Dear Heloise: I think I read somewhere that you shouldn't store potatoes in the refrigerator. Am I right, and if so, what is the reason? Paula P., Denver
You read right! The National Potato Council says not to store potatoes in the refrigerator. The starch in the potatoes changes to sugars if stored in the fridge, and this makes the potatoes have a sweet taste. The best place for potatoes is a cool, dark pantry or storage location with good air circulation, and use paper bags or open bins, not plastic bags.
Hint: Don't wash potatoes before storing, since the excess water can cause the potatoes to rot.Let's test your Heloise Potato Hint IQ: Which state produces the most potatoes? What is your guess? If you chose Idaho, then you are one hot potato! There are many states, including Maine, Michigan and Minnesota, that produce potatoes, but Idaho is the top one. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I buy those inexpensive, large packages of all-white washcloths to use for dishcloths. When they get dirty and stained, I put them in a small tub of bleach to soak. Then I throw them and the bleach in the washing machine with all the stained and dingy white laundry. Everything comes out bright and sparkling. Peggy Smith, Sebring, Fla.
Dear Readers: Some mornings, when I fix my cup of coffee but want something cool and refreshing to drink, I make my regular cup of coffee, add some ice cubes and pour it in the blender to make a refreshing glass of iced coffee. A dash of cinnamon or a drop of vanilla or butterscotch extract really zings it up. Heloise
Dear Heloise: One day, when I was cleaning a squash, I was having so much trouble getting the seeds and strings out clean. I tried using an ice-cream scoop and was amazed at how much easier they came out clean. This is how I now clean my squash. Betty Monty, Austin, Minn.
Dear Heloise: Wow did I ever fool my husband! NEVER would he eat brussels sprouts when I made them for dinner. I tried every way possible to make them more palatable to him, but to no avail.
Then one day I was making cabbage slaw and thought, Why not shred a few of them in with the shredded cabbage? I always add other ingredients to my slaw, such as chopped apple, celery, raisins, etc.I wish you had seen his face when I told him what he was enjoying eating that day! His mouth just dropped open! At first he didn't believe me, but then he had to accept the truth. Now I serve the sprouts that way quite often, and he can't even tell the difference. Bernice Grimes, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Dear Heloise: When making chicken stock, you can freeze leftover stock in ice-cube trays. Just pop the cubes out when you need them. Margaret Fibich, Houston
Dear Heloise: I use my plastic tortilla warmer as a child's plate when my young grandson is visiting. I use the larger tortilla warmer (plastic foam) to warm bagels.Comment on this story Also, I date leftovers with masking tape before putting them in the refrigerator. I have used this method for more than 20 years. A Reader, via e-mail
Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; e-mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.
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