Antelope Valley Press

What is chocolate bloom, and is it harmful to me?

- Hints from Heloise Send a money-saving or time-saving hint to I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

Dear Heloise: We received a box of chocolates as a gift, but when we opened the box, we noticed there was a whitish substance on the chocolate that looked like mold. This was expensive chocolate, so I hate to throw it out. Can I just scrape the white stuff off, or does it need to be tossed in the trash?

— Kelly T. Lexington, Neb. Kelly, the “white stuff” is referred to as “chocolate bloom,” and it’s not harmful to eat. It’s not mold. Many people claim that it does not impact the taste, but not everyone agrees on this. Some folks also claim that the texture is slightly different, while others say it is the same. This is a matter of personal preference and perception.

Chocolate usually has a long shelf life, with dark chocolate having a shelf life of about two years if it is stored properly. That means storing it in a cool (not cold), dark and dry place. But never store chocolate in the refrigerat­or unless you live in a very warm and humid place.

— Heloise

What to refrigerat­e

Dear Readers: Below, I’ve listed items that don’t need to be refrigerat­ed for various reasons:

1. Onions

2. Coffee (The cold makes it bitter.)

3. Honey

4. Olive oil

5. Apples

6. Ketchup (Refrigerat­e only after opening.)

7. Potatoes

8. Garlic

9. Chocolate

10. Bananas

11. Bread (It dries out.)

12. Hot sauce

13. Peanut butter

14. Avocados

Look for a cool, dark place to store these items in your home.

— Heloise

Make housework fun

Dear Heloise: Here is something I do to make housework more fun. While my morning tea water is heating up for 1 minute and 25 seconds in the microwave, I race to see if I can unload the top rack of the dishwasher before the buzzer goes off. It’s silly, but I love trying anything I can to make housework more fun.

— Carol S. Temple, Texas Carol, it’s not silly. In fact, I was watching a miniseries on television, and I would allow myself one episode, put the series on hold to vacuum the house, then go back and watch another episode. When that episode was done, I would change the sheets, then go back to the miniseries and repeat this often throughout the day. My tasks got handled, and I still got to see the miniseries.

I guess you could say that allowing myself to see the miniseries was my reward for doing various chores at home.

— Heloise

Slimming down

Dear Heloise: I’ve always been a bit on the plump side and probably always will be. I love good food. So, I had to find ways to make me look slimmer than I was without always dressing in black, baggy clothes. Here are some ideas on ways to slim down:

• Wear one color, top to bottom. (Yes, even red.)

• Wear heels instead of flats.

• Wear three-quarter sleeves or short sleeves rather than long sleeves.

• Wear proper undergarme­nts. (This makes a big difference.)

• Make sure that your hose and shoes match.

• Show off those curves by letting clothing skim the body. They can’t be too tight or too loose.

— reader via email

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