I don't know about you, but when I was a kid we read the Sears, Robuck catalog, the Farmers' Almanac and Consumer Reports like kids now read Harry Potter or Manga comicbooks. Okay, the windswept prairie circa 1960-whatever was not a cultural Mecca, but my point is that those publications were (and still are) vastly enjoyable reading material as well as good sources of information. Consumer Reports is a particularly good geek read, as you can not only learn which hybrid car, GE appliance or tractor suits your needs, but, now that the magazine is online, read useful things on their blogs.
Up today is a very handy post on how to store fresh fruits and vegetables. This is one of those things that seems obvious, but often isn't. Do you refrigerate your fruit and vegetables or leave them out? Which stuff do you wash? What gets frozen and when? Not only does CR have years of experience–since 1936–but they have, don't forget, actual testers. (Check out these hilarious vintage photos, archived on the site.)
CR informs us, for example, that beets go in the crisper: “lop off greens before refrigerating and use them in a salad or cook them as you would spinach and other greens.” Berries? “In a warmer zone of the refrigerator, unwashed, in a dry, covered container.” Leave the husks on your corn; put your avocados in a paper bag, and “add an apple or banana to the bag to accelerate ripening.”
There is all sorts of other strangely practical information. My favorite is this recent post from CR's Home and Garden blog: “Booze and mowers/tractors don't mix.” Right. Their website is also filled with highly entertaining links (“See how we test cars.”)
The Consumer Reports testing center, in Yonkers, New York, is the largest non-profit educational and consumer product testing center in the world. If I'm going to buy a refrigerator, I'll likely check CR. Good to know they'll tell me how to store what I put inside it too.