Glass bakeware has changed

Dear Readers: Many times, a piece of GLASS BAKEWARE may shatter, and it’s not very fun or safe to clean up. As we were talking in Heloise Central about the issue, it came up how many of us have NEVER read the directions. Or we just use and clean them the way our mothers did. Today’s glass bakeware is not the same as that of long ago. So, here are a few hints for you to think about:

* Don’t use bakeware if it is damaged in any way (chipped, scratched or cracked).

* Don’t clean it with anything abrasive or use a metal brush to clean it with.

* The oven should be at the temperature you are going to bake with.

* Rapid changes in temperature (i.e., going from the oven and then placing the bakeware on a cold surface, countertop or metal trivet) are a no-no.

* Don’t use it in a toaster oven. I’ve done this! Who knew?

Don’t buy glass bakeware at a thrift store or garage sale. You have no idea how it’s been handled, and it may be unsafe. — Heloise

SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise(at)Heloise.com

Freezing cheese

Dear Heloise: Can I freeze packages of cheese slices (like the cheese slices that are individually wrapped in plastic)? How about the little blocks of cheese that are wrapped in plastic? I am referring to unopened packages. — Paul A., via email

Yes, you can freeze most cheese, including the slices and the blocks wrapped in plastic. Do put the cheese in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container first, though. The cheese may be more crumbly after it’s been frozen, but it is fine to eat. — Heloise

Clean microwave

Dear Heloise: I learned this hint years ago. Use a microwave-safe 2-cup measuring cup, fill it with about 3/4 cup water, then add a teaspoon of your favorite flavor to it (for example, vanilla, lemon extract, etc.). Microwave on high for a few minutes (until it boils), then shut off the microwave and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

The moisture from the steam will have softened all the cooked-on splatters, and the inside will wipe clean. Plus, the flavoring will put a nice aroma in your kitchen. — Kathy C., via email

Drawer dividers

Dear Heloise: On a cleaning spree, I decided that my drawers needed some serious reorganizing. I used cleaned cookie and cracker dividers from the packages to hold little things (like buttons and pins in my desk) and cut down cereal boxes to organize my socks in my dresser, and I am so happy. Nothing gets misplaced anymore! — Helene, via email

Perfect powder

Dear Readers: If you’re looking for a delicate accent to fruits and desserts, try filling a tea steeper with powdered sugar and shaking to sprinkle the perfect amount onto the goodies. It’s as simple as that! — Heloise