Hints from Heloise: Cornstarch and other cooking tips

DEAR HELOISE » How long does cornstarch last?

There is no date on my box of cornstarch. My mother claims it will last for years. but I have my doubts.

— Callie Y., Provo, Utah

DEAR CALLIE » Looks like your mother is right (mothers often are!). As long as your cornstarch is kept dry it will last a long time. The best way to store it is in a plastic or glass container to make certain moisture is kept away from the cornstarch.

DEAR HELOISE » When I open a new package of bacon, I always take out two or three strips, wrap them in cling wrap and freeze them. When I make green beans or any other food that’s enhanced by a little bacon, I have my bacon strips handy in the freezer.

— Lois C., Beaverton, Oregon

DEAR HELOISE » I love your Chinese Beets, but it’s been a while since I last made them, and I have forgotten all the ingredients and the correct amount of things. Lately I’ve been craving those beets, so would you reprint the recipe for beet lovers like me?

— Sarah F., Greensboro, North Carolina

DEAR SARAH» it seems like everyone loves this recipe, because we get so many requests for it. Here it is for all those beet lovers out there. You’ll need:


6cups cooked, sliced beets OR 3(14-16ounce) cans of sliced beets 1cup sugar 1cup apple cider or white vinegar 2tablespoons cornstarch 24whole cloves (can use 12 or so for first time users) 3tablespoons ketchup 3tablespoons cooking oil (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract A dash of salt


Drain the beets, reserving 11⁄2 cups of beet liquid. Place the beets in a medium saucepan with the reserved liquid and the remainder of the listed ingredients.

Stir to combine and cook for about 3minutes over medium heat or until the mixture thickens. Let it cool, then store in the refrigerator.

DEAR HELOISE » Whenever I need to reheat something, I use my microwave oven. I’ve found that if I lay a paper towel across a bowl or something else, then place a wooden spoon on top of the paper towel, everything stays in place. Without that wooden spoon, the paper flies off.

— Nora W., Caldwell, Idaho

DEAR HELOISE » I love to make homemade cakes, but mine are usually thicker and richer than a box mix. The problem was, I needed something longer than a toothpick to test the batter and see if it was cooked through. I finally remembered one of your hints about using a long, uncooked strand of a dry spaghetti noodle, and it worked. That was a great hint!

— Wendy T., Aberdeen, Arkansas

Write to Heloise

P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000


Email her here.

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  • To Country: United States
  • From: 92570
  • User Alias: PostalBee
  • Posted On: 4/7/2021 7:08:21 AM
  • Expiration On: 5/7/2021 7:08:21 AM
  • Last Modified On: 4/7/2021 7:08:21 AM
  • Category: Advice, Hints, and Hacks

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