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DEAR HELOISE: Every time I make homemade potato salad it gets watery if not eaten on the same day. Tell me, what am I doing wrong?

-- Maxi R., Waterloo, N.Y.

DEAR READER: Potatoes hold a lot of water, so you'll need to allow time for the water to drain by leaving them to cool in a strainer. If potato salad is made while the potatoes are warm, they will continue to release the water, making the salad watery. Good luck with your next batch.

DEAR HELOISE: I have read Heloise's Hints in the Omaha World Herald since the '50s! Here is my hint for sausage or hamburger patties. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and put a lump of ground meat on it. Fold the side of the wrap over the meat and press into shape.

If I want to freeze the patties, I put the raw meat into a plastic freezer bag and shape them. This way both counter and hands stay clean.

-- Elinor A.,

Red Oak, Iowa

DEAR HELOISE: My silver finish steel pots and skillets look dirty with baked-on grease. Can it be removed?

-- Deb M., Dayton, Ohio

DEAR READER: To remove baked on grease and food from your pots and skillets, try putting 3 tablespoons of baking soda in enough water to cover the bottom. Simmer on the stove until the burned-on food starts to lift. With a little scrubbing, the pot or skillet should be sparkling. Baking soda can be used instead of expensive commercial products for cleaning and freshening so many things around the house. FYI: make your own baking soda dispenser from a grated cheese container. Rinse, wipe it out and, when dry, fill with baking soda. Be sure to label.

DEAR HELOISE: I use fresh lemons all the time in various recipes and drinks. When lemons are the cheapest to buy, I buy a bag and squeeze out all the juice in each lemon, then pour the juice in ice cube trays. After the lemon ice cubes are frozen, I place them in plastic freezer bags and always have fresh lemon juice when I need it.

-- Tiffany in Florida

DEAR HELOISE: My family loves deviled eggs, so I make them often. I've found the easiest and fastest way to make them is by putting the egg yolks and the other ingredients in a zippered bag. Then I mash all of them together, snip off the corner of the bag and squirt the filling into the egg whites. There's no bowl to clean and the deviled eggs look decorative.

-- Marie in Kentucky

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

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