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updated: 6/20/2012 6:20 AM

Tips for storing ginger and cleaning grease

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  • Store ginger in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

    Store ginger in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.


Q. How do I store ginger that I bought fresh at the store?

Paula, Ohio

A. You can store it in plastic wrap, a Ziploc baggie or a paper lunch bag in the refrigerator. You can grate it and freeze it. You can even grow it and it will stay fresh that way. Simply select a ginger root with multiple growth buds. Cut the buds off and plant them (buds up) in an 8-inch pot with soil. Leave in a sunny place and keep the soil moist to the touch. It will take a few months, but you'll notice small roots coming up close to the surface. You can snip these off (remove the stalk) to use as you want and leave the rest to continue to grow.

Q. What have you picked up at the curb on garbage day? A couple of weeks ago, I spotted three cereal boxes peeking out of the top of a recycling bin. Each box had promotions for free food. I took the boxes home, typed the codes online and got coupons for the free products.

Q.M., Canada

A. I've missed out on a lot of items at the curbside mall because I wasn't prepared, meaning I didn't have enough space, time or strength to remove it from the curb. Some of those missed items include bikes, indoor and outdoor toys, shelving units, a brass bedframe and a wagon. Apartment complexes and colleges are good places to go curb shopping. You can also find out if your neighborhood has a designated "heavy item" day. Two of the best items I've found thrown away that I've taken home were wood (already cut) from a tree removal and perennials.

Q. I have been looking for something to clean off the grease around my range hood. You mentioned Dawn Power Dissolver. I checked around and could not find this product. Could you please let me know where it is available?

Anne L., email

A. You can find it online at, and Use the product locator at to see if it's available in your area.

Q. I am looking for something to thicken a shake for breakfast without adding many calories. I was using a popular weight-loss program and their shakes were great, especially when blended in a blender. They were very thick and delicious, but my stomach couldn't tolerate the rest of the food. I have used other ingredients said to thicken breakfast shakes, like frozen bananas and strawberries, but they don't make them thick enough to suit my taste.

Claudia, email

A. Yoplait makes a smoothie mix that helps with thickening, but it gets a bit costly. It's in the frozen fruit section. Carnation Instant Breakfast works well, but again, it's not cheap. The cheapest thickener would probably be yogurt, since you've already tried bananas. My favorite easy fruit smoothie is just frozen cherries and vanilla almond milk. It comes out plenty thick by simply not adding a lot of almond milk, and the sweetness is amazing for only two ingredients, which makes it very satisfying when using it for weight loss. (Read: Not as a meal replacement.) I'm sure oats or flaxseed would add some thickness to smoothies, too. I'm assuming you mean fruit-based smoothies and not green smoothies.

• Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email