I keep seeing orange wine on menus — what is it?
Elizabeth Underwood, Winona, Minn.
Orange wines have been around for thousands of years, but have only recently become popular outside of eastern and central Europe.
They’re made from white grapes that are left in their skins for an extended period, allowing complex flavors, as well as their signature hue, to develop. (In stores, look for wines labeled “skin-contact” or “extended maceration.”)
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Fans consider them a great alternative to the ubiquitous rose; their balanced acidity and fruitiness go nicely with grilled meat and seafood.
Here are three tasty varieties available right now. Serve them just slightly on the cool side, rather than straight from the fridge.
Wines, from top to bottom:
Chenin blanc: This easy-drinking type has hints of honey and grapefruit. Lost at Last, $30, tankgaragewinery.com.
Albana Di Romagna Secco: It offers rich flavors of figs, plums, honey and citrus. Ancarani Santa Lusa, $23, vintryfinewines.com.
Ribolla Gialla: Intense and unusual, this smells of nuts, dried apricot, fennel and sage. Radikon, $37, astorwines.com.
How should I polish my copper pots?
Barbara Woodman, Pasadena, Calif.
An inexpensive copper cream, such as Wright’s, should do the trick ($4.50, target.com). Wearing rubber gloves, use a sponge to rub it into the exteriors of the pots, then rinse it off with running water and buff the copper with a clean cloth. In a pinch, you can also enlist a cut lemon sprinkled with salt to polish the copper until it gleams, then rinse. Or try ketchup, which contains enough vinegar to remove tarnish. Rub it on with your hands and let it sit a few minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a clean cloth.
What’s the difference between a spade and a shovel?
Annemarie Christensen, Oklahoma City, Okla.
A garden spade has a relatively flat, usually rectangular blade; it’s a precision digger that’s ideal for planting or transplanting small trees and shrubs, and for edging clean lines for beds. Shovels are larger, and made for lifting and moving loose materials, such as soil, gravel, mulch and sand. They have a curved, scooped blade that can come in a number of shapes, most commonly a round arc that has a point for piercing soil.
Unlike briquettes that use wood byproducts and accelerants, Rockwood lump charcoal is made from hardwoods, which burn clean and longer, and provide superior flavor.
Source: Rockwood lump charcoal, $22 for 20 pounds, firecraft.com.
Any suggestions for an easy way to eat more small fish? I’ve heard they’re really good for you.
Todd Morgenthal, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Whole small fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and provide the extra benefit of calcium from their tiny edible bones.
For convenience, good choices include the tinned varieties from Jose Gourmet (available at marxpantry.com) — particularly the whole mackerel in olive oil.
Try them layered on toast with parsley and a squeeze of lemon, added to rice and vegetables for a simple Japanese-style breakfast, or tossed into a lunch salad as a no-cook protein.
Address questions to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 11 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. Or go to www.marthastewart.com/contact-us-form. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number.
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