Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your column in the Houston Chronicle. I eat apples daily, and I'm aware that pesticides are necessary to make a beautiful, delicious apple. So, to clean my apple, I use a small amount of dishwashing detergent, scrub the apple using my hands and rinse carefully under flowing water from my faucet. Is this the best way to clean the apple skin?

E.W.S., Willis, Tex.

E.W.S.: Yes, as long as you wash the apple thoroughly and rinse well. Dry with a clean paper towel.

Dear Heloise: We love fish. Aside from my husband being a fisherman, I buy salmon at the store. I'd like to know how long fish can be frozen.

Tina D., Lubbock, Tex.

Tina D.: Fish will not maintain the same flavor, texture or quality forever. There are, of course, time limits: fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, should not be frozen more than two to three months; lean fish, like cod or catfish, should not be frozen longer than six months. Just make certain that you run water over the fish first, then wrap it very tightly with two or three layers of wrap.

Dear Heloise: My doctor told me to eat more fish, especially salmon. What's so great about salmon?

Linda Y., Albuquerque

Linda Y.: Salmon is considered one of the best sources for:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids: You must get this from food because it’s impossible for your body to manufacture them.

2. It’s a terrific source of protein.

3. Salmon is high in B vitamins, which repair your DNA and aid the functioning of your brain and nervous system.

4. It’s a good source of potassium, selenium and astaxanthin, and helps fight inflammation.

Dear Heloise: What would happen if I put something metal in my microwave? Is it dangerous?

Earl K., Twin Falls, Idaho

Earl K.: Your best bet is to never place metal in a microwave. Thin pieces of metal, such as aluminum, pose a serious threat of fire. It’s best to stay with materials that won’t cause a fire and are deemed safe for microwave use.

Dear Heloise: The best advice my mother ever gave me:

● When cooking with anything that has a handle, always turn the handle to the side so that no one walks by and knocks the pot/pan off the stove.

● Always roll pie dough from the middle.

● Always stir gravy in the same direction. If you want it to brown, don't stir constantly.

A Reader in Virginia

Dear Heloise: Most of the vegetables I eat are grown in my back yard. After planting the garden with seeds, I'd sometimes forget what exactly I had planted, or in which row it was planted. So, I asked my doctor for 12 tongue depressors, wrote the name of a vegetable on a tongue depressor and stuck it in the ground at the head of the row. It was easy, cheap and tidy-looking.

Carol F., Pukalani, Hawaii

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