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DEAR HELOISE: Thought you might like a hint I got from my mom. We always had lots of fresh tomatoes. Mom said that to get the peel off easily, just use the dull side of a paring knife and press it against the skin as if peeling.

Do this all over the tomato, which causes the skin to loosen and then it peels right off.

-- Janice L., Bella Vista

DEAR HELOISE: What is the proper way to clean hair combs and brushes?

-- Katherine in Houston

DEAR READER: It's pretty easy! Comb the brushes thoroughly to remove loose hairs, then soak the brushes and combs in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of shampoo per cup of water. Let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes, then rinse well in hot water.

Baking soda is a workhorse around the house. Cheap, safe and readily available, I've used it for my entire career in household management! Don't soak wooden brushes; scrub them with a nailbrush.

DEAR READERS: You've heard of curds and whey from the nursery rhyme, but do you know what they are?

Basically, when milk turns solid (usually done on purpose to make cheese, or by spoilage), its proteins separate into curds (solid, also called casein) and whey (liquid).

There's lots of information on this subject, but now you know the rhyme and reason!

DEAR HELOISE: I needed to clean and hull lots of strawberries for shortcake. I grabbed my melon baller and used the small end. One quick swipe for each berry and the top was gone.

-- Carol K., Omro, Wis.

DEAR HELOISE: When I'm invited to someone's house, I like to take pretty napkins and paper plates as a token of thanks or as a housewarming gift.

-- Sara, via email

DEAR READER: Readers, what are your favorite small gifts to give or to receive?

DEAR HELOISE: To put lotion on parts of my body I can't reach, I use a silicone spatula that is flat on both sides, with a long handle.

It's great for my back, but also for use on my feet and legs. It will not be absorbed as well as when you use your hands, so I wait a few minutes before putting on clothes.

-- Glenna in Ohio

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend on 09/06/2018

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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