Dear Heloise: What causes the dark-green or gray ring around the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, and how do you prevent this from happening? Much of the time, this seems to happen with eggs that I boil. — Margaret
Margaret, we checked with our friends at the American Egg Board, and here is what they had to say: “When you cook eggs at too high a temperature or for too long at a low temperature, the surface of the yolks may turn gray-green.” The dark ring around the yolk is ugly but safe to eat.
Here is the American Egg Board’s method of hard-cooking eggs: “Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add enough water to come at least 1 inch above the eggs. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Then turn off the heat. Let the eggs stand, covered, in the hot water for about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium). Then run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water.
This stops the cooking process. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to cool eggs to this stage at altitudes above 10,000 feet.” — Heloise
Dear Heloise: To facilitate gourmet cooking for one person, I freeze small amounts of the following in plastic containers: basil pesto, chipotle chilies, lime juice, orange quarters, lemon pieces, tomatillo sauce, grated and cubed cheese, sauteed onions, and chopped bell peppers. — Jennie J.
Dear Heloise: The other day, I saw my Aunt Kitty do something I thought I should pass on to you. She recycles small and medium greeting cards by turning them into recipe cards. She cuts off and discards the half with the written message and keeps the half with the picture or artwork on the front. She stores her new blank cards in her recipe box, where they are ready. — Laurie
Dear Heloise: When I make coleslaw, I first put the dressing into a gallon-size zip-closed bag, then add the shredded cabbage (I buy mine pre-shredded). I close the bag, pressing out all the excess air, and then knead the dressing through the cabbage until it is all dispersed. It is then very easy to transfer the coleslaw into a nice bowl for serving. If I need to make a larger amount of the slaw, I just use a bigger bag. — Karen
Dear Heloise: I clean up my food processor, pizza cutter, knives, etc., that have been used to cut or shred cheese with cold water. It makes the cheese residue become solid and wipe right off. Of course, I then wash everything in hot, soapy water. — Sharon
Dear Heloise: I enjoyed the letter you received and your response regarding food pantries needs.
Several women and I run a food-pantry ministry in our area. There are many needs, including things people don’t think of. We recycle used paper and plastic bags for the food to be carried home in.
We also use quart- and gallon-size plastic bags and deli containers. We have a lady who makes homemade soup, chili, etc. It’s easier and cheaper to reuse these containers than to buy new ones.
One very important need every month is volunteers. Most food banks and food pantries run on volunteers. A lot of time is given to sorting, packing, setting up and distributing the food.
Some of our families are homebound, so there is a need for someone to deliver their food. I really would like to encourage your readers to call their local food pantry and see how they can help. Everything we receive and everyone who helps is and always will be appreciated — L. Sue
Sue, thank you for sharing these good hints, and thanks to all of you who help make food banks possible. Volunteers are vital to food banks and so many charity organizations.
Every city, town or community has an organization that helps out. Readers, take some time to call and see what you can offer them. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: During dry winter days, there’s a lot of static buildup, particularly in our dog’s fur.
One day, I got the idea to rub her down with a fabric-softener sheet. Not only does it whisk away the bits of grass, but if I rub her down really well — rubbing against the grain of her fur — she can remain static-free for several days. Another benefit is that she is perfumed.
As a side note, though, I use a sheet that isn’t too strongly scented. — A Loyal Reader
A double-duty hint! There shouldn’t be a problem, but check with your pet’s vet to be sure this is OK to do. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Here are three of my favorite hints:
l I receive flowers several times a year, and the giver always wants to know what they look like and if they are what he or she really ordered.
I’ve started sending a picture of the arrangement with my thank-you note, either by mail or e-mail. It seems to solve those problems, and lets them know how beautiful the flowers really were.
l After falling and hurting my shoulder, I find I can’t sleep with a regular pillow. A neck pillow — one shaped like a horseshoe — really works great.
However, I got tired of taking the pillow out to wash it and then having to restuff it. So, I found a pair of soft cotton shortie pajama bottoms with a drawstring top. I just slip the pillow into it, tie the top, tuck in the strings, pin the legs shut and throw into the wash.
l When I was making a sauce, I couldn’t find my whisk quickly and grabbed a beater from my mixer. It works as great as any whisk.