From The Tips Box: Defrosting Meat, Packing Materials

From The Tips Box: Defrosting Meat, Packing Materials

Readers offer their best tips for defrosting meat in the microwave, shipping items with just a paper bag, and remembering sensitive numbers like bank PINs.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in — the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Defrost Meat in the Microwave without Cooking It

Gary-the-Banana shows us how to defrost meat in the microwave correctly:

Fast, safe defrosting of meat and poultry without the unevenness and overcooking straight microwave nuking:

1) Put frozen cut in a sandwich bag or Ziploc bag, and seal.

2) Place in large bowl of water.

3) Nuke the whole thing for a minute or two.

4) Change out the water and repeat if necessary.

Keeping the water below boiling stops your meat from cooking, and acts as a heat-sink for the areas that get hottest most quickly. The result is a well defrosted piece of meat, without any cooked parts.

Use Just a Paper Bag for Packaging and Mailing

Photo by Anna-Stina Axelsson.

davecort tells us an efficient way to ship things without boxes:

When you sell something online and need to ship it, a plain brown grocery bag makes a fantastic mailer. It’s lightweight, heavy duty, and it can easily be folded and taped around items of many different sizes with little if any cutting. All you need is a few strips of packing tape to seal it up and pin down any flaps, and you’re good to go. It works best if the item is pretty rugged to begin with (like a hardcover book) or if it’s already in its own box, although I have had success wrapping an item in bubble wrap and then sealing it in a bag. Happy shipping!

Secretly Store Sensitive Numbers in Your Phone’s Address Book

Photo by Honou.

Grant Forrest lets us know a secret way to store easy-to-forget numbers:

If you can’t remember numbers you need, such as your Social Security Number or bank PIN, it can be useful to store them in your phone as pseudo-contacts. Memorize a small portion of them (for instance, for your SSN, the last four digits), then put the rest as the ‘phone number’ of a bogus contact whose name reflects it use— like Sophie N. for your Social, or anything that clues you in without giving it away. Add some phoney numbers on the end to make it add up to 7 digits, and you’ve got a fallback in case you forget. Never store the full number, though!

Disable New History Features in Opera 10.5

drezha shows us how to turn off some of Opera’s new features in Windows:

To disable the new “history” features in Opera 10.50 that cant be turned off in the settings menu, you need to browse to the %appdata%OperaOpera folder and edit the search_field_history.dat file with Notepad to remove search history and the typed_history.xml file to remove the typed history file. Make them both read only and they wont be saved again.

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