Dear Heloise:

I make cream crab on toast. It is a recipe passed down from my grandma. I haven't been able to find fresh crabmeat in my part of the world, so I'm hoping you can help me with canned crabmeat.

How do you get the canned taste out of the meat? It just doesn't taste the same as fresh. I know you've had hints about canned fish, but I can't remember your answer. Help!

Susie, via e-mail

This "remedy" is actually for canned shrimp, but it should work just as well for canned crab.

Rinse the canned crab with plenty of cold water. Next, soak for about 15 minutes in a mixture of 2 tablespoons white vinegar and a splash of sherry. Rinse well, and the canned taste should be gone.

Vinegar has a multitude of uses in the kitchen and in cooking.

You can also use vinegar to remove the discoloration from aluminum pots and pans. Just put 1 cup of vinegar followed by 1 cup of water into the pot or pan and let boil for several minutes. When you notice the stain is gone, pour the solution out and then wash and rinse as usual. Voila -- shiny again!

Dear Heloise:

Here is a little addition about using (or not using) store credit cards. A lot of stores offer sales that include a percentage off your purchase if you use their credit card.

You can usually go directly to the store's customer-service area and pay off your charge after you have checked out. This is a great way to take advantage of the sale and still not have a credit-card balance.

Dorothy, via e-mail

Just be sure to ask about that particular store's policy -- each can be different.

Dear Heloise:

I don't like my kids to eat high-sugar cereal for breakfast. Instead, I buy a more nutritional one. But I also buy a box of the sweet stuff, and my kids get to eat it after dinner as a dessert. They can eat it either dry or with milk. They love their sweet dessert.

Carolyn Jackson in Texas

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate