Dear Heloise: Recently, I wanted to dry some DILL in my microwave oven. I placed a paper towel, with pretty flower designs, on a glass tray and placed the dill on top. I set the microwave for 30 seconds and pushed the start button.

Much to my surprise, after a few seconds, the paper towel was on fire! I was shocked, because I have done this in the past with success. Later, I was replacing the paper towels and noticed a warning label on the wrapper. The warning stated not to dry herbs on paper towels in the microwave oven. I wanted to alert your readers to this. -- Elaine S. in Virginia

An important warning and reminder also to only use WHITE paper towels in the microwave, especially if cooking food. When drying herbs, separate the leaves from the stems, watch them closely and don’t walk away! Herbs dry quickly in the microwave and can burn easily. -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: I was just reading my September issue of Good Housekeeping magazine and noticed the question on deodorizing pickle-jar lids. Here’s what I’ve found that works well.

After thoroughly washing the lid with soapy dishwater, I place the lid outside in full sun, with the inside of the lid facing up. A day or two in the hot Texas sun seems to completely remove all pickle odors. I love using glass jars for all kinds of storage. -- Linda G. in Texas

Yep! Good old Mother Nature can deliver a wallop or a pat. The sun can “bleach” out many things and, as you mentioned, kill pickle odor! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Poundcakes are delicious, sweet cakes that taste great by themselves or dressed up with fruits and sauces. But do you know how the cake got its name? It was named for a pound of which ingredient used in the recipe?

A) Flour

B) Sugar

C) Eggs

D) Butter

E) All of the above

The answer is E! This EASY recipe just said to add a pound of EACH of the ingredients to make the cake. Any way you slice it, it’s a good dessert. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I don’t use brown sugar quickly, so I’ve tried every hint to keep it fresh. The best method is to store it in the freezer. It takes only a few minutes to thaw, and you’ll find it as soft and fresh as the day you bought it. -- Joan in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Be sure to place the sugar in a sealable plastic freezer bag. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My family loves to eat frozen fruit pops and ice creams on a stick. To catch spills, we poke the stick through a coffee filter and slide it under the frozen treat. The filter catches the spills. -- Marsha in Georgia

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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