CLEVER WAYS to Address Home-keeping and Cooking Issues

It’s all about repurposing. This is how we can squeeze extra, and very clever uses out of everyday stuff. And much of this everyday stuff is found in our kitchens.

Take cornstarch for instance: Were you aware it lifts grease spills and splatters from fabrics and carpet? For fabrics, give the spill a good covering of cornstarch, wait 15 to 30 minutes, then scrub with a toothbrush and launder. Or for carpet, same procedure, but vacuum the area after a 30-minute-wait.

And then there’s that trusty friend, cooking spray. It can set a manicure fast when you lightly mist newly painted nails—instant smudge protection. Who knew! Cooking spray also makes cleaning candleholders a snap. For votives, for instance, spritz the inside of the holder before inserting the candle. After the candle burns down, any dripped wax will easily lift out.

A gardener friend shared a tip she uses religiously—she sprays both sides of her cleaned shovels with this stuff before any digging, and she never has any dirt build-up.

Finally, I like to coat both sides of my cheese grater with cooking spray—the cheese just slides off and cleaning the grater afterwards is a breeze.

And how about that Bundt pan! Here’s a repurposing tip that you’ll put me in your will for (if this is something you aren’t already doing). Consider using your Bundt pan to cut corn from the cob. Simply place the ear on the raised center of the pan, and as you slide the knife down, the corn simply falls into the pan. Talk about less mess!

This is the best for serving tacos: Line each taco shell with a lettuce leaf, THEN add the meat and toppings. This approach prevents the bottom of the shell from going soggy. I also like the idea that you’ll get even more roughage as well. Is this not smart?

A mesh strainer makes a terrific hard boiled egg crumbler. Not a tiny meshed strainer; for this, the looser the mesh the better. Place the strainer over a large bowl, push several eggs through at once, and voila, in no time you’ll have all the wonderfully crumbled egg you could want for salads, and sandwiches.

Finally, the lowly banana peel. Yes, it too has another purpose. Did you know we can plant these at the base of rosebushes and other flowering shrubs you’ll get healthier blooms? All you need to do is cut the peel in a few pieces and dig down an inch around the base of your bushes. Drop the peels, cover, water, and let nature take its course. The potassium in the peel feeds the plant and even helps fend off diseases.


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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