Saving chocolate? Turn to the freezer

Dear Heloise: I love dark chocolate and like to buy it when it’s on sale. Can it be FROZEN? – Elizabeth in Kingsport, Tenn.

You absolutely can freeze chocolate. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then seal it in an airtight container. Place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then move it to the freezer. You can store the chocolate for up to six months.

Once you are ready to eat or use the chocolate, do the exact opposite. Move the chocolate to the refrigerator for 24 hours, pull it out and then let it come to room temperature. Once at room temperature, remove the wrapping and enjoy. – Heloise

NO SPLATTER

Dear Heloise: Instead of expensive splatter covers for your microwave, try using one of those really cheap paper plates. Just invert it over the food, and cooking splatter doesn’t get on the microwave’s interior. Cheap, no cleanup, and, many times, reusable! – Mike M. in Kansas

Actually, Mike, there are inexpensive plate covers you can purchase that are washable, reusable and more environmentally friendly. Though, in a pinch, a paper plate works, too! – Heloise

DIFFERENT

TEMPERATURES

Dear Heloise: My husband and I like our steaks at different temperatures. It has taken me 54 years to come up with a solution to have two steaks ready at the same time. About an hour before cooking, I put his steak in the freezer. I am then able to cook both at the same time, and they sear so nicely on my grill pan. Mine cooks well-done, and his is medium. – Judy M., via email

NO MESS

Dear Heloise: I faithfully read your column and enjoy the many hints. I don’t remember ever reading this hint: When I am going to cut up any melon (regardless of the cutting method), I wash the melon and do my cutting on an old cookie sheet (the kind with the sides). You also can put a cutting board on the sheet. This prevents juice from going all over the place, and it is easy to clean up. – Maureen F., Billings, Mont.

BLUEBERRY BATH

Dear Heloise: I was rinsing blueberries from the refrigerator the other morning and turned on the hot-water faucet by mistake. The blueberries have never tasted so good! It was as if they had just been picked from being out in a sunny garden or lightly cooked. This hint probably would work with any berry. – J.P.I., Washington, D.C.

PICKLE JUICE

Dear Heloise: We love “sweet heat” and “bold and spicy” stacker pickles, but the delicious juice outlasts the pickles, so I reserve the jar of brine for slaw recipes. But now I’ve discovered that fresh sliced cucumbers and onions pickle perfectly in that same jar of juice. Savings! – A Reader, via email

CRUMB TOPPING

Dear Heloise: I save my cereal crumbs and mix them into yogurt or salad. Waste not, want not. – G.G. in Maryland

Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.