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posted: 5/8/2013 6:00 AM

Frugal living: How to freeze asparagus and reheat french fries

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Q. I got several one-pound packages of fresh asparagus with about 20 spears in each of them for only $1.69 per package. I plan on getting several more bundles. I plan to freeze several packages, but should I blanch the asparagus first?

Jas, Florida

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A. Blanch them for 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the spear. After blanching, plunge the spears into ice water. Let the asparagus cool, then drain and place it in freezer storage bags.

Q. I have two completely unrelated questions: 1. How do I keep those little black bugs from invading my white flour? 2. Is there a way to reheat french fries?

Agnes D., Pennsylvania

A. The black bugs in flour are often weevils. Moths are also common pantry pests. You can prevent an infestation by placing your flour in the freezer. If storing your flour in the pantry, many people have had luck by placing bay leaves or spearmint in their pantry. Clean your kitchen from top to bottom with bleach and water or vinegar.

As for reheating french fries, you can heat a skillet on the stovetop and pan-fry to reheat them, or stick them in a toaster oven or regular oven at 450 degrees. As I'm sure you know, microwaving produces soggy fries.

Q. I have tried cleaning my stainless steel sink with vinegar and with baking soda, but neither worked. Do you have any other suggestions?

Jim T., email

A. Try salt and lemon. I use regular liquid dishwashing detergent with baking soda, washing soda or Borax and a bristled dish brush to scrub. For shine, use furniture polish, baby oil or lemon oil, or wipe down with Windex. You might like the results from using Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend, too.

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions, to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or sara@frugalvillage.com.

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