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Everyday Cheapskate: How to keep lettuce fresh for weeks

Some tips that land in my email box are instantly recognizable as winners. But some leave me wondering, will that really work? Today’s first tip falls into the category, forcing me to test it out. Just to be sure. And guess what? It really does work. I don’t know why, but it does. Try it!

LETTUCE TRICK. I take a fresh head of lettuce, core it, wash and dry it thoroughly, then tear off chunks that will fit inside a quart-size Ziploc bag. Wrap the chunks tightly in paper towels, place in the storage bag, and seal tightly, mashing all of the air out of the bag while zipping shut. I keep several quart-size bags of lettuce in my produce bin for weeks at a time with no browning or wilting. It really works! — Carolyn, email

DIY RANCH DRESSING. Here’s a quick recipe for Ranch Dressing mix: Mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons minced onion flakes, 3 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/3 cup powdered (dry) buttermilk. Yield: About 1/3 cup mix. Store in tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. To use: Combine one tablespoon mix with one cup of mayonnaise and one cup milk, and whisk until smooth. — Todd, Texas

SHREDDED CHICKEN. Here’s an easy way to get perfectly shredded chicken in just seconds: While it is still hot, place the cooked chicken into your Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn it on to medium speed, and in just 20 seconds you’ll have perfect, restaurant-style shredded chicken. This won’t work well if the chicken is cold. — Dora, California

HEAT THE TAPE. Want to make sure that roll of masking or blue painter’s tape releases from the roll easily (even if it’s years old and has been sitting on a shelf in the garage)? Freshen it by microwaving it for 10 seconds. That will soften the adhesive just right for easy release. — Pete, Colorado

PREP GENIUS. Don’t you hate when you take the time to tape off walls and woodwork before painting, only to have the paint leak underneath the tape and make a mess? Here’s the way to make sure that doesn’t happen: Lay the tape onto the woodwork, and press the edge of the tape with the corner of your putty knife to prevent the wall paint from bleeding behind the tape onto the woodwork. — Anthony, email

SHOP TARGET. Here is the system that Target uses for marking down its merchandise weekly. Monday: electronics, kids clothing, cards, giftwrap. Tuesday: domestics, women’s clothing, pets and food items. Wednesday: men’s clothing, toys, lawn and garden, health and beauty items. Thursday: Housewares, lingerie, shoes, music, movies, books and luggage. Friday: auto, cosmetics, hardware and jewelry. Hit the store early in the morning to get what you need before anyone else knows about it. — Nancy, California

TWICE THE CLEAN. While cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar, put a spoonful of baking soda into the sink drain. When the pot is done, pour the hot vinegar water down the drain. Now you’ve cleaned both the coffee maker and the drain very well. — Donna, email

Would you like to send a tip to Mary?

You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state.

Mary Hunt is founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2013 release “Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day.” To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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