DEAR READERS: When you bring groceries home from the supermarket, be certain your freezer is working properly to keep frozen food frozen. Keep your freezer at 0 degrees.
If the temperature is fluctuating, it will cause frozen food to lose moisture, dry out or go bad. So take these steps to protect the food.
• Keep the freezer full to maintain the temperature.
• Do not add too many nonfrozen items to the freezer at one time, because the heat given off might cause the freezer temperature to rise.
• Put food in moisture-proof containers with an airtight seal to preserve nutritional value and taste.
DEAR HELOISE: I am writing 30 minutes after a phone emergency precipitated calls from 911 and my emergency contacts. What happened is my iPhone froze and I couldn't shut it off as my friend had shown me. I started pushing all the buttons; nothing worked except 911. I couldn't call my friend because her number was in my contacts. 911 proceeded to call my emergency contacts, who all called me to see if I was all right, but I couldn't answer. My phone was frozen and I couldn't use the land line because everyone's phone numbers were in my contacts. My hint is to go back to keeping your phone numbers in a physical address book, not just your phone's contacts.
-- Zack Chewy, via email
DEAR READER: It is a good idea, indeed. And here's another letter on this problem:
DEAR HELOISE: I wanted to add some great advice to your article regarding a stolen purse or credit cards.
Everyone should take a photocopy, front and back, of everything in their wallet or purse and keep it in a safe place. That way, if the wallet or purse is stolen or lost, you have the information all in one place at your fingertips. It only takes a couple of minutes to do and could save you lots of time.
-- Peggy, via mail
DEAR READERS: Stainless steel looks great and has such a durable finish, but it does need a special kind of cleaning to prevent the surface from being scratched. So here's what to do.
First, wipe and dry stainless steel with a sponge or clean cloth often to maintain the surface.
Second, never use anything abrasive, such as steel wool or steel brushes, because they can scratch the surface. And check to be sure that you don't use any cleaning product that contains chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), that includes dishwasher detergent and other spray products.
DEAR READERS: If you are setting up a pantry, use these hints to make the canned goods last longer and stay fresher. Do not store canned goods in the basement near a furnace or steam pipes. Never put canned goods in the garage or on a porch, where the temperatures will be too low or too high. Store canned goods in your home in a space that's away from the kitchen stove.
DEAR HELOISE: Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all made an effort to take our own bags when we go shopping? Think of the millions of plastic bags we would prevent from sitting in landfills. Encouraging recycling is probably one of the best things we can do for future generations.
-- Nancy, Bozeman, Mont.
DEAR READER: I agree. As I have written many times, recycling is important no matter where you live.
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