Posted: July 10, 2013 at 2:22 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: What is the difference between dry and prepared mustards?

  • M.K. in New Mexico

DEAR READER: Dry mustard is the dry, ground-up mustard seed that you buy in the spice aisle.

Prepared mustard is the condiment that is a mixture of ground mustard seed (dry mustard), water and vinegar.

In most recipes, you can substitute dry and prepared mustard for one another. When the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of prepared, substitute 1 teaspoon of dry. When it calls for 1 teaspoon of dry, substitute 1 tablespoon of prepared. Did you know that most mustard does not need to be refrigerated? It may help keep the flavor, but if you prefer your mustard at room temperature, keep it out.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a great way to make hamburger patties. Open a 1-pound package of hamburger and place into a plastic zipper-top bag. Zip the bag shut and mash the hamburger to fill the bag evenly (let a little air out midway through to get it perfect).

Place the bag on a flat surface and use the dull side of a large bread knife to quarter the bag. Place in the freezer and, when ready, simply break off patties for grilling.

  • F.B., via e-mail

DEAR HELOISE: I love to make stuffed mushrooms, and I get requests to take them to get-togethers. I discovered a hint to transport the mushrooms: I use a foam egg carton. The mushrooms sit in the individual cups without losing any stuffing.

  • Debbie R. in Ohio

DEAR READER: Line the carton with plastic wrap before placing the mushrooms in it to keep bacteria away.

DEAR HELOISE: When I have overripe bananas, I freeze them, whole, in the peel. When ready to use, I take out the number I need and let them thaw. I snip off one end with scissors and squeeze out the banana. They are now ready to be used in any way.

  • Karen, via e-mail

DEAR HELOISE: Many of my favorite recipes include things such as nuts, which are difficult for people with dental issues (such as braces or dentures) to eat. I decided to make a treat for a friend with braces. I finely chopped the nuts until they were crumblike in texture. This made it easy to add into the recipe for a great taste, and easier eating for a great friend!

  • Marceline, Pennsylvania

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio,Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or e-mail

Food, Pages 34 on 07/10/2013