Dear Heloise: Here is a question that we have thought about for quite some time. We buy the LEANEST GROUND BEEF when we do buy ground meat. Usually it’s 93/7 or 97/3, yet all show white flecks in the meat that look like ground-up fat. How do we know that we are truly getting very lean meat? -- P.J. in Pennsylvania
You are! What you see is ground-up pieces of fat and marbling that is found inside the meat. What you are buying is a ratio of 97 percent lean meat to 3 percent fat, which is considered extra lean by government regulations.
Here’s a hint when you want to buy the leanest cuts of meat: Look for the words “round” or “loin” in the name, such as “top sirloin” or “ground round.” -- Heloise
P.S.: When it’s on sale or a good buy, pick up some extra to keep in the freezer.
Dear Heloise: When friends or guests are going to be visiting, I like to serve cake with coffee. It seems the cakes tend to go stale rather quickly where the slices are cut. I now place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper over the sliced areas of the cake. As I cut each slice, I keep replacing the paper to keep the cake “sealed.” It really keeps the cake fresher longer. -- Stacy P., Hartford, Conn.
Dear Heloise: We grow okra in our garden every year here in East Texas. When I would cut up the okra to fry it, or blanch and cool it to put in the freezer, I always would have slick hands and bowls. By accident, I found that a mixture of vinegar and water sprayed on my hands, sink and bowls took away the slick from the okra. -- Josie S., Rusk, Tex.
I am never surprised at the many super uses for vinegar! It does cut through grease, slime and even okra slick! This is why I wrote my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More, filled with hints and recipes for using vinegar. To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Add cucumbers to apple-cider vinegar and water for 10 to 15 minutes to create a tangy, tasty treat. Adjust the amount of vinegar to your taste. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I use an empty cereal box that I lay on its side to transport baked goods. You can slide the covered dish, plate or whatever container inside. I close the top and tape it shut. Even if the box slides around, the plate inside stays covered and clean. -- Kathy M., Lewes, Del.
Dear Heloise: I save the jars and juices from sour pickles and jalapeno peppers. When I pull out my tomato plants, I take the small green tomatoes, slice them very thin and put them into the juices to make “pickled” tomatoes and “hot” tomatoes. -- Jerry in New Jersey