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Chris Amirault

Repurposing Food & Kitchen Stuff You Usually Throw Away

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How about sealing it in a zip-top sandwich-size bag? I've done that with small cans or bowls when I too lazy (heh) to tear off a piece of plastic wrap. Oh and I do re-use the zippy bags, too.

Edited to add-- OK-- I guess I'm confused by this new layout. This was supposed to be a reply to Kouign Aman's question on what to use to cover open cans of cat food. So, insert this reply there.....


Edited by JanMcBaker (log)

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)

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I like to save glass jars with proper lids--the kind with a rubberized/plasticized ring beneath the lid so the seal is truly airtight. (Pickle jars, for example, don't seal this way at all). But I really covet the tall, French Lorina lemonade bottleswith a ceramic & rubber stopper & metal bail closure. In fact, I buy the lemonade just to save the bottles. They're great for storing homemade dressings, limoncello, herb vinegar, oils, etc. I also have a collection of takeout chopsticks & plastic utensils out in the garage, used mostly for stirring paint, mixing epoxy, chemicals, etc.

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In the bad old days, before I took up my late life of cooking, I used to order muffins each August for our Dog Weekend. They came in these plastic flats which originally held cheap margarine by the 2-pounds. Oh, these are WONDERFUL storage containers, coveted by all. And shared with only a hand-picked few. :hmmm:

Oops, I did not use the margarine. :raz:


Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Costco sells apples in a hardpack with one space per apple. These are excellent for storing special christmas ornaments of the glass ball variety.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I refuse to store leftovers in yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese containers (because you can't see what's in the container and then you think you really do have sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese. The containers go the garage or sewing space for storage of "inventory" (think odd bits of this and that), but the lids make very nice spoon rests.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I refuse to store leftovers in yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese containers (because you can't see what's in the container and then you think you really do have sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese. The containers go the garage or sewing space for storage of "inventory" (think odd bits of this and that), but the lids make very nice spoon rests.

I deliberately mismatch the lids with the pots (of the same size, of course) that contain leftovers. Also, after several uses, I find the print fades and there is no question that it's a reused container.

Being from a family of hoarders (to my father's chargrin!), I love this thread. Thank you all for shring your ideas and reinforcing my habits. :biggrin:


Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Costco sells apples in a hardpack with one space per apple. These are excellent for storing special christmas ornaments of the glass ball variety.

Brilliant! I'm going to retrieve one from the recycling bin.

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This is backwards, I guess: repurposing hotel freebies for the kitchen. Always stick the shower cap in your suitcase -- it's a great bowl cover.

Particularly for covering a bowl of yeasted dough while it's rising :biggrin:

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Sometimes a large bottle of vodka will have two teensy bottles, either of vodka or something else, hanging around its neck. DH will buy this. The little bottles are just big enough to store little bits of other liquids.

(Remember that in Ontario, a bottle of vodka, cheapest kind, starts at $52.00 I can hear the American gasps. :wacko: You cannot get single distilled vodka in Ontario, only triple.)


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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This is backwards, I guess: repurposing hotel freebies for the kitchen. Always stick the shower cap in your suitcase -- it's a great bowl cover.

Particularly for covering a bowl of yeasted dough while it's rising :biggrin:

You can buy a box of 100 for about $2.99 at beauty supply stores. I have a box I bought at Sally's a couple of years ago. However this size is not always convenient.

I also buy the sets of various sizes, 50 in a pack, at Home Marketplace

http://www.thehomemarketplace.com/HomeMarketPlace/Shopping/ProductDetail.aspx?CID=Food+Storage&SCID=Food+Storage&ProductID=0000083502&SiteNum=0&sortBy=Rank%20ASC&TabNum=0

where you can also get the larger ones that fit over baking pans and etc.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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You can buy a box of 100 for about $2.99 at beauty supply stores. I have a box I bought at Sally's a couple of years ago. However this size is not always convenient.

I also buy the sets of various sizes, 50 in a pack, at Home Marketplace

http://www.thehomemarketplace.com/HomeMarketPlace/Shopping/ProductDetail.aspx?CID=Food+Storage&SCID=Food+Storage&ProductID=0000083502&SiteNum=0&sortBy=Rank%20ASC&TabNum=0

where you can also get the larger ones that fit over baking pans and etc.

Brilliant! Never even thought of that. You used to be able to buy a package of thingies in the grocery store. Then I never saw them again and had been saving motel shower caps and even buying some dollarama shower caps for that purpose.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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You might be surprised at the things you can find in a beauty supply store that can be handy in the kitchen.

I checked and the price has gone up since I bought the box I have in the pantry but they are still affordable:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Spa-Salon-Disposable-clear-shower-hair-cap-100-PCS_W0QQitemZ250519663617QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a5422b401

I have a selection of emery boards from coarse to superfine to smooth out nicks in knife handles, chopsticks, the edge of a cutting board and most important to "sharpen" the edge of a non-metal spatula (all tasks performed in the past couple of days) and the polishing buffers will remove the tiny rust spots that show up from time to time on stainless steel things.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I think the one repurposing thing I do that I haven't seen in this topic so far is my hoarding of those soup flavoring powder packets from packages of Asian noodle soup (ramen, udon, etc.) I usually find them way too strong and salty for a single serving of soup noodles, so I just use half a packet per serving -- or one packet per two servings if I'm either famished or want leftovers. Either way, I slowly accumulate extra soup packets, which get used on noodles that come without soup packets, or for other random seasoning purposes.

