Last week we asked readers to help with a couple of questions. True to form, the oily rag community rallied around with suggestions.
Viv from Masteron asked, "I have an excess of nashi pears. Has anyone got some good tips? I thought about jam but not sure what to put with them."
K. Silvester from Morrinsville suggests: "Make them into pear chutney. There are many recipes online and you just substitute the pears for nashi."
Busy Mum from Auckland asks, "Now the new recommendations suggest children should have 10 servings of fruit and veges a day, does anyone have tips on how to achieve this on a budget?"
Silvester also suggests , "For the vege side I would suggest salads and soups. I was raised in the 1960s on porridge for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch (that were jam/Marmite or peanut butter - sometimes cheese), a piece of baking and a piece of fruit plus a drink. Raisins were playtime food. Dinner was meat and "three vege" and I am a healthy person at 54. I think we need to be careful not to get too caught up with what the 'experts' tell us we need and do the best we can.
Plant a vege garden if you can and you will have no trouble meeting the vege intake per day you want for your family."
Faye from Auckland has this suggestion. "Quite recently I have started to make healthy green smoothies from the vege garden. Into the blender I put last night's leftover vege water, along with a handful of spinach and silver beet leaves, 2 or 3 young beetroot leaves and some parsley. To balance the bitterness, in goes two bananas and/or other fruit plus a sprinkling of cinnamon. Since having these smoothies I am sleeping better and am not so tired."
Graeme from Christchurch has an absorbing question. "I have bought some new towels that only smear the water, not absorb it. I did hear a long time ago you could put something in the wash-water to get rid of the manufacturer's dressing on the towels, but I can't remember what it was. I was wondering if anyone could help me make my towels absorbent."
There were lots of absorbing answers. "Soak the towel in a bowl with salt dissolved in warm water. I can't recall how much, but have an idea it was about 1 to 2 tablespoons. I'm sure using more if you wish will do no harm. Then wash the towel in the usual way." - MS, Christchurch.
"Soak the towels in water and add 1 tablespoon Epsom salts for each towel. That's how we used to get the dressing out of new towels." - Jo G, Christchurch.
"Always wash new towels first in hot soapy water. Then add half to one cup of white vinegar to the rinse.
"This removes the manufacturers' fabric softener they add to make their towels look soft and fluffy in the store. To keep them fluffy and absorbent, do your towel washing on a windy day and hang them out to dry. The wind will fluff them out again. Cheaper and better for your clothes and pocket than a tumble dryer." - Susan, West Auckland.
"Try adding white or brown vinegar to the wash rinse cycle to improve the absorbency of the towels." - Valerie.
And Warren asks, "Our mailbox has been invaded by snails and ants eating our mail - fine for the bills, but not so good for the cheques!
"Does anyone have a non-toxic solution (often our grandchildren clear our mail)?"
Annette from New Plymouth has a question about an all-too common problem.
"Have you any ideas what takes ballpoint pen off wallpaper (small child drawing!)"
And a reminder about the question from Melsy in Auckland: "Years ago, I was given a banana tree, which has grown so big that I cut a lot of it back. Now my clothes are covered in banana sap stains - any suggestions for removing these stains?"
If you can help Warren, Annette and Melsy, please let us know via the oilyrag.co.nz website.
If you have a favourite recipe or oily rag tip that works well for your family, send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz, or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei, and we will relay it to the readers of this column.