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Removing the Crystals in Honey

February 19, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: What can I do to get a jar of honey smooth again if it has crystallized?

Answer: Place the jar in a container of hot, not boiling, water and heat gently until the crystals disappear. Use care not to overheat or the honey will change color and flavor and the jar may break.

Q: Can evaporated milk and condensed milk be used interchangeably?

A: No, they are very different products. Evaporated milk is whole or skim milk from which about 60% of the water has been removed. Condensed milk is whole milk from which about half of the water has been removed and sugar added.

Q: How long is it safe to keep canned foods?

A: Canned foods stored in a dry, cool (50 to 60 degrees) place will hold their optimum quality for about 12 months. At warmer temperatures (90 to 105 degrees), food will deteriorate in six months or less.

Q: Can onions be frozen? I got a great buy on 50 pounds and don't want them to go to waste.

A: They certainly can. To save time later, package in one cup quantities. Peel and chop the onions either finely or coarsely and place in sandwich-size plastic bags, being certain to expel as much air as possible. Place several of the small bags in a larger plastic freezer bag and freeze. When needed, remove just the amount needed for recipes. Thaw by placing the bag in hot water or simply crumble and use from the frozen state.

Q: Is it possible to make dill pickles without salt?

A: The University of California Agricultural Extension Service supplied this recipe that substitutes potassium chloride for sodium chloride, or table salt. Potassium chloride is available over the counter at most pharmacies.

QUICK DILL PICKLES

4 pounds (2 quarts) pickling cucumbers

6 teaspoons potassium chloride

3 cups vinegar

3 cups water

3 tablespoons dill seeds

1 tablespoon whole mixed pickling spices

18 whole black peppercorns

Wash cucumbers thoroughly. Cucumbers up to 4 inches are preferred for whole pickles. Slice, quarter or halve lengthwise larger cucumbers.

Combine potassium chloride, vinegar and water. Heat to boiling.

Pack cucumbers into 1-quart hot, sterilized canning jars. Add 1 tablespoon dill seeds, 1 teaspoon pickling spices and 6 peppercorns to each jar. Fill jars to within 1/2 inch of top with boiled vinegar solution.

Adjust caps. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Makes 3 quarts.

Note: For Kosher style dill pickles, add 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved, to each jar along with dill seeds, pickling spices and peppercorns.

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