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HELOISE: Pitch the condiment packets after six months

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear Heloise: I love your column! My question: We get a lot of condiments from fast-food places. How long can they be kept, and do they need to be refrigerated?

Sharon S., Lamesa, Texas

Unopened packets do not need to be refrigerated. However, keeping them in the refrigerator will preserve the quality longer. Avoid extreme temperature changes (for example, being kept in a car). Since there are no expiration dates on the packets, a general rule of thumb is to discard after six months. If you open them and they smell bad, throw them out.


Dear Heloise: I love your column in our daily paper. Keep up the good work. I have a hint for you if you can use it. When I have chocolate left over from a holiday or something, I put it in the fridge. When I make frosting, I grate the chocolate into the frosting so it won’t be wasted. Thanks again for your column in the paper.

Ann Hager, Rugby, N.D.

Dear Heloise: I am definitely not a morning person, but family members are, and since they exercise first thing in the morning, they want a hearty breakfast! So I make up several batches of the dry ingredients for muffins, biscuits, pancakes and cocoa. Each is stored in a bag labeled with tape that says something like “425 degrees 20 minutes. To one cup dry add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 cup milk.”

When I wander, bleary-eyed, into the kitchen for my coffee, I see the bag, the bowl and the pan set out the night before and can, at the very least, turn on the oven before coffee.

Laura Emerson, Trail Lake, Alaska

Dear Heloise: One day, I discovered that I had bought unsalted nuts instead of salted. I did not want to wait until I went back to the store to exchange them. I came up with this simple solution:

Open the can and lightly sprinkle with popcorn salt. Put the lid back on and shake lightly. You can always add more, but it is better to start with just a little. You now have salted nuts! If there is a sale on unsalted nuts, you can take advantage of the sale price.

Carol, Springfield, Ill.

Dear Heloise: My husband and I usually don’t use a pound of bacon before it goes bad. Now when I open a package of bacon, I pull out a sheet of waxed paper, about 18 inches long, and place a strip of bacon on a short end, fold it over, place another strip of bacon, fold it over and so on, until the last strip of bacon, and then I place it in the freezer. No need to thaw out before using. Just peel a strip of bacon off the paper and cook!

Trish, Springfield, Ill.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to

King Features Syndicate