Dear Heloise: I’ve enjoyed your column for years, and I trust your expertise.
We buy olives at the olive bars of high-end grocery stores and use the takeout containers to bring them home.
When should they be tossed out? My husband insists that since they are cured and brined, they are good for weeks. I’ve noticed that they seem to change color after seven days, at which time I refuse to eat them. Since they’re expensive, I’d appreciate your guidance. Thanks! -- D.J.F., via e-mail
Happy to help, and I buy olives from the olive bar, too, as I’m an olive lover! The short answer is that as long as you keep them in the liquid they came in (typically a brine or water-based solution), they are safe to eat, stored in the refrigerator, for a month or two — if they last that long!
If you buy olives from an olive bar, be sure that the turnover of new olives is often. Olive colors will vary, but try to purchase firm olives with enough brine to keep them covered and moist.
SEND A GREAT HINT TO:
P.O. Box 795000
San Antonio, TX 78279-5000
Dear Readers: Mustard is a must to have on hand, and there are so many tasty ones! But where do you store it — in the refrigerator or the pantry? Manufacturers recommend that mustard goes into the refrigerator after opening for the best flavor. However, since there are no ingredients in mustard that can go bad without refrigeration, the counter or pantry is just fine! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love to experiment in the kitchen, and one of the staples I always keep on hand is Italian-style salad dressing. Here are some of the ways I use it in everyday cooking:
I marinate chicken in the dressing and then grill it on the outdoor grill or bake it in the oven.
I take cooked pasta, some chopped tomatoes and peppers (red, orange and yellow), and toss it with a little mayonnaise, then add enough dressing to coat. Let chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Finally, I love baked potatoes. Instead of all the fattening butter and sour cream, I keep a small dish of dressing to dip the potato in. -- Karen W. in Pennsylvania
MANUAL CAN OPENER
Dear Heloise: I know that electric can openers are popular, but I always keep a manual can opener in my kitchen. I do this for two reasons: They are easier to clean (you can just throw them in the dishwasher when dirty), and if the electricity goes out, you can still get all your canned goods opened. -- Fran W., via e-mail
Dear Heloise: Here is a use for stale chips: I toss them into a baking pan, then slice an onion over them. I pour cream of mushroom soup over this and bake at 350 F for about an hour or so. They are just like scalloped potatoes. -- Christal in Ohio
Send a hint to