HINTS FROM HELOISE

Garden City Telegram

Dear Readers: They are sprouting up like spring vegetables: online grocery delivery services, either from your grocery store directly or from an outside company. Are they worth it? Let's take a look at some advantages:

-  You've put space between yourself and impulse buys. Can't grab those candy bars and gossip magazines.

-  You may save time, having someone else do your shopping

-  There may be online specials that in-store shoppers can't get.

And some disadvantages:

-  You can't pick your own items, like exactly which apple you'd like (although you can make notes about how the produce should look -  like the degree of "greenishness" in the bananas, for example).

-  You still might need to go to the grocery for things you use a lot of, like milk, eggs and bread.

-  Food safety can be an issue. A cooler on the porch may be necessary to store meats and cold items.

Grocery delivery services charge a fee -  usually around $10 per $100 spent, on average. A bargain, or a burden? You decide. -  Heloise

P.S. If you decide to take the plunge, leave the light on for evening deliveries, and make sure your house number is visible from the street. 

ORGANIZATION NATION

Dear Heloise: No matter how tired I am, when I get home from work and before I even sit down, I do something housework-worthy -  bundle up the kitchen trash, pick up the living room, scoop the cat box. 

It gives me a feeling of satisfaction! -  Tracy E. in Colorado

TOMATO TALE

Dear Readers: Most of us have or have seen the iconic tomato pincushion. Do you know its legacy? It's fascinating!

In olden times, a red ripe tomato was displayed on the mantel of a new family's dwelling. Why? To propagate the legend that the fruit (yes, a tomato is technically a fruit) would repel evil spirits from the home, and then woo wealth and health.

As you can imagine, leaving ripe fruit about can create problems, so sawdust-stuffed fabric tomatoes were eventually fashioned. 

And metal pins and needles were hard to come by and therefore revered, so storing them in the tomato made sense. And the hanging strawberry charm? It's filled with an emery powder, which can sharpen needles. -  Heloise

FROZEN ASSETS

Dear Heloise: I worked my way through college working at a supermarket in Ft. Worth, Texas. When you buy frozen veggies at the market, make sure you can move the individual veggies around in the bag. If it feels like a solid block, it has been thawed somewhere. Then it was refrozen.

The veggies should be OK. The taste and texture may be different. Just make sure you cook them. Check the sell by or best by date, of course. -  Jesse S., via email

SUGAR SHAKER

Hi, Heloise: I hate having to wipe up all the little sugar crystals that fall on my kitchen counter when I open a new bag of sugar. And, if I miss any, they really attract tiny ants. 

To avoid the mess, I open the bag of sugar over the sink. All the crystals trapped in the folds of the bag land in the sink and can be rinsed away. -  Ginny, Salem, Ore.

Send a money-saving or time saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.