Dear Heloise: Is it safe to store CANNED FOODS in my garage? This past summer, the heat rose to 95 degrees F and higher in our area. Does heat affect the contents? I am very concerned. -- Kay N. in California

Kay, although many people store canned foods in a garage, it is NOT SAFE to store cans in the garage, over a stove, under a sink, in a basement or in an outside shed. The United States Department of Agriculture states that canned foods should be stored in a cool, dry place with no extremes of too-high or too-low (freezing) temperatures. Any drastic changes in temperature can affect the can and the food itself. Try to keep all canned foods at or below 70 degrees F. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: In a recent column, we asked readers for wacky condiment combinations they create. Here are some of the responses:

* Barbara G. in Pennsylvania wrote: “Ketchup + mayo + pickle relish Russian dressing.”

* JoAnn B. in Nebraska wrote: “Salad dressing (Heloise here: product that is like mayonnaise) + ketchup secret burger sauce.”

* Lise, via e-mail, said: “Ketchup + horseradish sauce cocktail sauce. For a spicier mix, add crushed red pepper to taste.”

* Monica L. wrote: “Salad dressing + ketchup + relish Thousand Island dressing.”

-- Heloise


Dear Readers: Fall is a season with tons of fun activities for you and your family. But pumpkin carving, while it’s a classic, isn’t always safe.

Gut the pumpkin while the kids pick out a few metal cookie cutters. Allow them to press the cookie cutter into the pumpkin. Then, using a rubber mallet, tap until it is completely pressed in. Leaving the cookie cutter there, carve around it with a knife, removing the metal and the unwanted piece of pumpkin together. You can continue adding character to your pumpkin until your family is happy. Add a battery-operated tea light and enjoy! -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: Do you have a recipe for making your own tomato juice? I think you need tomato paste. -- Lynn W. in New Jersey

Yes, just mix 3 parts cold water with 1 part tomato paste (you will want to make adjustments for your own taste). Place the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Once you have the base to your liking, try adding other vegetables or your favorite salsa. Be creative. This is very inexpensive to make, but you can get some terrific flavors by adding different ingredients that you enjoy. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I buy dried fruit in the small, sturdy, reclosable packets. Being reclosable, they’re great for olives, pickles and carrot sticks, or crackers and cookies in a brown-bag lunch or lunchbox. The bags can be tossed after one use or washed out and reused many times. -- Pam R., via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate