Helpful hints about dried beans and deodorizing appliances

Are your dried beans old?

It is soup season and many recipes include dried beans. But how can you tell if they are old? One specific sign dried beans are old, is if they wrinkle during soaking.

As dry beans soak, they should absorb moisture through the hilum, the part of the bean that attaches to the pod. But during harvest handling and storage, dry beans can develop holes, called checks, due of temperature changes, moisture changes and fungi growth. The checks allow water into the bean and wrinkle the skin.

Since these checks are difficult to see before cooking, always buy new beans and use remaining dry beans within one year.

Enjoy cherries in February

While cherries aren’t harvested until summer, they are celebrated in February to enjoy the red color and to celebrate President George Washington’s birthday.

Cherries are found in a variety of forms including fresh, frozen, dried, canned, juice and more. Besides a cherry pie, cherries are used in salads, as a topping for meat, poultry and fish, as a snack, in yogurt and smoothies and even condiments such as cherry mustard.

Removing odors from appliances

When the power goes out, or a refrigerator or freezer fails, food will likely spoil leaving unpleasant odors behind. These odors can be difficult to remove, but it is worth a try.

Remove the spoiled food and dispose of it. Take out shelves, trays and storage bins. Wash them in hot water with detergent. Rinse and sanitize. Wash the unit interior, the door and gasket with hot water and baking soda. Rinse and sanitize. Leave the door open at least 15 minutes to air dry.

If odors remain, try any or all of these ideas:

  • Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and wipe the inside of the unit.
  • Leave the door open to air out several days.
  • Stuff the interior of the unit with wads of newspaper, close the door and let sit several days; remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.
  • Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda in a shallow container. Let sit in the unit for several days.
  • Use a commercial product to remove odors and follow manufacturer’s instructions.