Flour is Full of Surprises!

In her online newsletter last week, Linda Loosli shared a very interesting article, “Surprising Uses for Flour.” I wondered what else can you do with flour besides BAKE with it? I read all the way through and found some great ideas!

RIPEN AVOCADOS. Craving guacamole but all you have is hard avocados? Turn to flour. Place your fruit in a bag; cover them in flour. Allow them to sit on your countertop for approximately 24 hours. Marvel at the ripening miracle!

LOOSEN A JAR LID. Pickles, jelly, salsa, you name it. Sometimes a jar is just tough to open. We know there are all sorts of remedies to this challenge, but here’s another: Apply a pinch of flour around between the lid and the jar as well as on the lid.

CLEAN UP OIL SPILLS. Not just messy, but annoying, right? For quick clean-up, just drizzle a layer of flour over the spill and allow it to absorb most of the mess. Then simply take a dustpan and small brush to sweep up the residue. Follow up with a soapy washrag to finish the job.

TREAT ACNE and BLACKHEADS. Dab a little raw honey over a pimple or blackheads, then add a light layer of flour atop it. Cover it all with a Bandaid. Do this just before going to bed, and in the morning, remove the cover, rinse away the flour and honey, and notice how the healing has quickly started. This is because the flour helps to dry the pimple and extract the blackheads, while the honey (which is antibacterial) works as a healing agent.

REFRESH YOUR FACE. Not only does flour help with acne and other facial blemishes, it’s also a good ingredient to use when making a face mask (whole wheat flour is recommended). Once you remove the mask, you’ll see glowing, brighter skin, with less evidence of oily residue.

DETER GARDEN PESTS. This is a tried-and-true technique for keeping insects from eating your plants’ leaves and vegetables. And a nice bonus (besides being inexpensive): it’s nontoxic…very organic.

POLISH COPPER. Mix equal parts flour, white vinegar, and salt. Cover what you’re wanting to shine in this mixture and allow it to dry. It will easily buff off and leave a nice sheen.

SHINE STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES. Besides copper, flour can also be used to buff stainless steel. All you need flour and some elbow grease. Wipe off and buff. I like this idea because commercial stainless steel polishes are expensive and toxic.

USE AS A DRY SHAMPOO. Commercial dry shampoos are nothing more than a chemicalized powder. A little non-toxic flour can serve the same purpose. The key words here, though, are “a little.”

HOMEMADE “GALAXY” PLAY DOUGH. This might be the most beautiful playdough you’ve ever seen. This easy recipe is one every grandma needs in her “BEST Grandma EVER!” tool kit.

"Galaxy" Play Dough


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups water
black food coloring
BLUE food coloring
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 cup salt
1 small container sparkles or “fairy dust” (optional)

Use enough food coloring to reach the desired tint you want. Mix and heat liquid ingredients in a large pan. (FYI: Black food coloring can be found at Big Lots.)
In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add this mixture to the heating liquids. Stir until the dough gathers and thickens. Cook until a deep sheen develops. Let it cool slightly; sprinkle with sparkles or “fairy dust” and knead to proper consistency. Store in plastic container.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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MAKE PAPER MACHE GLUE. Another trick every grandma ought to know.

Non-boiled Paste: (does not dry clear). Mix one part of flour with two parts of water and two tablespoons salt (salt prevents mold).

Boiled Paste: (is clear but is hard to remove when hardened). Mix one part of flour with 5 parts of water and two tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil; stir constantly to get a reasonably thick but smooth paste.

FRESHEN OLD PLAYING CARDS. For those that are face card game lovers, you’ll appreciate this. They can get grimy with lots of use, so when this is the case, place them in a paper bag along with some all-purpose flour. Shake the bag well, follow up with a shuffle or two, and your cards should feel as good as new.

  •   www.bakerbettie.com
  •   www.networx.com
  •   www.istockphoto.com
  •   www.fabhow.com
  •   www.daysofadomesticdad.com
  •   www.redtedart.com

    Alice Osborne
    DVO Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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