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This article was published January 9, 2013 at 3:04 a.m.

— DEAR HELOISE: How long should you keep spices. I know that when spices were in tins, they couldn’t be kept longer than a year, but now that they are in jars, does the same rule apply?

  • Virginia C., Stafford, Va.

DEAR READER: Thereare still some spices in tins, but the majority are sold in glass or plastic containers. Here is a quick guide:Ground spices are good for two to three years.

Whole spices, three to four years.

Herbs, one to three years.

Seasoning blends, one to three years.

To help keep the spices fresh, store them in a cool, dry place, and keep them out of direct light. If you are ever in doubt about spices, because the taste or color is off, replace it.

An added hint: Extracts usually are good for about four years. However, pure vanilla will last indefinitely.

DEAR HELOISE: Will canned evaporated milk work as a substitute for milk when baking?

  • Sherril, via e-mail

DEAR READER: Yes. Many use it to add a richer, creamier flavor, so substitute it all you want. Added hint: Did you know that evaporated milk is real milk? The milk is heated just enough to get rid of about half of the water that is in it.

P.S.: Evaporated milk is available fat-free and is wonderful in coffee or hot tea.

DEAR HELOISE: I like to put some dried cranberries in my salad, and I really like the orange-flavored ones, but I can’t seem to find them anymore. My solution is to add grated fresh orange rind to the newly opened package. This keeps just as well as ever, and I get my orange cranberries.

  • Doris B., Spokane, Wash.

DEAR HELOISE: I love making fresh vegetable juice. I know it takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. I have found ways to cut down on the work.

First, I clean and cut the veggies at night, put them in a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator, and in the morning they are ready to go. I save time by putting a plastic bag as a liner in the receptacle that the roughage goes into. I take out the bag and place another in for the next day. I also use the same bags that the veggies come in so that I am recycling.

  • Nancy T. in New YorkSend 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 01/09/2013

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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