Easy peach peeling
Dear Heloise: My mother-in-law once showed me a shortcut that makes PEELING PEACHES a cinch. I put peaches that I am going to prepare into a pot of cold water, just enough to cover the peaches, and let them sit for 15 minutes. When I remove the peaches from the water and peel them, the skin just zips off easily. — Anita E., Hagerstown, Md.
Anita, thanks for this terrific idea! — Heloise
ONIONS AND PEPPERMINT
Dear Heloise: I read your column in The Wayne Independent in Pennsylvania. Regarding onions being cut with tears, I suck on peppermint candy while cutting up onions, and it works for me. — Bernard B., Beach Lake, Pa.
POUND CAKE CATASTROPHE
Dear Heloise: My pound cakes used to come out beautifully, but now the shortening pools in the middle. They also shrink considerably once they are out of the oven. What’s gone wrong? — Janie E., Drexel, N.C.
Janie, first try butter instead of shortening, but don’t beat the butter too fast. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat with a mixer. This beats air into your pound cake so it will rise during baking. Add eggs one at a time, beating only until the yoke disappears — don’t overbeat. Always add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid. Use the right pan. Most recipes call for a tube pan with fluted sides.
Grease the pan with vegetable shortening, not cooking spray, and always dust with flour. You also might want to check your oven’s temperature to be certain it’s accurate, and do not open the oven before the correct time. After removing the pound cake from the oven, let it cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: My kitchen cupboards are built in such a way that I can’t always get to the back areas, so I bought a toilet brush. I wrap a damp dish towel around it and use it to get to the hard-to-reach areas. Works like a charm. — April D., Bozeman, Mont.
Dear Heloise: I absolutely love all of your hints, but my favorite has got to be the use of vinegar. I keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar and use it to clean fresh fruits and vegetables. I also use it on stubborn stains on my floors and countertops. — Anne F., Dexter, Mo.
Anne, so glad you like my column! I have several great hints for vinegar in my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More. To get a copy, send a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. Do you have an aluminum pot that is stained? Pour 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water into the pot and boil away the stain. Wash, rinse and dry. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I’ve discovered that you don’t always have to use oil when making breads or cakes. I pour about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a measuring cup, and the rest I fill with mashed bananas, applesauce or some other fruit that I have on hand. This makes for some very tasty recipes. — Linda M., Pauls Valley, Okla.