Dear Readers: Summertime’s here, and fresh fruits abound! How to pick the freshest? Let’s take a look:
Experts agree: Select deep, rich and brightly colored fruits for the best nutrition and flavor.
Don’t overbuy; get only what you can use in a couple of days. In general, smaller pieces of fruit are sweeter, and if you gently squeeze the fruit, it should bounce back.
Some fruits will continue to ripen and get sweeter at home, including bananas, pears and avocados. And other fruits like citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit), cherries, grapes and the soft berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)? They won’t ripen more under your roof.
Hit up the grocery store, but also a roadside stand and the farmers market for the freshest fruits out there!
P.S. Generally speaking, a piece of fruit is better for you than just drinking its juice.
The following is another hint about fruit.
Dear Heloise: I love using fresh lemon and lime slices, juice and zest in recipes and beverages. I buy them by the bagful when they are on sale. The problem? Using the product in a timely way.
My solution is this: When I buy a full bag of lemons or limes, I slice several and freeze them on a tray, then bag them for future use.
I zest the rest, and spread the zest on parchment paper to dry before bottling. After zesting, I slice and juice those fruits, divide the juice in an ice cube tray, freeze, then bag the cubes for use in recipes. A quick 10 seconds in the microwave will thaw slices or juice for immediate use. Presto! Fresh lemon or lime slices, juice or zest whenever I want it!
Mary Z., via email
Mary Z.: Before juicing, roll the fruit on the counter to “loosen up” or “activate” the juices inside.
Dear Heloise: I've noticed my makeup brushes are looking scary. Help!
Sarah T. in Kentucky
Sarah T. in Kentucky: No worries! We should all clean our powder brushes about once per week, and brushes for liquid applications ideally every day, to keep bacteria away.
The best cleanser? Baby shampoo! Here we go:
1. Wet the bristles under a bit of running water. Don’t run the water over the handle — the water will seep inside and could loosen the glue.
2. Work in the shampoo to a brush’s bristles.
3. Rinse again, avoiding the handle.
4. Squeeze excess water out.
5. Lay flat on a towel to dry overnight.
Dear Heloise: Here's how I make a travel eye (sleep) mask:
I fold a facial tissue in quarters lengthwise and crease. Then I daub a fingerprint-size pat of hand lotion on my temples. Next, I "glue" the tissue across the bridge of my nose and over my eyes, and secure it to my head.
My friends may laugh at me, but this keeps the light out, and it's soft and comfortable!
Helen M. in Illinois