Dear Heloise: I need some help. What are the FREEZER GUIDELINES for the length of time you can keep meat, fish, bread and pastries? Are any of these safe to keep in the freezer longer than one year? -- Maxine N., Metairie, La.
What a timely question! My brand-new book, "In the Kitchen with Heloise" (Perigee), which is in bookstores now, has a chart on freezer storage times for all kinds of foods you can freeze.
In a nutshell, none of the foods you mentioned should be frozen for longer than one year. The following are the freezing times for those specific foods:
Meat: beef, roasts and steaks -- 6 to 12 months
Meat: beef, ground -- 3 to 4 months
Fish: cooked -- 3 months
Fish: fillets -- 2 to 3 months; moderate to high oil content -- 1 to 3 months; low oil content -- 3 to 6 months
Bread and yeast rolls: 3 months
Pastries: unfilled -- 3 months
Note: Freezer containers should be moistureproof and airtight so that the foods do not dry out and their nutritional value is unaffected.
Along with invaluable information on freezing foods and much, much more, my new book also contains one of my favorite hints, which is to keep a silverware container filled with water by the sink to use to soak silverware after using. There will be less t o scrub when doing the dishes, and no stray flatware will go down the garbage disposal. -- Heloise
SWEET FRESH FRUIT
Dear Heloise: When cutting not-very-sweet fresh fruit for eating over cereal or ice cream, put some granulated sugar in the bottom of a bowl, slice the fruit onto it and add more sugar to taste. Secure the lid on the bowl and gently roll it around.
This will distribute the sugar without bruising the fruit and will make a nice syrup in the bottom -- great for shortcakes! -- C.A., Port Charlotte, Fla.
Dear Heloise: Churches and other organizations that have food-pantry programs are always in need of plastic and paper bags, so about once a month I throw all of mine into the car and take them to church for the food distribution. They are much appreciate d there. -- Carolyn Hodel, Bakersfield, Calif.
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