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Letters to the Editor: Coffee Roasting, Beef Jerky, Freezer and More

Mary Hunt on

Today I want to tell you, my dear readers, just how much joy you bring to my life with your comments and feedback. You give me a daily dose of reality because I use my inbox to measure the temperature on how this column is being received.

Now and then, I get a comment -- and I tell you this quite reluctantly -- that is just not fit to print. Others make me smile, and some even make me cry from time to time. But all are received joyfully, regardless of the content. That's because they let me know that at least one someone out there is actually reading what I write! Here are some of your responses to past columns:

Comments on "How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans"

Dear Mary: Can someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee do this? If so, how? -- Lois

Dear Mary: I have been following you for years and enjoyed the post on home-roasting coffee beans. We are in search of the perfect coffee maker. French press, pour-over, drip ... which is your favorite? -- Lynne

Comments on Make It Yourself: Beef Jerky, French Salad Dressing and Steak Sauce

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Dear Mary: The lowest temperature on my electric oven is 170 degrees F. Do you think it will still work for making beef jerky? -- Wiski

Dear Wiski: Yes. Set the oven temperature as low as it will go. Ideal temperature is 140 degrees F, which will dehydrate the food without cooking it. Since yours only goes as low as 170 degrees, use a wooden spoon (no plastic! it could melt) to prop open the oven door to vent. This lets air circulate and dehydrate the food faster. -- Mary

Comments on "Money-Saving Tricks to Put Your Freezer To Work"

Dear Mary: I agree with the paper towel trick of putting one inside a bag before freezing bread and bakery items. It's amazing! I don't understand it either. My best guess is that it wicks away condensation. You should pop one in with your cheese before freezing, too. It keeps it from getting mushy when defrosting. By the way, you should always defrost in the fridge for safety reasons. Plus, it also helps the item from becoming mushy. Give it a try. -- Kathleen

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