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heloise 10 06

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Dear Heloise: When I bought some bananas I found I had gnats! How do I keep gnats away from my fruit and out of my house? -- Betsy L., Muncie, Indiana

Betsy, when you buy a bunch of bananas, put them on a banana hanger and place them in the sink. Run cold water over the whole bunch of bananas. Leave them there in the sink to dry, and once they are dry you can put them on the counter. Your gnats will be gone. -- Heloise

Dear Heloise: I've found that fresh lemon juice squeezed over steamed veggies improves the flavor. And if you don't have vinegar in the house, you can use lemon juice and olive oil for a salad dressing. I also freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and use them in iced tea. When I prepare fish, I use a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice in my hands to remove odors. -- Amy F., Park City, Utah

Dear Heloise: I always had a hard time when a recipe called for lemon or orange zest. Finally, I started using a grater. Now I save the zest in plastic bags and freeze them to use later in baking various cookies and cupcakes. -- Lilly R., Peekskill, N.Y.

Dear Heloise: We always serve punch at holiday parties for our friends who do not care for alcoholic drinks. I hated the way an ice ring would water down the punch as it melted. Finally, I decided to make an ice ring out of the punch. I used a flower shaped gelatin mold to freeze the punch, then added it to the punch bowl. No more watered-down punch! -- Sharon V., Rutland, Vermont

Dear Heloise: While I was at a garage sale recently I saw a coffee grinder for only $2, so I bought it. Since I like to bake and freeze various breads and cookies for the holiday, the coffee grinder will come in handy when I have to chop nuts. My husband loves nuts in banana bread, and I can grind them very fine for pumpkin bread. It's an easy way to chop nuts, and safer since I don't have to use a sharp knife. -- Sonja N., Mesa, Arizona

Dear Heloise: I could never find a recipe I wanted or needed, so I started buying photo albums that had one clear sheet for the whole page. Now I can type up a recipe and place it in my photo album. I also color code the sheets of paper that the recipe is written on -- white for main dishes, vegetables are green, fruit is yellow and desserts are pink. The odds and ends of recipes are in lavender. Now I don't have to look high and low for a recipe that I saw on a clipping. This has really simplified my life. -- Ann P., Augusta, Georgia

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