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All About Leaves


An easy secret to cutting fresh basil leaves into fine strips: Starting with the largest leaves, stack one on top of the other. Tightly roll leaves (beginning at the pointed end). Thinly slice rolled leaves crosswise into strips.

Make your own air freshener: Mix 1/2 cup crushed bay leaf, 1/4 cup dried sage and 1 cup witch hazel. Let sit at room temperature for three days. Strain and transfer remaining liquid to spray bottle.

Place bay leaves in kitchen drawers and in flour and sugar sacks to keep crawling insects away.

Don’t throw away used green tea leaves; they work well to mask odours in kitty litter. Also, place green tea leaves in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator to absorb odours; eats odours for up to three days. Following the fridge, sprinkle the leaves around plants to add nutrients or rub hands with wet green tea leaves as a deodorizer after cutting onions or garlic.

If you or someone you love has smelly shoes, help is on the way. Put tea leaves into a pair of stockings and stuff each into a shoe. Let sit for a day or two. The smell disappears.

Clean windows, glass and mirrors by collecting tea leaves in a bucket. Cover with rainwater and let sit overnight. Strain and use with a squeegee. Dry with three-day-old or older newspaper.

Leftover herbs? Put the leaves into a food processor with a small amount of water. Grease an ice cube tray and drop herbs into tray. Freeze. Put herb cubes into freezer bags. One cube equals 2 tbsp. fresh herbs.

Garnish food with lettuce leaves by placing one large romaine or iceberg leaf underneath sandwiches on platters, devilled eggs or vegetables.

Compared to iceberg, romaine lettuce leaves are loaded with vitamins. Romaine has three times as much vitamin C and vitamin A as iceberg.

Clean houseplants by wiping the leaves with the soft inside of a banana skin. The banana skin brings up a lovely shine and removes dust while adding a great smell to your home.

Don’t have a banana? Use a little milk on a soft cloth to wipe down the leaves of houseplants to keep them shiny.

Store coriander leaves in a muslin cloth bag in the refrigerator. They will remain fresh for a longer time.

After raking the yard, do not throw away the leaves. Spread them over the garden and wet down. Till in the spring. This adds nutrients for the plants, as the leaves decompose.

To keep dogs and cats from chewing up leaves and digging in soil, bury cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon peels just underneath the soil.

An easier way to get leaves and debris into garbage bags is to make a funnel. Use an old laundry basket that fits inside the garbage bag. Cut out the bottom of the laundry basket to make the funnel.

Reena Nerbas is the author of the national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives, available online and in stores across Canada. She graduated as a home economist from the University of Manitoba and speaks professionally on the subject of fixing life’s messes by using products behind everyone’s cupboard doors. As well as being a columnist, Reena can be heard on radio and TV programs across Canada and the U. S.

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