Dear Sara: Can you freeze onions whole? -- Tanya, Illinois
Dear Tanya: Yes, you can freeze a whole (or even quartered) onion. You'll have to peel, wash and core it beforehand. I prefer to chop my onions, freeze them flat on a baking sheet (to prevent them from sticking and clumping together) and then transfer them to a freezer storage bag. I chop or even dice them because that's how I use onions when cooking. Thaw them in the refrigerator or use frozen and straight from the bag. The texture changes when onions are frozen, so use them for cooked dishes.
Dear Sara: Do you have a frugal way to soften cuticles? -- Anna, Ohio
Dear Anna: Try a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Soak fingers in the solution for 10 minutes. A vinegar soak or simply applying lotion will work, too.
Dear Sara: How do you select a good pineapple? -- Dee H., Wisconsin
Dear Dee: Look for a plump, firm pineapple with green crown leaves. While pineapples do not ripen like bananas once they're picked, you can be fairly confident that a pineapple at your local store is ripe and delicious, even if it looks green.
I look for green and golden yellow tones. You don't want a pineapple that shows any sign of deterioration, such as bruising, leakage, wrinkles, softness or wilted or brown leaves. There's no need to tug on the crown to check for ripeness.
Dear Sara: Are there plants I can add to my garden to help deter mosquitoes? -- Pauline, Michigan
Dear Pauline: You can try lemon balm, lemongrass, ageratum, citronella plants, marigolds, horsemint, catnip, rosemary, garlic, eucalyptus or peppermint.
Dear Sara: I love the homemade laundry soap. I do have a question. I make the liquid for my high-efficiency machine, but I'm not sure what amount to use. I've been putting in 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on the size of the load. Is this the proper amount?
Also, the last time I made a batch, after letting it sit overnight, it separated. Did I not cook it long enough? Is it OK to shake it up and use, or should I reheat it? -- Kathy B., email