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Sterilizing Jars in the Microwave Oven

April 30, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: My husband likes to prepare pickled eggs. In the past, he always sterilized the storage jars in boiling water, but recently he began using the microwave oven. I question whether the microwave kills every germ/microbe on both the inside and outside of the jars. We know that when working with eggs everything must be kept scrupulously clean, so I just want to be certain.

Answer: Diana Williams Hansen, a microwave columnist, tells us that manufacturers do not recommend sterilizing jars in the microwave oven. To be certain jars are sterilized by microwave, they need to be processed one at a time, and most experts consider it much easier and more efficient to use the boiling water bath method.

Q: I'm having difficulty locating an item called Slimset, which diabetics can use for thickening jellies. Can you help?

A: Slimset is made by MCP Foods Inc. in Anaheim. Company representatives say Vons Grocery Co., Ralphs Grocery Co. and Safeway Stores Inc. in Southern California carry the product. If you don't find Slimset in the canning supply section of these stores, ask the manager to order it for you.

Q: I am curious to know why when I roast chicken and turkey the meat around the thigh bone remains pink. Is frozen poultry more likely to have this pink color? Please clear this up for me.

A: Howard Hillman, in his book "Kitchen Science" (Houghton Mifflin: 1981), explains that "Chicken bones contain hemoglobin, the red pigment of blood, and sometimes this protein leaches out of the bone after the bird is cooked. This leaching is particularly likely to happen if the chicken is young or has been frozen." The University of California Cooperative Extension adds that "Cooking usually turns the color to a reddish brown. Occasionally, the color remains red after cooking." This does not indicate any disease or unwholesome condition.

Q: I enjoyed the Los Angeles Times Food Department feature March 19 on wild game, but have been unable to locate any butcher or grocery store which stocks either wild boar or venison. Could you tell me where I can purchase one or both?

A: Irvine Ranch Farmers Markets carry excellent supplies of wild game. You may also purchase or order game through all Gelson's Markets and Jurgensen's Grocery Co. stores, and at Special Foods International in Santa Monica.

In response to the April 16 You Asked About . . . column regarding baking soda, M. Kahn of Los Angeles reminds us that although it's not possible to make your own baking soda, those on low-sodium diets may substitute potassium bicarbonate. Four-ounce bottles are available from Tri-ess Sciences Inc., 1020 W. Chestnut St., Burbank.

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