Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

When It Comes to Storing Bananas, Don’t Believe Old Wives’ Tales

For years, I believed an old wives’ tale that bananas will turn black and spoil almost instantly if you put them in the refrigerator. In fact, I even passed this notion on to you. Whoops! Hearing from reader Lin made me reconsider, test, and now, recant. Lin is right. I was wrong!


I read in your column a while back about how to keep fruit fresher longer. You said do not put bananas in the refrigerator. I beg to differ. We put fresh bananas in the fridge, and they may turn black and ugly on the outside, but inside, even after seven days or longer, they are as fresh and firm as new. Try it. — Lin

(I have discovered that if I put the bananas in a plastic bag and tie or seal it tightly then place this in the crisper drawer, the bananas retain their yellow color. There’s something about black bananas — even if they are totally fine inside — I find to be somewhat off-putting! — MH)


I have used vinegar as a weed killer for decades. A couple of weeks ago, I found out it is also an excellent ant killer. Simply spray it on them. There is very little odor; what odor there is disappears quickly. I have had a long-time problem with ants in my kitchen and bathroom and do not like to use insecticides for many reasons (i.e., cat and dogs, poison, smell, oily, getting on my skin). Now I don’t have to worry about it! — Ann


Next time there’s an invasion of ants, spread a single packet of Nutrasweet, Equal, or Sweet N’ Low (or another sweetener that contains aspartame) over part of the trail. One treatment gets rid of all the ants in less than a day, and I have yet to see them come back. Try it and see. — Howell


I have a great home recipe for an exfoliant that uses what I have in my pantry. I mix equal amounts of honey and cornmeal and apply to my face, elbows and heels. It leaves my skin feeling wonderful and it smells nice, too. — Lee


Instead of using those rubbery disks designed for gripping a jar lid to make it easier to open, simply put a rubber band or two around the lid and twist! It gives you a great grip on the lid and it’s much handier than keeping one more thing in your kitchen that only serves one purpose. — Mara


Instead of purchasing whole peppercorns for use in a grinder, I just fill my grinder full of regular ground black pepper. The grinds are big enough that when ground again, I get a fresh ground pepper taste at a fraction of the cost. And a bottle of coarse ground pepper lasts a lot longer than those tiny bottles of peppercorns. — Jennifer


If you make soup, a bouquet garni (spices and herbs tied into a little bundle so they can be easily removed before serving) is a wonderful thing. But instead of buying cheesecloth for this process, I wrap the herbs and spices in a coffee filter, roll it or fold it and wrap it with string. I drop it into the soup pot and fish it out easily with a spoon when the soup is done. — Jessica


One morning I faced a tough job cleaning the dried-on pancake batter in a bowl. Instead of reaching for a scrub pad, I balled up a piece of used aluminum foil and it worked perfectly to scrub the bowl clean. — Brenda


I’ve discovered that charcoal lighter fluid works well on removing the residue that stickers leave behind. A little on a cloth does the job. I also found that it does a great job getting oil-based paint out of brushes. It has very little odor and it’s a lot cheaper than the stuff you buy in the store for that specific purpose. — Grace

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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