Question: I picked up a package of self-rising flour by mistake. Can you tell me how to substitute it for regular flour?
Answer: In "The New Doubleday Cookbook" (Doubleday: 1985, $16.95), authors Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna define self-rising four as "enriched all-purpose flour to which baking powder and salt have been added. It can be substituted for all-purpose flour in recipes that call for baking powder and salt; to use, measure out the quantity of flour called for and omit the baking powder and salt. Note: To be effective, self-rising flour must be strictly fresh."
Q: I have so many tomatoes ripening at once that I'd like to freeze them. Could I peel some and cook with garlic and onions, then freeze? I've looked in dozens of cookbooks and can't find a thing on freezing stewed tomatoes.
A: We found the following instructions for freezing stewed tomatoes in "Putting Food By" (Stephen Greene Press: 1988, $9.95). They don't include the garlic and onions you mention, but perhaps you could saute the seasonings later, then add the thawed tomatoes and heat the mixture through.
"STEWED TOMATOES--Remove stem ends and cores of ripe tomatoes; peel and quarter. Cook. In a covered enameled or stainless-steel kettle, cook gently in their own juice until tender--10 to 20 minutes. Set the kettle bodily in cold water to cool the contents. Pack. Leave appropriate headroom. Seal; freeze."
Q: The June 23 You Asked About. . . column had information about preparing a fruit pie for freezing. In this article it mentioned dipping apple slices in a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to 1 cup water. My question is, where do you buy ascorbic acid? I've looked in all my area supermarkets and pharmacies, but can't find liquid ascorbic acid.
A: We were referring to ascorbic acid powder, not liquid, which you dissolve in the water. Most supermarkets stock one or more of the available brands near the canning supplies.
Q: Why is it whenever I use a ready-made pie crust in its own foil pan the bottom crust does not cook? Is there anything that can be done to make it cook?
A: You don't say what type of filling you're using, but here are some tips on how to prevent a soggy bottom crust from "Secrets of Better Cooking" (Reader's Digest Assn., Inc.: 1979):
"If you are filling the unbaked crust with a wet filling such as custard, first set the crust: pierce the crust all over. Brush the inside with one egg white, lightly beaten with one teaspoon cold water. Chill for 30 minutes, then put into a preheated 450 degree oven for 5 minutes. Let the crust cool to room temperature, pour the filling in and then bake according to the recipe requirements.
"When you have a single crust to be baked before filling, pierce the crust, brush with the same mixture of egg white and water and chill for 1 hour. Then bake and cool before adding the filling.
"Never pour a hot filling into a hot or cold pie shell; both must be cooled.
"For a pie to be filled with fruits, it helps to coat the bottom crust first with a mixture of one teaspoon each of flour and sugar. After the pie is filled, bake it in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then lower the heat to recipe specifications to finish the cooking.
"In general, sear all wet pies in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 degrees and watch to avoid overcooking.
"Bake an unfilled pie shell quickly in the middle of an upper shelf of the oven, but bake a double-crust pie on a lower shelf where the bottom crust will set faster."
Q: I am enclosing part of a column from The Times Food Section which mentions canned strawberries. I would like to know how you can these berries.
A: The following information comes from "Ball Blue Book--the Guide to Home Canning and Freezing" (Ball Corp.: 1986):
"STRAWBERRIES. Use firm, red-ripe berries, which have neither white nor hollow centers. Hull (cap), wash, drain and measure berries. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar to each quart berries. Gently mix sugar with berries. Let stand five to six hours in a cool place.
"Heat slowly until sugar dissolves and berries are hot. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints 10 minutes, quarts 15 minutes, in boiling water bath.
Note: Strawberries tend to fade and lose flavor when canned."