… and bananas? Cabbage and lettuce? I buy bananas for one week, and they turn brown and mushy! Waste! If I put them in the fridge, my family won’t eat them cold and they still turn brown.

– Eva M., Mount Airy, N.C.

Eva, it’s always best to buy fresh produce as you need it. However, if you want to store potatoes and onions, put them someplace dry, cool and preferably dark, but not the refrigerator.

Cabbage and lettuce go in the refrigerator; uncooked cabbage should be placed in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. Cooked cabbage keeps about three to four days.Lettuce usually lasts five to seven days in the refrigerator. Remember, lettuce can harbor E. coli bacteria, so it’s best eaten as soon as it’s bought. Always wash lettuce before using.

Bananas are ripe when you begin to see little brown freckles on the yellow skins, usually in five to seven days. That’s when it’s best to eat them.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

Why does everything in my freezer seem to dry out?

– Ella S., Klamath Falls, Ore.

Ella, keep your freezer at zero degrees. If the temperature fluctuates, it will cause frozen foods to lose their moisture faster, and they will become much drier and tough.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

I would like to vent on the subject of potluck dinners. I myself don’t like them.

I thought for a potluck dinner you were to bring something that you’d make and serve to your family, and to make enough for three to six people. People bring a platter of deviled eggs or a potato dish of some kind. Is that what you would put on your table for dinner? What about the meat, chicken or fish?

It doesn’t seem right that only a few bring a meat dish and some only bring a side dish. How right is it to fill up on all the meat, chicken or fish, and you only brought an egg platter or potatoes? Am I wrong? Maybe that’s the reason I don’t go to any potlucks.

– Felicia, via email

Felicia, I understand your frustration; meat is more expensive! Readers, go the extra mile with your potluck dishes. Make something you’d be proud to feed your family, and even include a stack of recipe cards with the dish.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

As an interior designer, I warn people to avoid discoloring their kitchen flooring with scatter rugs that have rubber backings, especially on the no-wax flooring. The rubber will cause discoloration over a short period of time.

While scatter rugs in the kitchen look nice and add a pop of color, they can be dangerous if someone trips over the edge of the rug or if the rug is on a slippery floor.

– Lana D. in Miami

DEAR HELOISE:

In this chilly season, I’ve found layering works wonders in keeping warm: A few thin layers of T-shirts, leggings and even thin blankets are more effective than one heavy shirt or comforter. And if I get too warm, I can always remove a layer or two.

– Helen B. in Michigan

Try knee-high stockings under socks for an extra layer of insulation for your feet. This will work for the fellas, too — don’t be embarrassed, men; be warm!

– Heloise

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