Alexandra Ossola

Alexandra (Alex) Ossola is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She writes frequently about science for a number of online and print outlets.
What Is Castile Soap, and How Can You Use It?
Here's what makes this household staple so powerful.
Apr 1, 2024
What Is Vinegar and What Makes It a Good Cleaner?
How does something so sour clean so well?
Sep 20, 2022
Is It OK to Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Not only are watermelon seeds perfectly safe to eat, but there are also a few fun things you can do with them!
May 31, 2020
Why You Should Travel With Prunes (You Kind of Know Already)
Even if you’ve never tried a prune, you know of their reputation. Grandparents keep prune juice in the fridge to keep them, er, regular. Younger backed-up relatives (read: your baby-boomer parents) may indulge in the dried plums to help them relieve themselves. And prunes can be useful for another crowd: constipated travelers. Prunes, in case you didn’t already know, are a specific type of plum that have been dried. They’re sticky and sort of taste like a giant raisin.
May 24, 2019
The Science Behind Why Airplane Food Tastes Different
Somehow beef stroganoff seems like the safest bet, given the options. The flight attendant slips the tray from its rack on the cart and onto your fold-out tray table. You cautiously inhale as you peel back the condensation-covered plastic, hoping the aroma of your meal doesn’t put you off eating altogether. We’ve all been there — or if you haven’t personally tasted the unappetizing mid-flight meal, you’ve at least heard about its poor reputation.
May 24, 2019
It’s Time to Put Your Bait on the Plate
I wasn’t quite sure what to ask for when I went into my local fish shop. “I’d like to cook some small fish,” I said awkwardly. “What do you have?” The fishmonger sold me on some anchovies, imported the day before from Portugal, and a perch, brought to the shop that morning from the nearby Long Island Sound. The fishmonger cleaned the fish and cut the tails and heads off the anchovies. Now I just needed to figure out how to cook them.
May 1, 2019
Why Eating the Rainbow Is Good for You, According to Nutritionists
Some of our favorite foods are white, or whitish — bread, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, vanilla ice cream, to name a few — but if you limit yourself to pigment-free foods, you miss out on both the huge diversity of foods and also important nutrients. That’s because color (so long as it’s not artificial) is basically a shorthand for nutrients.
May 1, 2019
3 Reasons Salt Is a Smart Cleaning Choice
Salt is basically magical. It makes everything taste, well, better. It takes chocolate from sweet to surprisingly savory. It makes potato chips irresistible. And we all know how amazing that bite of cookie is when you hit a small patch of salt that hasn’t been mixed in. It’s also pretty useful when it comes to non-cooking matters. Allow us to geek out for a little bit while we talk about what makes salt so good for cleaning. It used to be that buying salt was pretty simple.
May 1, 2019
What Makes Lemons Such Good Cleaners?
A kitchen staple for their incredible versatility, lemons add brightness and acidity to sweet and savory dishes. They bring a hint of sunniness in the depths of winter, and on a hot summer day give us homemade lemonade, the perfect thirst-quencher. But lemons are good for so much more. These citrus fruits are a natural cleaner, too. Here, we get a bit geeky about what makes them so useful. As you probably know if you’ve ever bitten down into a lemon, these fruits are pretty sour.
Oct 11, 2016
Why Is Baking Soda Such a Good Cleaner?
Baking soda, a mainstay of many baking recipes, has colonized territory way beyond the baking rack. It can be found lurking in the backs of refrigerators, in cleaning kits tucked beneath the sink, and in the list of ingredients for natural deodorants and toothpastes.
Oct 6, 2016
Why Are So Few Foods Blue?
A visit to the farmers market — especially right now — will likely yield a rainbow-colored assortment of fruits and veggies. Come August, the tomatoes alone will span the spectrum from red to purple with nearly everyt shade in between. And yet, if you want something blue, your options are much more limited. Of course there are blueberries, but the dearth of blue makes us wonder (and maybe you’ve been wondering, too): Why is it that so few foods are blue?
Jun 13, 2016