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Marinade malfeasance?

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2007 10:00 pm

Dear Barbara: We love to marinate meats for the grill. How long can you keep the marinade for marinating further meats?

- Kyle from Galt

Dear Kyle: You should never save the marinade that you have had raw meat in! That would be a bacteria fest! If you make a marinade that you like, use what is needed for that particular meat and save the untouched marinade in the refrigerator. You can save the unused portion for about a week in the refrigerator, or freeze it for about a month. If you want to baste the meat you are grilling, use some of the unused marinade, not the one that the raw meat was in!

Dear Barbara: I have seen in magazines where they have little cakes in flower pots, or dips, etc. Are clay pots safe to use and eat the food in them?

- Haley from Lodi

Dear Haley: The pots you see in magazines for cakes, etc. are food grade pots made to bake in. I once was given a dip mix that came with a little shovel and pot. I know that the pot was specifically made for food. Your regular clay flower pots are made for flowers, not food! If you want the shape of the flower pot, you could line it with aluminum foil and bake in it, but not directly. However, that is a really cute idea, and what fun it would be to decorate the flower pot! You could put iced cookies on a stick with chocolate cake as dirt in the pot. I may have to try this!

Dear Barbara: I have a two part question. First, do you think dented cans are okay? Secondly, we camp a lot, so would it be safe to heat food in the can? It would save time and I would not have to do a bunch of dishes later.

- Margaret from Lodi

Dear Margaret: This is an easy question. Yes, dented cans are fine as long as they are not bulging at the top or bottom, or leaking. You can heat food in the can if you remove the top and place them in a pan of water to heat them. It would save you a lot of work while camping. More work is the last thing we need while on vacation!

Dear Barbara: Someone told me that there is a sweetener called Stevia that is suppose to be all natural, but contains no sugar. Have you ever heard of it? I haven't seen it at my store. Do you know where I could buy it?

- Sarah from Lodi

Dear Sarah: I am familiar with Stevia and actually have some in my cupboard. Stevia is an herb. It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. You can purchase Stevia at health food stores. You don't see it in grocery stores because it has not been approved for widespread use in the United States. Consequently, it is sold as an herbal dietary supplement, just as most of the herbal supplements are in the U.S.

I know that you can't bake with it, but I don't know if it changes its composition with heat as do other artificial sweeteners. My husband and I both feel that it has an unappealing after taste. You may want to read articles about it before you buy it. If you go to Google and type in 'Stevia', I'm sure there would be many articles that would give you all the information you would need.

Tip of the day! If grilling at night, using a camping headlamp, also known as miners light, not only keeps the light where you are looking, but keeps both hands free for cooking!

Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at bdspitzer@comcast.net. Please include your first name and city.

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