Storing ginger for long periods of time is a snap

Dear Heloise: I use fresh ginger in my hot tea, and also use it in some recipes. I cut the fresh ginger into slices and freeze them to use later in hot tea. I peel and grate the rest of the ginger, then freeze it in 1/4- to 1/2-teaspoon measurements.

No matter how I try to store it, it seems to go bad before I can use the whole piece of root I bought. As you know, it takes only a little fresh ginger for most recipes. — Barbara W., Ventura, Calif.

I love ginger, fresh or candied! I, too, put some in my tea when brewing a pot. Then I make a pitcher of zingy ginger iced tea. Freezing ginger is a great hint! It lasts up to six months when frozen. To store fresh ginger (it should last up to three weeks or longer) in the refrigerator, be sure to wrap what’s left over in paper towels and then place in a sealable plastic freezer bag or container. — Heloise

P.S. Look for candied ginger — it’s super! It’s in the spice aisle, or maybe the health-food area. You may have to stop at a health-food store to find it. One small bottle will last a long time! Perfect in hot tea, or chew a small piece for an upset stomach, just like ginger ale.

Dear Heloise: I like a little ground red pepper in my scrambled eggs, but for some reason I kept grabbing the ground cinnamon instead. I do not like cinnamon in my scrambled eggs. I finally realized that the ground red pepper lid was gold and the cinnamon lid was red, so I switched them. My subconscious is now happy, and my eggs are no longer cinnamony. By the way, a little ground pepper on cinnamon toast — along with cinnamon and sugar, of course — is not bad at all. — Sherry G., Cecil, Ala.

Dear Heloise: We have a busy household with two teenagers, and we both work. On Saturday or Sunday, the whole family gets in the kitchen and tries to precook some of the meals we will eat the upcoming week. Sometimes it’s just the main dish, like chicken or meat, and some sides — rice, pasta or potatoes. We put the food in zip bags, or in a baking dish — the right amount for one meal — and into the refrigerator.

It’s nice to come home and not have to worry about what we are going to have for dinner! It’s just reheating and adding something fresh, such as a salad or some other side. It’s cheaper than eating out, and a lot healthier, too! — Carol G. in Pennsylvania

A few hours of prep on the weekend can save headaches during the week! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: While making dinner the other night, I realized I was out of Dijon mustard. I headed to the refrigerator and pulled out my spicy brown mustard. It worked well, and no one even knew I had swapped mustards. — Nancy B.,

Lexington, Ky.