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Hints From Heloise: Avoid putting wood-handle knives in dishwasher

DEAR HELOISE: I had a friend over for dinner and she commented about my new steak knives. I was rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher. She told me not to put the knives in the dishwasher. She said you can’t do that with wooden-handle knives. I’d never heard that.

Why not put them in the dishwasher?

Scott D., Middletown, Ohio

DEAR SCOTT: You can, but it really depends on the knives (meaning the wooden handle) and how often you might put them in the dishwasher. A dishwasher can have many settings – energy saver, rinse or air-dry. It’s really the extremes that affect the wooden handles if you use a regular cycle, cold water, hot water, hot-water rinse and the heat from the drying cycle.

If you want them to last, it takes only 20-30 seconds to wash and dry one. I personally don’t put most knives in the dishwasher. Don’t let wood-handle knives soak in water, either.

DEAR HELOISE: Most of us know to save some of the starchy water in which pasta was boiled, as it can be used to keep noodles separate after draining and to add to pasta sauce to get a rich consistency.

I save it to use to thicken gravies and sauces, and it is great for adding to vinaigrettes to get a slightly thicker dressing. I use an ice tray to freeze the excess, and pop out a few cubes for whenever I need them.

Bobbie B., Jupiter, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE: When I have an abundance of fruits or vegetables in season, to save some for later, I “flash-freeze” them. I line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and then lay out the clean produce in a single layer, without any edges touching. I place it in the freezer for several hours, then bag up the produce in freezer bags.

Mary E., Hewitt, Texas

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.

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