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This article was published February 5, 2014 at 1:46 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I live by myself and need to save as much food as possible. I clean a whole stalk of celery, then cut it in lengths to fit in a large jar. I put cold water over it, put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator. It keeps for a long time and stays crisp.

  • L.H. in Mississippi

DEAR READER: This is one way to store celery. I do something similar so I can just grab a stalk. However, you really need to put only about an inch or so of water in the jar, as the stalks will soak that up and stay crisp and crunchy.

DEAR HELOISE: Recently, a friend made an expensive gumbo with $150 worth of seafood. She called me when she opened the refrigerator and said that, upon lifting the pot’s lid, it was bubbling over.

Restaurants cool down large quantities with ice wands. My hint for at home is that you freeze a 1- to 2-liter soda bottle (plastic). You can place it in the pot when you pull it from the stove, and it will start to cool down.

  • Miriam J., via email

DEAR READER: This is a good lesson for all of us. After cooking large quantities of something, try putting it into smaller containers before placing in the refrigerator. However, cooling down soup using your hint would help prevent the bubbling over that your friend experienced.

Another method for cooling soups in large pots is to submerge the pot in a sink or tub filled with ice water. Soups are a great meal to cook ahead and freeze. Freeze soup in smaller quantities (one serving, two servings or four servings) for unexpected guests or for a quick meal.

DEAR HELOISE: Pudding snacks were on sale, so I bought a lot. I cut a slit in the foil, insert a wooden craft stick and freeze. I cover it with foil so the stick will stand up. Kids love them.

  • Barbara C. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: Recently, I couldn’t find my small funnel to refill my salt and pepper shakers. I grabbed a round icing tip from my cake decorating set. It worked well, as there were no spills!

  • Lisa Z. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: I have difficulty opening packages, bottles and jars. I solved the problem of opening small, screw-top bottles by using a nutcracker that has been in the family for years.

  • Virginia E. in California

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

Food, Pages 36 on 02/05/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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