January 30, 2007
Helpful Hints from joeeze: What's the best way to remove wax from fresh fruits and vegetables?
The peerless investigators in the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen decided to settle this question once and for all.
The results appear in the latest (March, 2007) issue, in the "Notes From Readers" section; they follow.
Q. What's the Best Way to Remove Wax from Vegetables?
A. Our local supermarket carries a product called Veggie Wash, which purports to be significantly more effective at removing wax, soil, and chemicals from fruits and vegetables than rinsing with water alone. It contains water, corn and coconut derivatives, citrus oil, sodium citrate, glycerin, and grapefruit seed extract. Firm produce like cucumbers, apples, and oranges is to be sprayed with Veggie Wash, rubbed for 30 seconds, and then rinsed with water.
To find out just how effective this product is at removing surface residue, we peeled the waxiest cucumbers we could find. Then we weighed the strips of peel individually before cleaning them four different ways (repeated 10 times per method): under cold running water; hot running water; sprayed and rubbed with distilled white vinegar, followed by a cold-water rinse; and sprayed and rubbed with Veggie Wash, followed by a cold-water rinse. We also wiped down a set of cucumber peels with nail polish remover (a strong solvent) to use as a control by which to gauge the other methods.
We weighed the cucumber peels again after washing and averaged the weight-loss results of the 10 tests. Of the food-safe methods, the Veggie Wash removed the most wax, with the peels averaging a weight loss of 7 percent post-washing. (The peels wiped with nail polish remover registered a 12.8 percent difference.) With a 6.3 percent difference, the vinegar-rubbed sample was a very close second, followed by the hot-water rinse (5.4 percent) and cold-water rinse (4.9 percent). While the 16-ounce bottle of Veggie Wash did produce a noticeably less-waxy surface, we don't think it's worth its $5.95 price tag. A spray bottle filled with vinegar works nearly as well at a fraction of the cost.
Disposable Hair Collectors
Hey — it's a nasty job but someone's gotta do it.
From the website:
- Disposable Hair Collectors
Peel-and-stick filters prevent hair from blocking tub or shower drain but let water pass through.
Simply remove the durable plastic barrier when it becomes clogged — then toss it out, complete with contents!
20 for $4.99.
Pet Oxygen Mask
Some fire departments rescue more animals from fires than people.
In the past, they've used oxygen masks intended for humans to treat animals suffering from smoke inhalation and lack of oxygen.
Now fire companies nationwide are receiving specialized masks (above and below) used by veterinarians to enable a better fit on rescued animals.
Interestingly enough, individuals cannot buy these Australian-made pet oxygen masks; they are only sold to veterinarians by Smith Medical, the American distributor now helping to get them into fire stations across the country.
Here's a link to a story about the masks; the site includes a video.
Letter Opener Magnifier
From the website:
- Letter Opener Magnifier
This handy letter opener has its own magnifier so you can read cards, advertisements, bills... even the small print.
No more searching for spectacles or magnifying glass!
Assorted colors; we'll choose for you.
3-1/2"L x 2-1/4"W.
Plastic and glass.
Give one to someone and make a new friend.
2 for $4.49.
BehindTheMedspeak: Anatomy of a Sneeze
Today's Washington Post Health section front page story on what makes you sneeze or cough is a superb deconstruction of everyday ills.
An interactive feature is most informative.
HydraCoach Intelligent Interactive Water Bottle — 'It thinks while you drink'
Hey, I'm all for so-called "distributed intelligence" but this may be a sip too far.
From the website:
- HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle
• Sip Tracker — displays the amount and percentage of fluid consumed relative to your Personal Hydration Goal
• Personal hydration calculator — automatically calculates a recommended daily Personal Hydration Goal
• Time Tracker — displays the amount of time elapsed for the day to reinforce proper pacing
• Average consumption — displays the average amount of fluid consumed per hour
• Drink monitor — monitors the total amount of fluid consumed through the day
This is all very well from the point of view of I (Intake) but what about O (Output)?
Who's tracking that?
I'm so glad you asked.
As you read these words, over a dozen of the finest minds in my super-secret research facility in Hyderabad are putting the finishing touches on the UroCoach™.
Details to follow — as they say — real soon now.
But I digress.
The HydraCoach is available in Blue (top), Orange or Smoke.
UnderEase Anti-Flatulence Underwear — 'Wear them for the ones you love'
I knew I shouldn't have put up that brief safe.
Oh, well — I guess it's too late now.
All kinds of stuff is now being sent my way, much of it hilarious but completely unsuitable for this Disney-Approved/G-Rated site.
These underpants, though, do appear appropriate.
I guess it all depends on what you believe the meaning of "appropriate" is.
From the website:
- Revolutionary New Underwear For Offensive Gas
"Over 10,000 Satisfied Customers"
UnderEase are underwear for protection against bad human gas (malodorous flatus) and are made from a soft air-tight fabric (polyurethane-coated nylon). To maintain the air-tightness, elastic is sewn into the material around the waist and both legs.
A triangular "exit hole" for the flatus to be expelled is cut from the back of the air-tight underwear, near the bottom. This "exit hole" is covered with a "pocket" made of ordinary porous fabric sewn over the "exit hole". This unique design forces all expelled gas (flatus) out through the "pocket".
Inside the "pocket" is a high-functioning, replaceable filter — the core of the technology. This multi-layered filter is made in a sandwich-style, and begins with the two outer layers of wool felt. The second two layers are made of non-woven polypropylene and spun glass materials. In the center of the filter is a single layer of activated carbon.
The filter is then covered with soft ordinary material to allow for easy replacement in or out of the pocket. The underwear are washable and will last approximately a year depending on the frequency of use and laundering. Each filter will last from several weeks to several months depending on the frequency of use and laundering.
Available in Male (above) and Female (below) styles: $24.95.
Plus sizes (Unisex; below):
But perhaps you're not ready to make that kind of financial commitment in order to explore this cutting-edge technology.
I hear you.
And so do the folks at UnderEase.
They've created a lower-priced line called Gas Eaters (below)
for those folks who want to test the water — to mix a metaphor in a most unfortunate fashion — before jumping in.
Unisex, with a non-replaceable filter: $9.95 a pair.