Dear Heloise: Why do some instructions call for SCALDED MILK? What is the purpose? Thanks in advance! -- Pat W., Harrisonburg, Va.

Very good question, and one I had to think about. Older recipes said to scald milk to kill bacteria and an enzyme that prevented thickening in recipes. Today, most milk is pasteurized, so the bacteria and enzyme are already gone.

Also, scalding milk raises the temperature, which helps dissolve yeast and melt butter when added to bread recipes.

How do you scald milk? Heat the liquid until just below the boiling point, or 180 degrees. After scalding, a recipe typically will state that you let the milk cool to 110 degrees before adding it to the other ingredients. Scalded milk helps make cakes spongy and breads light. -- Heloise



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Dear Heloise: Being from the South, we like to serve iced tea and have lemon available, but how do you get rid of the seeds? I tried those little mesh-covered things you can put over a lemon, but it was way too messy. I now take one of those battery lights that you can buy for a couple of dollars. I place it on my counter, turn on the light and, while holding the lemon, shine the light through the rind. Voila! I can see the lemon seeds and pluck them out for seedless lemons. Works great! -- David S. in Houston

This is one way, or if you cut the lemon into serving slices, use a vegetable peeler and “pick out” the seeds. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’ve just started cooking and want to know what exactly is sauteing? -- Judy K. in Pennsylvania

Sauteing is when you cook foods quickly over pretty high heat. You use a small amount of fat or broth.

Leave space between food pieces, and place only one layer of food at a time. Both meats and vegetables can be sauteed. You want the same-size beef, fish fillets or chicken breasts.

Try sauteing vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers and snap peas. Whatever the food, stir it frequently so it browns evenly. -- Heloise

P.S.: I even saute Romaine and iceberg lettuces, as well as apple slices!


Dear Heloise: I had a recipe that called for two sticks of butter, room temperature, and as usual, I had forgotten to lay it out beforehand. I had used my hair dryer that morning and knew that it had a “warm” setting — aha! I cut the butter up into small pieces and used the low setting on the dryer. It worked like a charm and didn’t melt the butter, but softened it just right for “cream butter and sugar.” -- Vonda W., Amarillo, Tex.


Dear Heloise: I use cooking oil to remove the residue that is left after you take the labels off plastic containers. I put the oil on the containers at night and then wash them in hot, sudsy water the next morning. -- Anne N. in Ohio

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