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Published: January 15, 2014



DEAR MELBA: This is such a good salad, and you can make many changes without affecting the taste.

For instance, you can use no-sugar-added fruit and sugar-free pudding mix. This will not affect the flavor but will cut quite a few calories.

The pudding will not set up, but you don't want it to, because it is only a flavorful binder for the fruit.

I prefer vanilla pudding mix, but any flavor is good.

The canned fruit can be any fruit you prefer, such as Mandarin oranges, peaches, etc. Be sure to drain all well and save the juice. You'll need it before you're through.


3 cans (14 ounces each) fruit cocktail, drained; save juice

1 can (14 ounces) fruit of choice, drained, save juice

1 box (4 ½-cup servings) instant vanilla pudding

• Into medium bowl, drain juice from all cans of fruit.

• Pour pudding mix into juice and stir with wire whisk until smooth.

• Add fruit and stir until well combined.

• Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Carol, North Carolina

Sounds like a good idea for a Valentine's Day salad.


DEAR MELBA: What's the best way to store mushrooms? Refrigerator, room temperature, wrapped, unwrapped?

Don, Oklahoma City

Fresh mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator in a ventilated container or placed in a single layer on a tray, covered with a damp paper towel up to three days.

However, I'm sure readers can share more information.


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