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The clever cook™ - kitchen and cooking tips

These helpful tips from Better Homes and Gardens[R] magazine readers can make the dog days of summer a little less tough. Earn extra money by sharing your tips with us. The box in the lower right-hand corner will tell you how.

Creative condiment selection

Here's a great idea for a summer cookout. Remove the tops from a green, a red, and a yellow bell pepper. Cut out the pith and rinse the peppers with water to remove the seeds. Fill peppers with ketchup, mustard, and relish. (Replace the tops to deter insects.) Place in a basket next to the hot dogs, burgers, and buns.

Kristin Couch
Tampa, Fla.

Frosh Life 101

Before I left for college, my mother gave me a recipe book filled with my favorite recipes, which she had compiled over the summer. This loving gesture always brings back fond memories of home, especially when I fix these meals for my friends.

Catherine Purple
Anchorage, Alaska

Frozen flower cubes

To brighten up drinks and punches, use ice cubes decorated with flowers, herbs, and berries. Rose petals, violas, and nasturtium are my favorites for summer. Choose fresh, blemish-free edible flowers that have not been treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Rinse the flowers before placing a single petal, a whole flower, or a sprig in each ice-tray compartment. Cover with water, and freeze.

Jere Cockrell
Missoula, Mont.

Good-bye glue

After peeling labels from jars that you want to save for canning or storage, the residual glue is often difficult to remove from the glass. Try rubbing the glue with white vinegar. It works like magic.

Ruth Tarrant
Mt. Sterling, Ill.

Corkscrew tip control

Sometimes the tip of my corkscrew gives me a nasty jab when I reach in my kitchen utensil drawer. To eliminate this danger, I press the cork from an empty bottle of wine over the pointed end.

Florence Fiorvante
Jackson Heights, N.Y.

Pumped-up tomato sauces

Add a handful of chopped dried tomatoes to tomato sauces. In the summer, they help thicken sauces made with fresh tomatoes, especially when there's not quite enough bounty to fill the pot. In winter, they add a sweet, fresh flavor to canned or jarred tomato sauces.

L.A. Wilson
Fort Worth, Texas


The food editors of Better Homes and Gardens[R] magazine invite you to send us your niftiest kitchen tips. We're looking for original ideas that make cooking easier, healthier, or more rewarding for you and your family. We will pay $25 for each published tip.

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