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How long can it stay in the fridge? It depends

Dear Heloise: What is the STORAGE TIME in a refrigerator for common everyday foods? — Diane M., Madison, N.J.

Butter: In the refrigerator, one to two weeks; frozen, nine months.

Cheeses: Opened cream cheese, two weeks; cottage cheese, 10 to 30 days; opened Swiss, brick, processed cheese, three to four weeks.

Chicken: Refrigerate two to three days; freeze for nine to 12 months. Chicken livers will keep one to two days in the refrigerator, three months frozen.

Ketchup: Unopened, 12 months on the shelf; refrigerate after opening.

Mayonnaise: Salad dressing unopened on the shelf, two to three months; in the refrigerator after opening, six to eight weeks.

Pork: Fresh, three to five days in the refrigerator for chops, one to two days for ground; three to five days for roasts.

— Heloise

DISHWASHER WARNING

Dear Heloise: Here is a warning for your readers: Do NOT leave the house when your dishwasher is running. This is probably also true for your washer and dryer. I started a load of dishes in my dishwasher and then made a quick run to the deli down the street. When I got home a few minutes later, there was a fire in my kitchen, which had started with the dishwasher! Thankfully, the damage was limited to one area of the kitchen, but I shudder to think of all the times I’ve left home while the dishwasher was running. — Ellen R., Eugene, Ore.

Ellen, thanks for the warning. It’s always risky to assume the house is safe when we leave an appliance running while we’re gone. A household’s memories and mementos can never be replaced if a fire destroys them. — Heloise

TEA HINTS

Dear Readers: I’m a big fan of tea! Here are some of my favorite tea hints:

* Add a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon to your favorite tea.

* Heat up instant iced tea for quick, hot tea.

* Heat up apple cider and steep an orange spiced tea bag in it.

* Add a lemon drop or peppermint candy to hot tea.

For more ideas on how to improve the taste of coffee or tea, you can find several recipes in my pamphlet Heloise’s Flavored Coffees and Teas. To receive a copy, send $3, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Coffee & Tea, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. Did you know that you can make your own ginger tea by putting a small piece of fresh, peeled ginger in the pot with the tea or tea bags? Also, a small piece of candied ginger works well. — Heloise

A FEW TIPS ON SPICES AND HERBS

Dear Heloise: I never know what spices or herbs to use when cooking. Help! — Nina V., Braddock, N.D.

Nina, I get requests for this all the time. Try adding the following:

1. Basil to tofu.

2. Allspice to cream soups, or a pinch sprinkled over citrus fruit.

3. Chili powder to perk up sloppy Joes, eggs or cottage cheese.

4. Cayenne into coleslaw.

5. A pinch of crumbled rosemary to mashed potatoes.

6. Dill into salads, sour cream, omelets or salmon.

— Heloise

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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.

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