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This article was published November 28, 2012 at 3:38 a.m.

— DEAR READERS: Do you use real or imitation vanilla extract? What is the difference? The first is cost. Real vanilla is more expensive because of the time it takes for the plant to grow and the way it is harvested. Imitation vanilla is manufactured at a cheaper cost.

Real vanilla is made from natural vanilla beans, while imitation generally is a combination of real vanilla and other ingredients, natural and artificial. Real vanilla lists alcohol as an ingredient, while imitation doesnot contain any alcohol.

There are those who think the imitation vanilla is bitter, but many cooks use it in baking with no noticeable aftertaste. More experienced cooks, however, will keep real and imitation on hand for specific recipes.

DEAR HELOISE: I’ve got mosquitoes swarming my kitchen. I used your mom’s hint of letting them collect on the walls and then sucking them up with the hose on the vacuum, but they just keep showing up! We don’t keep any doors or windows open, so I think they might be in our pipes.

  • Ainsley in Michigan

DEAR READER: Mother had the right idea for catching the mosquitoes flying around, because if you were to swat them, they’d stain the walls! First, check around the house for standing water in plant saucers or other areas. If you don’t find anything, then it is possible that these insects are coming from the drain in your sink. Plug the sink and fill it with the hottest tap water. Pull the plug using kitchen tongs, and the force of the water will flush away bugs and any larvae.

DEAR HELOISE: With only my husband and me to cook for, I freeze leftovers.Freezing the entire leftover quantity of soups and such requires a long thawing time, and I often don’t want to use all of the leftovers at one time. So I purchased silicone muffin pans, and I freeze the cups full (about 1/3 portions). Once frozen, I transfer them to a freezer bag. When ready to use, I remove only the portions needed.

  • Lana H., Bluefield, Va.

DEAR HELOISE: The egg tray in our refrigerator has slots for 14 eggs. When we have one or two left and buy another dozen, my husband marks the “old” eggs with a pen so we will know to use those first.

  • Marsha M., 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

Food, Pages 36 on 11/28/2012

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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