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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published March 19, 2014 at 5:00 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a question about how to wash my apples. The skin has a waxy feel. Someone told me to just peel them, but that takes time and is messy. I sure would like to have a good, clean apple!

  • Carolyn S. in Texas

DEAR READER: You can get one very easily while preserving the skin, which contains fiber and some nutrients. You can run it under water, rubbing with your hands or a paper towel, or use a vegetable brush. The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend using detergents or soaps. Did you know that apples make a natural wax coating? Most of that natural wax is removed when the apples are harvested and washed. An approved (safe to eat) wax is then applied before apples are sold. This wax keeps moisture in and prolongs the shelf life.

DEAR READER: In Heloise Central, we were talking about mayonnaise and salad dressing spread, and we started wondering if they are the same, but if not, what is the difference? Here is what we found:

• They are similar, but not the same. Mayonnaise is thicker and is made of oil, egg and vinegar. To be labeled as "mayonnaise," it must have at least 65 percent oil by weight.

• Salad dressing spread is not as thick, is made with less oil and has added spices (like paprika), which makes it sweeter-tasting.

• What you prefer often comes down to which was used in the household when you were growing up.

DEAR HELOISE: Sometimes microwaving stale baked goods can make them seem fresher. If a roll or breakfast pastry is old, wrap it in a damp paper towel (one that has been thoroughly wet and then wrung dry). Microwave at the lowest setting for about 10 seconds. The end result is amazingly like fresh.

  • Susan J. in Virginia

DEAR HELOISE: We have a lot of recipes we want to try that call for "egg substitute." Since we never buy that, we are wondering if you could tell us how much one raw egg would equal if you are using an egg substitute.

  • R.I.H., via email

DEAR READER: Very good question, and many people are using egg substitute to watch cholesterol intake and calories. So, here is the conversion chart:

• One large egg equals 1/4 cup of egg substitute.

• Two large eggs equal 1/2 cup, etc.

DEAR HELOISE: When I open a can of tomato paste, refried beans or any other thick and pasty item, I open both ends, then remove the bottom and push the contents through from the top down. This is a no-mess way to get all of the contents out.

  • Carol T. 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 on 03/19/2014

Print Headline: Helpful Hints


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