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Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Removing smell from freezer may require several steps

July 19, 2006

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Q: My chest-type freezer was left semi-open for several days in our garage. We disposed of the food, but how do we remove the odor?

A: If food has spoiled in a refrigerator or freezer and odors from the food remain, they may be difficult to remove. The following procedures may help but may have to be repeated several times.

¢ Remove shelves, crispers, and ice trays. Wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Then rinse with a sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water).

¢ Wash the interior of the refrigerator, including the door and gasket, with hot water and baking soda. Rinse with sanitizing solution as above.

¢ Leave the door open for about 15 minutes to allow free air circulation. If odor remains, try any or all of the following:

¢ Wipe inside of unit with equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar provides acid which destroys mildew.

¢ Leave the door open and allow to air out for several days.

¢ Stuff both the refrigerator and freezer with rolled newspapers.

¢ Close the door and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.

¢ Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow container in the bottom of the unit.

¢ Place a cotton swab soaked with vanilla inside the freezer. Close door for 24 hours. Check for odors.

¢ Use a commercial product available at hardware and housewares stores. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If odors cannot be removed, then the refrigerator or freezer may need to be discarded. If you need to discard the refrigerator or freezer, discard it in a safe manner:

"Childproof" old refrigerators so children do not get trapped inside. The surest way is to take the door off. If the door will not come off, chain and padlock the door permanently and close tightly, or remove or disable the latch completely so the door will no longer lock when closed.

Q: How do I freeze tomatoes?

A: Tomatoes are easy to freeze - the most time-consuming part of the process is the peeling of the skins. Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color. Here are the directions for freezing tomatoes raw, stewed or juiced.

Raw: Wash and dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into containers, leaving 1-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Use only for cooking or seasoning as tomatoes will not be solid when thawed.

Stewed: Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

Juice: Wash, sort and trim firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eighths. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze. Speaking of tomatoes, try this yummy Garden Sandwich using fresh sliced tomatoes.

Garden sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread or 1 pita pocket bread

2 teaspoons Dijon-type mustard

1 ounce cheddar or Swiss cheese

2 slices tomato

4 slices cucumber

1/4 cup red bell pepper strips

4 basil leaves or 2 romaine leaves (or other leafy green lettuce)

Spread one side of each piece of bread with mustard. Lay ingredients on one slice of bread and top with the other slice. Cut in half. Serves one.

Q: Does escalloped and scalloped mean the same thing?

A: Both of these cooking techniques are quite similar to each other. Both use a sauce and are baked with a crumb topping. A scalloped dish, such as potatoes, has thin layers of potatoes alternated with a sauce and topped with bread or cracker crumbs. An escalloped dish, such as meat or seafood, has thin, whole pieces of meat and covered with the sauce and crumbs. The meat may also be layered with the sauce.

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