DEAR HELOISE: Most cheese, even when stored in the refrigerator, will begin to mold after a while. However, the parmesan cheese in the shaker-type container, no matter how long it is kept, seems never to develop mold. Does it ever develop mold and it just can't be seen, or does it simply not mold? How long should one keep this cheese for safe consumption?
-- Ray M., via email
DEAR READER: Well, Ray, here's what I found, after calling the manufacturer. The cheese will show mold eventually, even if kept under the best refrigerated conditions. So, make sure to consume the cheese prior to or within three months after the "Best When Purchased By" date that is stamped on the bottom of the container.
P.S.: I write the date that I open the container on the bottom in black marker. This way, I know when several months have passed and I need to purchase new cheese.
DEAR HELOISE: I save my grocery-store receipt until the next time I go shopping. I use a magnet to stick it on the side of my refrigerator. This is handy, because I can look at the receipt to see what foods I bought as a reminder that I need to use things before they go bad. Also, if I come across a bad product, I have the receipt, so I can take it back and get a refund.
-- Linda C. in Washington
DEAR HELOISE: I've tried the various "sponge dishes," etc., that are commercially available and have yet to find one that doesn't collect soap scum or leave my sponge smelling of mildew.
To solve the dilemma, I cut vertically into the open end of a plastic net vegetable bag (potatoes and Brussels sprouts, for example, come in these). I make the cut long enough that I can tie a knot with the two sides and still have a 4-inch opening. I have a heavyweight soap dispenser sitting on the edge of my sink. I tie the net bag around the neck of the soap dispenser so that it hangs into the sink without touching it. I slip my sponge into the open slit of the bag, and it hangs in the sink. The sponge dries quickly after each use.
-- Margaret B., via email
DEAR HELOISE: When I am making cupcakes or muffins, I use a measuring cup to put the batter in the cupcake/ muffin tin. No more mess!
-- Betty H. in Ohio
DEAR HELOISE: My daughter loves different juices, but hates that they water down so easily over ice. She began freezing grapes and using them in place of ice cubes. She's tried a few different types of fruit, but grapes certainly work best. Her idea gave me one: using frozen grapes to chill wine. It's worked great!
-- Shelby T. in Oregon
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 05/07/2014
Print Headline: Helpful Hints