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HELPFUL HINTS

By HELOISE

This article was published November 7, 2012 at 4:21 a.m.

— DEAR READERS: Is a green bell pepper the same “fruit” as a red bell pepper? Yes! Available in colors of green, orange, red, yellow and even purple, these beautiful fruits (that’s right - it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) are available year round. When picked while they are green, these peppers are considered “not ripe.” The longer they are left on the plant, the sweeter they become, and the color changes from green to yellow, orange and then red.

Not only are they great to cook with, but they are even yummier when eaten raw, with or without a dip. Another healthy, tasty hint: Peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C, and red peppers contain twice as many vitamins as the green ones and are the sweetest-tasting!

DEAR HELOISE: We use a grapefruit spoon to scrape out seeds and insides of peppers instead of knives.

  • Geraldine T.in Milwaukee

DEAR READER: You’ve discovered one of the many things I use a grapefruit spoon for. They work well on grapefruits, but are perfect for seeding peppers and cucumbers. Section the meat not only of grapefruit, but also of oranges and kiwi fruits. Another hint: Use the spoon to remove pits from peaches, apricots and other fruits.

DEAR HELOISE: If I am baking potatoes for a crowd, couldn’t I put them in the dishwasher? Would that get them clean enough?

  • Mary I. in Dallas

DEAR READER: No - just the spray of water and high temperature of water won’t clean them. The dishwasher water will not clean all the crevices that a potato has. The Food and Drug Administration recommends simply washing fruits and vegetables under running water, with no soap or special produce wash. To make sure the potatoes are clean, you should gently scrub them with a vegetable brush.

DEAR HELOISE: I am a part-time caterer. Here is a hint I use when making crab cakes, salmon cakes or other foods that list bread crumbs as an ingredient. I use instant mashed potatoes instead. They are a good binding agent, and no one guesses “potato” as an ingredient. They just wonder how the food was formed so perfectly.

  • Brittany S., via e-mail Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or e-mail

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food, Pages 44 on 11/07/2012

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