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Helpful Hints

Posted: June 18, 2014 at 1:52 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: The other day, I saw a recipe for making pizza dough, which I love to do. It used something called "00 flour." What exactly is that, and where can I find it? My local grocery stores did not have it.

-- M.T. in California

DEAR READER: This 00 flour is an Italian flour. The "00" is how the ground flour is classified, with the number "00" representing the finest grind. The reason this type of flour is used in pizza dough is because of its texture, which makes it very easy to work with, and because of its low gluten content. This helps make pizza crust light and soft.

If you cannot find it in your main grocery store, try a specialty grocery store, or order the flour online.

DEAR HELOISE: My hint came to me while I was peeling potatoes with a vegetable peeler, a chore I don't like. I retrieved my apple corer/parer from the cupboard. It's the kind you force into one end of the apple (potato, in this case) and then turn the handle and the apple (potato) is peeled. As it goes through, the core is removed.

It works great on potatoes, and an extra benefit is that the now-skinless potato is in the form of a twisty fry. I either put it in boiling water to cook for mashed potatoes, or the fry can be deep-fried for a homemade treat just like at restaurants. It's fast, easy and quick to clean up.

-- Rose G. in Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: I have always wondered what a "use-by" date means. Does it mean the unopened product? If you open it, is it still good until that date? Mostly I wonder about things like vitamins and aspirin.

-- Carol M. in Texas

DEAR READER: The products, opened or not, should still be good for use until the use-by date, or even after. The use-by date is set by the manufacturer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For best quality, it is the last day the manufacturer of the product recommends using it. However, the USDA states that this is not a safety date. If you have stored the product properly and taken care of it, then it still should be good up to and after this date.

DEAR HELOISE: I found the perfect kitchen tool to squeeze juice for my Key lime pie: my garlic press! The small Mexican limes from my patio tree fit perfectly. I just halve the lime, pop it in the press and squeeze. I have a cup of juice in no time.

-- Barbara N., via email

DEAR HELOISE: My kids have always loved hazelnut chocolate spread. One of the ways I use it is to frost brownies. It's delicious.

-- Lily W. in New York

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

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 06/18/2014

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