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DEAR HELOISE: I tried everything to keep my guacamole from turning brown, but nothing worked until I tried this: Put the guac into a container, leaving space on top and at one side. Place some chopped onion pieces into the side area only, and put the airtight lid on it. After 41/2 days, it was perfect and delicious. Not brown-colored at all.

-- Charlotte in California

DEAR READER: Charlotte, I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks for sharing.

DEAR HELOISE: Romaine lettuce will stay fresh and crisp for weeks if you cut off the bottom and place the leaves in a tall glass filled with fresh water. I change the water every day or two. Refrigerate, of course.

-- Shirley, via email

DEAR HELOISE: For gas-free beans, soak 1 pound of beans overnight with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of castor oil. The next day, drain well, rinse two or three times and cook like you usually do. No gas at all, and no change in taste.

-- Johnny in Texas

DEAR READERS: Here are some substitutes that will come in handy when you're out of the ingredients you usually use:

• No celery for tuna or chicken salad? Use chopped coleslaw or minced water chestnuts. Fresh, crunchy and delicious.

• Need an unsweetened square of chocolate but don't have one? Mix together 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening.

• No buttermilk? You can use yogurt in some baked goods.

DEAR HELOISE: I have read your column for years -- literally, as I am over 90 years old. For over 70 years, I was a cook and baker, and I made hundreds of cakes for birthdays with candles on top. Times change, and candles should not be on the top of the cake. On a cupcake or a cookie, but not a cake. One blow and others are sick. I made the change years ago.

-- Harriet P., Maryland

DEAR READERS: The following is in response to a letter we received about a son in Alabama who seemed to love sugary snacks and was very overweight:

"Don't buy the junk food! It's like drinking and smoking -- don't buy the stuff. Let's get smart."

-- A Reader in Iowa

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 06/12/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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