DEAR SARA: My relative just gave me a nice set of cloth luggage, but the cases have a musty odor. Do you have any suggestions for removing it? — Kay G., email
DEAR KAY: I would leave it open outside on a porch to air out. Next, use an odor absorber, such as kitty litter, baking soda, coffee grounds, charcoal (which you can find in the fish section at the pet store) or newspaper. Place one or more of these absorbers in the luggage and close it tight. After a few days you can remove the absorber and the smell will be much better. In the future, place some crumpled newspaper in the luggage when storing it. You should also look into the line of odor-eliminating products from Smelleze (smelleze.com). The company sells a pouch product that is specifically made for gym bags; I would expect it to work equally well on suitcases.
DEAR SARA: I have a 15-pound Butterball turkey that I purchased frozen in November 2011. It has been in my freezer since then.
Would you cook it? From what I have read, the general concern when food has been frozen that long is not so much safety as quality. I have read that one year is the threshold for quality, so I am thinking I could still go for it, but I would love to hear what you think. — Elizabeth, Washington
DEAR ELIZABETH: My experience has been that meat or poultry that has been frozen in an at-home freezer for an extended period of time (over a year) develops freezer burn. Two years is really pushing it when it comes to quality. The USDA recommends frozen food be consumed within one year.
They also encourage consumers to freeze turkey at 0 degrees F or below and caution that freezer storage times are for best quality.
If frozen continuously, turkey products will be safe indefinitely. So yours is safe to cook and eat, but don’t expect high quality. I would thaw it and check the overall quality before cooking it.
DEAR SARA: I just bought a muffin pan to make six jumbo-sized muffins. Compared to regular-sized muffins, how much longer should they take to bake? — Jean, Missouri
DEAR JEAN: Generally, at 350 degrees F, they bake for 20 to 30 minutes. I’d check at the 20-minute mark.
DEAR SARA: Can you freeze cereal? It’s on sale here, and I was going to stock up if it can be frozen. — H.F., Oklahoma
DEAR H.F.: Cereal has a long shelf life, so stocking up is a good choice. Check the date on the box. It typically has a best-if-used-by date that’s about nine to 12 months from the purchase date.
You have plenty of time to store it and eat it. You can freeze cereal; the problem is the amount of space it takes. Keep in mind that cereal goes on sale often and there are coupons for it regularly, too.
If you’re concerned about having multiple boxes open at a time, you can transfer cereal into plastic zip enclosure storage bags (gallon-size) and place the bag right back into the cereal box.
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www. frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email email@example.com.