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Friday, September 19, 2014, 11:06 p.m.
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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published August 20, 2014 at 1:49 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Recently, a reader shared her hint about storing cooking fat in a glass jar, in the freezer, before garbage day. Here are just a couple of readers' hints on the subject.

• "Simply keep the fat in a container in the fridge, rather than the freezer. On a cat-litter-changing day, pour the fat into the soiled litter, which will absorb it. Put it in the trash as usual." Heloise here: I do hope it is put into a plastic bag!

-- Lori J., via email

• "I have found that used laundry-detergent bottles also can be used to pour that excess fat or used grease into. I store it under the sink until it is full, and then I put it out in the trash. The odor of the detergent residue in the bottle also cuts down on the smell." Heloise here: Please be sure that the grease is cool -- it might melt the plastic jug.

-- Clifford W. in Louisiana

DEAR HELOISE: When baking a cake or muffins, the instructions often say to test for doneness with a toothpick or knife. If it comes out clean, the product is cooked. For me, a toothpick often is too short, and a knife can mess up the appearance.

I bought a package of 100 wooden barbecue skewers that are 10 inches long and very inexpensive. They work great.

-- Louise G., Neptune, N.J.

DEAR HELOISE: May I add to your hint about freezing chopped onions and garlic for later use? (Heloise here: A reader asked if chopped onions and garlic could be frozen.)

It's important to spread the chopped items out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze them like that, then package the frozen bits in a plastic bag. That way, you can scoop out the amount you need and keep the rest frozen. If you pack them before freezing, they'll end up in a big clump.

-- Lisa in Tennessee

DEAR HELOISE: I usually pack a lunch for work. I mainly make salads, but I kept having a problem with the salad dressing. I didn't want the dressing already on the salad.

I took an empty, glass spice jar and cleaned it. The lid screws on tight, so I can place salad dressing in it and not worry about it leaking.

-- Kim J., Kansas City, Mo.

DEAR HELOISE: I love using my microplane for grating lemon, lime and orange zests. And it's great for using on parmesan and other hard cheeses. But I also discovered that I can use it for grating garlic and fresh ginger.

-- Wendy C., via email

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

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 08/20/2014

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