DEAR SUN SPOTS: We have bottles and cans that we would like to donate to a charity. They can be picked up and brought to a redemption center. Please leave a message on our answering machine at 782-1843. — No name, no town

DEAR SUNSPOTS: The offer of several boxes of books that appeared in the Oct. 17 Sun Spots is no longer available.  The books have found a home.  My apologies to any readers who had their hopes up! — Janet, no town

ANSWER: I’m just happy you were able to re-home the books. It’s important, now more than ever, to share our abundance with others.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the request for chair caning in the Oct. 2 Sun Spots, here are a couple more recommendations: Wendy in Andover can be reached at 357-1058. David and Donna at The Craft Shop at 597 Roosevelt Trail in Windham can be contacted at 892-0001. Their website is www.thecraftshopofmaine.com. — No name, no town

ANSWER: Thank you for reminding me of these!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My recipe for cauliflower soup (Oct. 19 Sun Spots) is much like yours, but without the milk.  Sauté two stalks of chopped celery, one chopped onion, and ¾ cup shredded carrots in two tablespoons of olive oil.

Cut cauliflower into florets and peel and cube four small potatoes. Steam or microwave these until tender, then mash them.

Combine all these ingredients with six cups of broth. Add one teaspoon each ground pepper and garlic powder. Finally, I use a hand blender to smooth out the soup. — Laurie, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: A while back, a reader asked for help with storing bananas. Since I’m shopping less frequently now because of the virus and having issues with reliable transportation, I would like to revisit the answer to that question.

ANSWER: It seems that if you wrap a strip of aluminum foil or plastic wrap around the stem ends, the bunch of bananas will last at least a week longer without turning brown. On the internet it says that, “Bananas, like many fruits, release ethylene gas naturally, which controls enzymatic browning and ripening of not the bananas, but other fruits nearby with much of that off-gassing taking place at the stem—or the crown—of the banana. By wrapping the crown of a bunch, you slow down the ripening process a bit.”

I read that storing bananas away from other produce helps keep them from ripening too fast as well. Since bananas are such an economical, healthy snack with so many uses in the kitchen, I encourage you to have them on hand and enjoy them. If they are ripening too fast, peel them and pop them into a container or zip-lock plastic bag and store them in the freezer to use for baked goods.

Frozen bananas are also delicious in smoothies or whipped into “ice cream.” For a single serving, thaw the banana just a touch then add a tablespoon or two of cocoa, a bit of sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, and a tablespoon or two of peanut butter if you like. Go ahead and experiment with other flavorings … it’s a tasty, healthy treat.

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. Please include your phone number. 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 emailed to [email protected].


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