Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smart Tips Thursday

Looking for a Mosquito Repellent for the Great Outdoors? Look no further......... the CITRONELLA GERANIUM

This is a very pretty plant with beautiful white edged leaves that repels Mosquitoes. And it works! I have used one on my side patio for the last few years. This year it bloomed for the first time, a lovely little pink flower. This is usually an annual but could be held over inside for the winter.

As you may have noticed this says Smart Tips Thursday instead of Tuesday. I messed up, too busy, and I forgot to post this on Tuesday. I am adding one more tip to make up for my omission.

Have you ever wondered what ALUM is? You might know that it is used in pickling, cucumbers, Maraschino cherries, etc. But have you ever thought about what's in that little spice bottle, that you find in the store next to Allspice? Well, it's a little scary.....first, of all, Alum is a salt, that in chemistry is a combination of an alkali metal ( sodium, potassium,ammonium) and trivalent metal( such as aluminum, iron or chromium) and that is the bad part. We don't need any more aluminium in our bodies, with the studies out there about Alzheimer's. Sodium aluminum sulfate is an ingredient in commercially produced baking powder (which is why many have switched to Rumford Baking Powder (it has none). Have you ever noticed the faint metallic taste to other baking powders? It comes from the Alum.

The potassium based Alum has been used to produce crisp cucumber, watermelon rind pickles, and other pickled items for a very long time.

"Alum is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a food additive, but in large quantities-well, an ounce or more-it is toxic to humans. As a result, efforts have been made and are being made to wean us of our alum dependency. The US Department of Agriculture says that if good quality produce and modern canning methods are employed, there is no need to use alum to bolster the crispness of our pickles and cherries. In any even the department says, even if Alum is used to soak the pickles, it should not be used in the final pickling liquid."

I have been making garlic/dills since the 70's and everyone loves them but I did use Alum and I felt I needed more information about it before I used it again. Just the short version of Aluminum starting me wondering if it was related.....low and behold. I sure don't need that in MY pickles.


  1. Happy I don't need citronella here! Let me know when you need the dill. It's in full bloom now.

  2. Thanks for the info on Alum, I was'nt aware either. A citronella geranium, who knew?

  3. The mosquito's are really bad here this year. I need to find a geranium like that....

    Yes, stay away from aluminum....good advice.


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