Don’t Cover Up These Beans
Dear Heloise: In a response to a reader in a recent column, while it is wise to cover and refrigerate, it is not wise for all foods. Homemade refried beans do not refrigerate well while covered. I kept covering my refried beans and they kept growing mold.
As a Hispanic man, beans are a staple in my home, as I’m sure many of your Hispanic readers across the country can attest. My mother educated me to refrigerate in an open container. I’ve kept them uncovered up to about 10 days with no mold. They will dry out a bit, but just add a little water.
FREEZE OR REFRIGERATE
Dear Heloise: Before I freeze an item that is at room temperature, I put it in the refrigerator and chill it thoroughly before it goes in the freezer.
Freezing an item at room temperature warms the items around it in the freezer and takes more time to freeze. — Mary H., via email
Dear Heloise: My cakes used to be dry until my daughter told me to use milk instead of the water that is called for.
I use 2% milk, and it works great! — Sue, Ft. Wayne, IN.
Sue, when you substitute milk for water you get a much richer flavor because of the added fat, which also keeps the cake moist. And, as a bonus, you’re adding nutrients.
You also can increase the moisture in a cake by adding a box of instant pudding or four egg yolks instead of three whole eggs. — Heloise
POTS AND PANS
Dear Heloise: My aluminum pots and pans are dull. How can I get them back to their shiny appearance? — Mattie D, Norton, Ohio
Mattie, fill your aluminum pots and pans with water and add two tablespoons of cream of tartar, then bring to a boil. The shine comes back in a few minutes. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: My once lovely laminated countertop has gotten so dull. Am I using the wrong cleaner? — Carmen in Colorado
Carmen, first, never use an abrasive cleaner on laminated countertops. They’re certain to scratch and eventually remove the finish.
A solution of warm water and a mild dishwashing soap with a soft cloth should be enough to clean the surface.
Try polishing your countertop with a plastic laminate cleaner, which will give you a soft, low luster. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: How can I remove burned-on grease from my glass cookware? — JoAnn W., Butte, Montana
JoAnn, the best way to remove burned-on grease from glass is with ammonia and a soft nylon scrubber. — Heloise
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.