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DEAR HELOISE: I read with interest the letter from a woman who commented on a previous writer's letter about two elders reduced to looking for free meals to eat after a funeral service. I would have welcomed two strangers showing up who needed to eat at an event I sponsored.

-- William Hinton,

Ruther Glen, Va.

DEAR READER: Hunger among retirees in America is increasing, and some older adults have to skip meals or have smaller portions because they can't afford or can't prepare a proper meal. However, elderly people can contact Meals on Wheels ( There also are local food banks and many churches that provide hot meals or know where a senior citizen can get a decent meal.

DEAR HELOISE: How do you store (save) onions, potatoes and bananas? Cabbage and lettuce?

-- Eva M., Mount Airy, N.C.

DEAR READER: It's best to buy fresh produce as you need it. However, if you want to store potatoes and onions, put them someplace dry, cool and preferably dark, but not the refrigerator. Cabbage and lettuce go in the refrigerator; uncooked cabbage should be placed in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. Cooked cabbage keeps about three to four days.

Lettuce usually lasts five to seven days in the refrigerator. Remember, lettuce can harbor E. coli bacteria, so it's best eaten as soon as it's bought. Always wash your lettuce before using. Bananas are ripe when you begin to see little brown freckles on the yellow skins, usually five to seven days. That's when it's best to eat them.

DEAR HELOISE: Why does everything in my freezer seem to dry out?

-- Ella S., Oregon

DEAR READER: Keep your freezer at 0 degrees. If the temperature fluctuates, it will cause frozen foods to lose their moisture faster, and they will become drier and tough.

DEAR HELOISE: As an interior designer, I warn people to avoid discoloring their kitchen flooring with scatter rugs that have rubber backings. The rubber will cause discoloration.

While scatter rugs in the kitchen look nice and add a pop of color, they can be dangerous if someone trips over the edge of the rug or if the rug is on a slippery floor.

-- Lana D. in Miami

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

Food on 01/15/2020

Print Headline: Helpful Hints


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