8 more Steps to a Zero-Waste Kitchen
1. Look Twice at Rice.
Think before pitching rice if it's been sitting in your cupboard for a few months. It can be used to dry electronics if you ever get them wet-just put the device in a bowl of the dry grains for 24 hours.
2. Banish Sponge Bacteria.
Your old sponge might look like it belongs in the trash, but two minutes in the microwave will kill more than 99% of the germs on it, making it good as new. Be sure to get it wet first.
3. Celery Care 101
Celery is all about crispness, so when it starts to go soft, you may as well throw it out. Right? Not necessarily. Try this first: Put limp stalks in a bowl of cold water with a few slices of raw potato. After an hour or so in this starchy bath, the stalks may deliver the crunch you expect.
And while even crisp celery may turn brown, you can stop browning before it starts. Before storing the stalks in the fridge, soak them for 30 minutes in 1 quart cold water mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice-a trick that will also crisp celery just before it's served.
4. Get the Most Out of a Lemon
When a recipe calls for a few drops of lemon, don't slice the lemon and squeeze. Simply puncture the rind with a toothpick and gently squeeze out the small amount of juice you need. Then cover the hole with a piece of tape and store the lemon in the fridge for later use. Waste not, want not!
5. Oiled Eggs
Prolong the life of fresh eggs by dipping a paper towel into vegetable oil and rubbing the shells before refrigerating.
6. A Surplus of Spuds?
If you find you've peeled too many potatoes for a potato salad or casserole, don't toss the uncooked extras. Put them in a bowl, cover with cold water, and add a few drops of vinegar. Now they will keep in the fridge for three to four days.
7. Brown-Bag Your Lettuce
Lettuce will keep longer if you transfer it from a plastic bag to a roomier paper bag before storing it in the refrigerator. Lettuce likes a little air, but don't think that calls for removing the limp and discolored outermost leaves; they may not be pretty, but these leaves help keep the inner leaves crisper.
8. Last Stop? Compost.
When all else fails, composting your old fruits and veggies can help optimize the fertilizer you use for your garden. If you're going to toss them anyway, put them to good use.
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