Dear Sun Spots: Truly, this is my favorite part of the paper and a great service to all of us. My question is about shredding confidential papers. I have years of canceled checks and bank statements that I don’t want to put in the regular trash. I do own and regularly use a shredder but the amount of shredding I have from cleaning out old files would burn it out. Is there anywhere I can take this mound of paper to be shredded? Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, you might like to try contacting your local copy store to see if this is a service they offer.

Dear Sun Spots: I have been looking for Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix in the Lewiston/Auburn area. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, try the company itself. They can be reached at Tabasco Country Store Customer Service, McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, LA 70513. You can also e-mail them at [email protected] or talk to customer service at (800) 634-9599. They are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.

Dear Sun Spots: Since using zipper freezer bags, I have had a lot of freezer burn in my vegetables. I draw all the air out and the bags are as flat and tight as can be. However, sometime during the storage process they let air in, and ice crystals form. I never used to have that problem with the twist kind. I have tried the UM Extension Service and the “expensive name brand” customer service. No one has an answer. Has anyone else had this problem and do you have a suggestion? My granddaughter suggested that as the contents expand in freezing, maybe they blow the seal or make a small break in the bag. Thanks Sun Spots! – Marilyn Burgess, Leeds.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, you don’t mention how long you are freezing your products for. Is it possible you’ve been leaving them in longer than recommended? Might you also be trying to freeze vegetables that don’t freeze well? Vegetables that don’t freeze well include: Cabbage, celery, cress, cucumbers, endives, lettuce, parsley, radishes and Irish potatoes.

Also, according to www.askthemeatman.com, packaging materials must be moisture-vapor resistant; durable and leak proof; not become brittle or crack at low temperatures; be resistant to oil, grease or water; protect foods from absorption of off-flavors or odors; easy to seal; and easy to mark. Good freezing materials include rigid containers made of aluminum, glass, plastic, tin or heavily waxed cardboard; bags and sheets of moisture-vapor resistant wraps; and laminated papers made specially for freezing.

Heavy-duty aluminum foil can be used as a freezer wrap. Because it can be torn or punctured easily it is wise to use an overwrap. Lightweight (household) aluminum foil is not satisfactory for home freezing.

Wax paper is not a suitable freezer wrap because it’s not moisture-vapor resistant. In addition, bread wrappers are not sufficiently moisture-vapor resistant to be used for freezing. A freezer-weight polyethylene bag should be used. Zip-type bags that are designed for and marked for freezer use can be used. Cardboard cartons for cottage cheese, ice cream or milk are not sufficiently moisture-vapor resistant to be suitable for long-term freezer storage. If using glass jars, choose wide-mouth dual purpose jars made for freezing and canning; these jars have been tempered to withstand extremes in temperatures. If standard canning jars (those with narrow mouths) are used, leave extra head space in liquid packs (¾-inch for pints; 1½-inches for quarts) to allow for expansion of food during freezing and completely thaw food before removing it. Do not use regular canning jars for foods packed in water.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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