Coffee cans not meant to be used for cooking

Dear Heloise: I’ve been making the same banana bread recipe for over 40 years. I bake them in metal coffee cans. When they rose to the top, they used to look as though they had a “muffin top.” For some reason, the last two and a half years, when they rose in the oven, they would break and fall down the sides of the cans and spill onto the bottom of the oven.

Everyone loves my banana bread, but for the last couple years this has been happening. I’ve tried different kinds of flour. I know this recipe by heart. Could the flour be getting overprocessed? Help. I’m at my wit’s end. –Diane F., Stanton, California

Diane, it’s not your flour; it’s the cans. First, coffee cans were never designed to withstand the extreme heat of the oven. Perhaps you’ve noticed that many packaging materials today are lighter and thinner than in the past. This goes for coffee cans as well. In an effort to cut down on excessive packaging, most manufacturers have used less in their packaging to help lighten their environmental footprint and to keep costs down as much as they can. I would suggest you use a loaf pan for baking your banana bread instead of a coffee can. — Heloise


Dear Readers: Whenever you get food burned on a pot or pan, try my nontoxic way to clean it. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and simmer on the stove until the burned food comes off. If you need more grease-fighting power, add one drop of mild dishwashing liquid.

Baking soda is a useful household product that can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and cooking. Get my pamphlet “Baking Soda Hints and Recipes” by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: If your dog’s fur is a tad smelly, sprinkle a bit of baking soda just onto the fur, and leave for a bit. Then brush off. Don’t let the baking soda get into your dog’s eyes. — Heloise


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