Kitchen talk: What is the proper way to store garlic?

Do you store garlic bulbs on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator or pantry? You might want to rethink that.

If you store them correctly, you can keep the cloves fresh and crisp for years, says Ron Stidmon, who co-owns Enon Valley Garlic in Enon Valley, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Rosemary.

Q: What is the proper way to store garlic?

A: Traditionally, garlic is stored in a cellar along with the potatoes and onions. But it also can be placed in a brown paper bag and stored in a basement that is cool and dark with relatively high humidity.

Cool does not mean freezing, and it is important that the basement is unheated. The air should not be stagnant because when there is movement of air, mold won’t settle on the garlic.

Keeping that in mind, the worst places to store the bulbs are on the kitchen counter or in a refrigerator or pantry. The counter space near the stove is too warm. The refrigerator is not ideal because it does not have any air movement, and the humidity is too low. Garlic stored in a pantry or closet is all right for a short period of time but not for the long haul. It will shrivel because the air is dry, and there is no ventilation.

If you don’t have a basement, place the bulbs in a good plastic box and put it in the dirt. The soil has a good temperature that will help to keep the bulbs fresh.

Q: Should I discard any garlic that has sprouted?

A: A garlic with a sprout does not mean that it has gone bad. In fact, it’s OK to eat garlic that has a sprout because a young one is nutritious, even though it can be a little bitter. But do consume the garlic soon because as a sprout grows, the juice is transferred from the bulb to the green part. As a result the garlic will start turning brown and shrivel.

Q: What about long-term storage?

A: One way to keep garlic fresh for years is to store the cloves in a jar along with vinegar. Start by removing the wrapper. Then place the cloves in a 4-quart jar along with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Top the jar with filtered or bottled water, and place it in the refrigerator. This will preserve and not pickle the garlic and also keep it nice and crisp.

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How to install the proper venting in a double-bowl sink in a kitchen island

How would you install the sink drain pipes in my island if you were my plumber? I’m also interested in any other tips you can provide to make my new kitchen plumbing trouble-free for years. — Martha W., Rapid City, S.D.

A: I’ve been a master plumber since age 29, and I have to chuckle at how perfectly Martha has summed up the issue! Some new building products are simply wonderful; many others are not that great. That said, I’m a big fan of not having moving parts in plumbing systems, so you’ll never see an air-admittance valve, a.k.a. AAV, on one of my jobs, nor would I ever use one in my own home.

An AAV is designed to allow fresh air into a plumbing system and not let sewer gas leak into your home. But sometimes they just don’t work right and sewer gas can leak. I’ve had countless homeowners over the years send me emails complaining about this and asking how to eliminate the AAVs.

In situations like Martha’s kitchen island, where you simply can’t install a traditional vent pipe that is hidden behind the plumbing fixtures, the best solution is a traditional loop vent. These hidden vent pipes are connected to the drain pipes and eventually connect together up higher in your home and often exit the house through one or more little pipes you see poking through your roof.

The purpose of the roof vent pipes is to allow air into your plumbing system. When your plumbing drain system is not in use, all the pipes are filled with air except for the water that’s in the traps under sinks, tubs, showers, floor drains and toilets.

When you run water in a sink or flush a toilet, you add a volume of water to the system and in the case of a violent addition like a toilet flushing, the air in the pipes is forced through the system much like a bullet forces air out of a rifle barrel when you pull the trigger. This air must be replaced instantly through the roof vents or the system will go hunting for the air and suck it through a sink or tub drain nearby the flushing toilet.

Perhaps you have heard this sucking or slurping noise from a tub or sink. This is an indication of a problem in your vent system, and sewer gas can enter your home via the trap that now has no water in it.

Here’s how the kitchen loop vent works. I’d love to meet the long-dead plumber that thought this through because it’s such a simple and elegant solution to a problem. It’s important to realize that with a kitchen island sink, you don’t want some ugly vent pipe to extend through the countertop and run up to your kitchen ceiling. No one would find that acceptable, for goodness sake.

A loop vent gets the needed air from the actual drain pipe just 4 or 5 feet away from your

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The Importance of Selecting Proper Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is critical. This is usually the first room we enter in the morning, setting the mood for the remainder of the day. It's also the room we enter when we are half asleep in the middle of the night.

Washing, putting on make-up, shaving, grooming, and taking medications are but a few of the daily routines in the bathroom. There is no other room in the home where optimizing both daylighting (natural outdoor light) and lighting (light bulbs) is more critical.

Daylighting is important for our overall health and emotions as it sets our circadian rhythms (how natural light affects and resets our biological clock and consciousness). Lighting is critical for our safety (80% of all falls for older adults occur in the bathroom) and personal grooming.

Daylighting

Nothing comes close to beating the warmth, beauty, and emotional value of windows and skylights. These brighten your mood helping you feel more refreshed and energized. They make a smaller bathroom look much bigger. They also have the added value of fresh air and help reduce moisture levels (high levels of moisture can create harmful levels of mold and bacteria and destroy your walls and ceilings).

Windows provide free, energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting and ventilation. They are actually good for you. It has been shown in several prominent studies that daily exposure to natural light can improve mental and physical well-being, boost concentration and energy levels, and offer a variety of other unexpected perks.

Multiple windows allow for balancing the natural light, cross ventilation, and "opening" the bathroom to the outside. Larger windows can have bottom-up / top-down shades for privacy. Windows can also open in various combinations. Skylights, especially the tube type, offer tremendous opportunities for natural light in small spaces where a traditional window is not practical. A 10 "tube type skylight lets in at least 5-10 times more light than a typical 2×3 sliding bathroom window.

Lighting

Recess lights, especially LED, are terrific for adding task lighting in the general space, including the water closet. For most bathrooms, LED recess lighting on a dimmer is best. It's always better to "over light" and use dimmers to adjust. Never use fluorescent lights – the bathroom is not a warehouse.

A light over the tub and shower is ideal for providing both mood and grooming lighting. Shaving legs is so much easier when you have overhead lighting.

For vanity areas, wall sconces mounted either overhead or on the sides of the mirror are best. This removes shadowing on the face which makes applying makeup much easier and gives definition when applying lines. Combining both wall sconces and recess lights within the vanity area solves both the shadow and task concerns. Putting on makeup and doing your hair is much easier when combining the two.

Always use multiple switches and dimmers for lighting. This permits a vast array of possibilities for everyone who uses the bathroom. Everyone has different needs and the value of doing this cannot be over stressed.

An …

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