having to scrub them all clean!
Now, on to that list of other dishwasher safe items…
- Baseball caps
- Small toys
- Garden tools (without wood handles)
- Plastic hair brushes and combs
- Fake flowers (on a light setting)
- Kitchen sponges, vegetable brushes etc.
- Makeup brushes
- Hubcaps and wheel covers
- Pet toys
- Broom heads and dust pans
- Fan faceplates
- Sports equipment (shin guards, knee pads, golf balls etc.)
- Vent covers
- Window screens
- Keyboards (some swear by this, some would never trust it)
Photo: tidefan (cc)
By Terry D. Johnson
The idea that searing meat locks in the juices has been around since the middle of the 19th century. According to the theory, searing changes the structure of the outside of the meat, preventing the escape of moisture during subsequent cooking. It’s still a popular technique – despite demonstrably failing at its purported task.
This is a simple enough one to test. Take two cuts of meat, sear one, cook both, and weigh them to determine whether the seared meat loses less moisture than the unseared cut. Numerous experiments have shown that the seared meat typically loses at least as much moisture, and possibly more.
Does this mean you should avoid searing meat entirely? Not at all. Browning (or caramelization) of the meat’s surface will introduce flavors and texture. A good sear is still a worthy component of a good chef’s toolbox – but not because it laminates your prime rib.