Posted: March 5, 2014 at 2:28 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: Can you freeze cut-up watermelon and have it still taste yummy when you take it out?

  • Mercy W. in Texas

DEAR READER: Yes, you can freeze watermelon. It won’t be quite as sweet-tasting, unless you eat the frozen watermelon while it is still slightly frozen, and the texture may not be as firm, but the taste is still there. You can freeze the watermelon cubed or in balls, or puree it and add some sugar for a sweeter flavor, if needed. Remove seeds and rind. Freeze the pieces in a tray, and when frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container, removing as much air as possible. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, place the watermelon in a freezer bag and use a straw to remove the air.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a love-hate relationship with sponges. They are convenient, but hold so many germs. I came up with this hint: When I am finished, I squeeze out all the excess water and prop it up using a binder clip. I clip it on the shortest side of the sponge, and the sponge sits up and doesn’t touch the sink or counters directly. It gives me peace of mind.

  • C.K. in Illinois

DEAR HELOISE: To save time for a quick dinner, I often keep a cooked rotisserie chicken from the store in the refrigerator. I can’t tell you how many times a recipe called for cooked chicken or turkey, and I was able to make it because I had the chicken already in the refrigerator. It’s also great for making chicken-salad sandwiches.

  • Stephanie L., New Mexico

DEAR READER: This is a great hint for busy families. You also can add the meat to any soup or casserole dish. Cooking can be a lot of fun if you experiment and substitute items you like for items you are not so fond of. Instead of celery, try adding chopped coleslaw or water chestnuts to your ham, tuna or chicken salad for that added crunch.

DEAR HELOISE: Want to stop shredding your bread when making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Use the back of a spoon instead of a knife. Works great with other condiments and spreads too.

  • Mike W., via email

DEAR HELOISE: For easy cleanup, before I start grating cheese, I spray my grater with nonstick cooking spray. Nothing sticks and washing is easy.

  • Melanie R. in Oregon

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

Food, Pages 36 on 03/05/2014