Dear Heloise: I tried everything to keep my guacamole from turning brown, but nothing worked until I tried this: Put the guac into a container, leaving space on top and at one side. Place some chopped onion pieces into the side area only, and put the airtight lid on it. After 4 1/2 days, it was perfect and delicious! Not brown-colored at all. — Charlotte in Ventura, Calif.
Charlotte, I hadn’t heard of this one. Thanks for sharing. — Heloise
FRESH ROMAINE LETTUCE
Dear Heloise: Romaine lettuce will stay fresh and crisp for weeks if you cut off the bottom and place the leaves in a tall glass filled with fresh water. I change the water every day or two. Refrigerate, of course. — Shirley, via email
SOAK THE BEANS
Dear Heloise: For gas-free beans, soak 1 pound of beans overnight with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of castor oil. The next day, drain well, rinse two or three times and cook like you usually do. No gas at all, and no change in taste. — Johnny in Texas
Dear Readers: Here are some substitutes that will come in handy when you’re out of the ingredients you usually use:
• No celery for tuna or chicken salad? Use chopped coleslaw or minced water chestnuts. Fresh, crunchy and delicious.
• Need an unsweetened square of chocolate but don’t have one? Mix together 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening.
• No buttermilk? You can use yogurt in some baked goods.
There are various hints and recipes for sauces, spiced vinegars, sugar and egg substitutes and more in my pamphlet Heloise’s Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes.
To get a copy, send $3, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Seasonings, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. Make life easier with hints from Heloise’s kitchen. — Heloise
NO CANDLES, PLEASE
Dear Heloise: I have read your column for years — literally, as I am over 90 years old. For over 70 years, I was a cook and baker, and I made hundreds of cakes for birthdays with candles on top. Times change, and candles should not be on the top of the cake. On a cupcake or a cookie, but not a cake. One blow and others are sick. I made the change years ago. — Harriet P., North Bethesda, Md.
Dear Heloise: Microwave ovens do not heat food evenly. Letting the food stay in the microwave after cooking allows the heat to spread more evenly. — Earl B., Medway, Ohio
JUNK FOOD JUNKIE
Dear Readers: The following is in response to a letter we received about a son in Alabama who seemed to love sugary snacks and was very overweight. — Heloise
“Don’t buy the junk food! It’s like drinking and smoking — don’t buy the stuff. Let’s get smart.” — A Reader in Iowa
THE MIGHTY TOMATO
Dear Heloise: I’ve been reading about various foods to avoid, and the tomato has come up a few times. I thought tomatoes were supposed to be good for you. — Bridget H., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Bridget, if you have acid reflux or some other condition that your doctor tells you is aggravated by tomatoes, then it’s probably best to avoid them. However, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. They are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is believed to reduce the likelihood of cancer and heart disease. Most tomatoes are about 95% water, with the remaining 5% being fiber and carbohydrates. — Heloise
HERE’S A ‘HEADS-UP’ HINT
Dear Readers: Popcorn should be cooked only in microwave-safe containers or prepackaged microwave bags, according to the package directions. Kernels can scorch and catch fire if cooked in nonsafe containers such as brown paper bags. — Heloise
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or fax it to 210-HELOISE, or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.
© 2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.