DEAR HELOISE: According to the experts, one should not wash a whole container of berries at once. They keep better if you wash only what you plan to eat. I have had good luck with the following method:
I wash and thoroughly drain all of the berries. Then I line the original carton with a paper towel, add half the berries, then another paper towel, the rest of the berries, then one more towel on the top. The berries keep very well using this method, which works well for blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
-- Jane Hudak, San Antonio
DEAR READERS: Whenever you get food burned on a pot or pan, try my nontoxic way to clean it. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and simmer on the stove until the burned food comes off. If you need more grease-fighting power, add one drop of mild dishwashing liquid.
FYI: If your dog's fur is a tad smelly, sprinkle a bit of baking soda just onto the fur, and leave for a bit. Then brush off. Don't let the baking soda get into your dog's eyes.
DEAR HELOISE: Today's paper had a question about how messy it can be to garden on a second floor apartment patio. I'm a diehard gardener and wanted to add the following tip:
Use old bath towels or an old flat bedsheet to spread out on the patio under the project! They are wonderful at collecting debris and give more room to spread out the pots and dirt, with zero mess left on the patio. I use mine for all sorts of messy projects, like protecting a carpet when painting, covering my dining table when kids paint and more.
-- Sue in Ohio
DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy reading your helpful hints. I have clipped many of the tips that were printed and would like to share one of my own. We all receive packages in the mail that are shipped in white plastic bags. I cut the top off to empty the contents, and when I need to return an item, I turn the bag inside out so the previous labels are not visible. I reuse these bags to either return the item or ship other items through the mail. I have done this many times and find it to be a good way to recycle.
-- Vicky K., Rogers City, Mich.
DEAR READER: That's such a good idea to extend the usage of all these bags we get and have them live on for others to use.
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