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Top Drawer: The best stuff for your home and garden

CorrespondentJuly 26, 2013 


Many cooks sing the virtues of cast-iron pans, but keeping them rust-free can be a problem.


Best for cleaning cast-iron pans

Many cooks sing the virtues of cast-iron pans, but keeping them rust-free can be a problem. The folks at say the solution is as close as your kitchen pantry.

You’ll need the end chunk of a potato that is large enough to be able to hold firmly, course salt, and a little vegetable oil, such as canola or olive oil.

Follow these steps for a rust-free pan:

1 Place your rusty skillet in the sink and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of salt into it.

2 Take your chunk of potato and start scrubbing. The moisture from the potato will help the salt dig into the rust.

3 The salt will get dirty quickly. Rinse out the pan as needed to survey your progress. If there is still rust, add more salt and repeat Step 2.

4 Continue scrubbing the sides, edges, bottom and handle of your pan. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

5 Place pan on a warm stove burner to dry any remaining moisture.

6 Once dry, put a small amount of vegetable oil into the pan and rub it in with a paper towel.

7 Keep pan over low heat for at least 30 minutes.

8 Let skillet cool. Make sure to wipe off any excess oil before storing your skillet. If you leave extra oil in the pan, it can turn rancid.

9 After each use, clean the pan – soap is not recommended – then put it over low heat and repeat the oil and paper towel process in Step 6.

You can read the post at

Best app for travel

The 30 Something Mother Runner website offers a list of helpful lifestyle apps for busy on-the-go moms. When it comes to organizing travel plans, the site’s blogger says the free TripIt app reigns supreme. She writes:

“For those of you with summer travel plans (or travel plans in general), Tripit is AWESOME! It scans all of your incoming travel-related emails (i.e. airline confirmations, train ticket purchases, and hotel reservations), and starts an itinerary for you. I relied on this app when we went to Jekyll Island, (Ga.,) and I was so happy to find that it kept everything nice and neat. I didn’t have to print out confirmations for anything. When we arrived at the rental car counter, instead of scanning my email for the confirmation email, I could pull up the info instantly on Tripit.”

You can see this mom’s top five time-saving apps at:

Best for bathroom rust rings

Eliminate unsightly rust rings from shaving-cream cans on your on bathroom tiles with a tip from Lifehacker. Just paint the bottoms of metal cans with clear nail polish to avoid rust stains in the bathroom.

Best for shucking corn on the cob

Ruth L. Hines of Raleigh and Joyce Gilliam of Sanford wrote in to share their tips for preparing succulent corn-on-the-cob.

Hines writes:

• Leave most of the husk on.

• Cut off the tip and some of the stock. That will leave the best part of the shuck on.

• Wrap in paper towel; then moisten the paper towel.

• Put in the microwave for 3-1/2 minutes per ear.

• Remove from microwave with potholder.

• The husk and silk will come off together.

Gilliam uses a similar method, but she starts with the entire husk and silks in place.

• Place the corn in the microwave as it comes from the farm. Yes, husk, silk, and all.

• Roast each ear for about 3 minutes.

• Chop off the stalk end about where you think the bottom of the ear is.

• Shake it out holding the tip end.

•  It should come out clean, crisp, with no silk and ready to butter and eat.

Best product

New Bern resident Elizabeth Harrison was having a hard time getting her dishes to come out sparkling clean after running them through the dishwasher. She says she found the solution in a product called Lemi Shine.

“If your dishes look as bad if not worse when they come out of the dishwasher, try Lemi Shine. It is AMAZING! I have hard water and my glasses always looked terrible. I read about this first in Shop Smart magazine and figured I had nothing to lose by trying it. After the first load I could see a difference.”

Best of the tube


For keeps. Ryan and Rachel found and lost a house they love, and now, the newlyweds are determined to find a forever home where they can plant roots and raise a family. Property expert Egypt Sherrod sets out to find the couple a sprawling home just outside Atlanta. “Property Virgins” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Cash-saving kitchen. When Nick and Melanie decided to move cross-country to be closer to family, there wasn’t much time for house hunting. They quickly settled on a 1949 suburban rambler. They scraped together $13,000 and want to stretch every dollar. How will James help Nick and Melanie stay on task and take their kitchen from dysfunctional and bizarre to easy-to-use and updated without raiding their kids’ college fund? “I Hate My Kitchen” airs at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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