ear Sara:
While organizing the cupboard, I came across a bag of partially stale marshmallows that got pushed to the back. I only use them to make Rice Krispies treats. Would they still be OK to use? What other recipes/uses are there for stale marshmallows? — Libby, Canada
Dear Libby:
For starters, in the future, store your marshmallows in the freezer. Freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer storage bag. They thaw quickly and won’t stick together or go stale. If they are already stuck together, add a little powdered sugar to the bag and shake until they fall apart. You can add a bit of moisture to stale marshmallows by adding a piece of bread or two to the bag. Seal the bag and wait a couple of days. I haven’t tried using stale marshmallows when making Rice Krispies treats, but since they’re only partially stale, I’m sure they’d be fine. You could still use them in hot cocoa, s’mores, in brownie mix or as an ice cream topping. I’ve heard some people use stale marshmallows for fish bait, too.
Dear Sara:
Can I freeze ketchup? — Elaine, New York
Dear Elaine:
Yes, you can freeze it. An ice-cube tray would work well (freeze it in the tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag). Ketchup doesn’t even need to be refrigerated, although it’s recommended to maintain the texture and taste for a longer period of time.
Dear Sara:
I got married last year and received a number of gifts referred to as “family heirlooms” by the givers. I don’t want or need any of it. It’s a lot of silver plates, old glassware (not in especially nice condition) and other miscellaneous items that equate to clutter. Nothing homemade or personalized, nothing once belonging to relatives I could identify by name. I also have pending heirlooms, like a set of sterling dinnerware and china, coming to me from my grandmother, which means a lot to me. If I ever find myself needing nice dinnerware, I’ll use those.
I’m inclined to send all of these heirloom wedding gifts off to Goodwill (I doubt it has any cash value), but I fear I’ll offend the people who gave me the items, if they ever come calling. I also feel a bit ungrateful. I guess these items mean something to some family members, but I don’t feel the need to become their lifelong caretaker for that reason. Is it OK to let it all go? I can’t help thinking that some of this stuff was just junk that they dumped on me! — Sara, forums
Dear Sara:
I would sort through the items and pull out anything you do want and then contact the family members that gave them to you and explain that you have kept the items that you like and have the space to keep, and that you didn’t feel comfortable selling or donating the rest, so you’d like to offer it back to them to give to other family members. It will be a tough conversation, but it’s much better than simply getting rid of them and possibly causing a lot of hurt feelings from not only the people that gifted them to you, but other family members that might value them.
photo by MHG