I also do the plastic bag hoarding thing. One of my favorite plastic bag brainstorms: you know all those dried ingredients that come in little non-resealable plastic packets? Like chilies, or sea vegetables, or shiitake mushrooms, etc. etc. Well, I must confess that a lot of the time I just can't be bothered to hunt down containers to transfer all these little bits of stuff into, so what I do instead is to slip a bunch of them into a large plastic supermarket bag and tie the whole bag closed. No, it's not super-airtight, but it keeps them protected enough, and it also organizes them all in one place. I've also been known to slip big bags of rice, flour, etc. into plastic supermarket bags to try and shield them from bugs 'n' stuff.


Edited by mizducky (log)

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I just remembered one that I use when cooking a lot of steaks on the grill. As soon as they come off the grill onto a platter I stab one of the disposable white plastic forks that come with take-out food into the steak.

I have previously written on the handles either "B-rare" "rare" "medium" or "well" and this saves people having to cut into the steaks to check.

I do the same thing with different seasoned meats, chicken and etc., when it isn't obvious how they are seasoned. (Some people do not like garlic or other flavors.)

This is particularly important when I am simply filling platters and not taking the food to the tables.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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You know those red plastic bags that onions come in? Turns out they are great for holding your cheesecloth package while your homemade ricotta drains.

I have been thinking about making ricotta. What a great tip!!!! Thanks. I will have to not rip into them, as I usually do, and open them from the top...properly!

The black, fairly thick plastic bags that are used at the Liquor Stores in VA fit perfectly in the trash basket by my desk. I save those.

I, too, save the cloth bags from Crown Royal. My husband uses the large ones as shoe bags when we travel. Use others for coins.

All plastic containers. I've gotten tired of buying tons of storage containers and suddenly having nothing to put my leftovers in....they all disappear!!!! Having the sour cream, marscapone, olive (from the self serve) containers disappear is not so frustrating.


Donna

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Big plastic barrel type container with screw on lid...originally held individually wrapped biscotti from BJ's wholesale...is used now to hold DH's constant supply of hard pretzels.


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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The mesh bags from onions and other stuff have a bunch of uses. If you accumulate several of them and stuff a few into one, then tie off the end, you have made yourself a plastic scrubbie thing. But the best use I've found--enough to justify a year's subscription to Cook's Illustrated--is to remove the skins from hazelnuts and other nuts. You toast the hazelnuts, dump them in a relatively fine mesh bag, hold the open end closed, and rub the nuts around over a sink or a dish or your compost bin. The plastic scrapes off the skins and they fall through the holes. That discovery made me happy for weeks.

I don't save peanut butter jars--I figure the amount of hot water it takes to clean them outweighs the resources conserved--but Skippy lids fit nicely on one-cup glass jelly jars.

The heavy cardboard tubes from plastic wrap are good for propping up your couche when you are making baguettes.

You can drain yogurt or strain clam broth through gold coffee filters.

Those heavy rubber bands from broccoli and such make perfect jar openers. Just put one around the lid that you couldn't budge, twist, and, I promise, it's like magic. Of course, you can use those asparagus bands on bigger jars.

Speaking of which, the Velcro-like straps that come around some produce these days are great for tying up vines in the garden. And those take-out containers with lids--perfect little seed-starting greenhouses; the garden places would like to charge you for the same thing.

Oh, and oyster shells make great driveways.

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I refuse to store leftovers in yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese containers (because you can't see what's in the container and then you think you really do have sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese. The containers go the garage or sewing space for storage of "inventory" (think odd bits of this and that), but the lids make very nice spoon rests.

They do make great containers for the freezer, though, if you want to freeze anything liquid--purees, sauces, stocks, etc. Perfect for small amounts or single-servings of leftovers. Just label them, which you'd probably do anyway.

During the winter months when I buy produce from the grocer (rather than the farmers market), I often buy salad greens that come in rather large plastic boxes. These I always save. They are great for storing bulky things (ie., an open bag of flour) or loose items that I don't use often (ie., my cookie cutters), they stack nicely and you can see what's in them. They also make excellent transportable containers, good for picnics or bringing cookies to the office, when you don't want to deal with bringing plates or tupperware home.



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That is very clever, Maggie.

One of my neighbors makes "rugs" from them, similar to rag rugs. I give all the extra bags I bring home from stores to her. I try to use only my "permanent" bags but fairly often buy more than they will hold and they add up rapidly.

I'm going to tell her about your tote bag.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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That is very clever, Maggie.

One of my neighbors makes "rugs" from them, similar to rag rugs. I give all the extra bags I bring home from stores to her. I try to use only my "permanent" bags but fairly often buy more than they will hold and they add up rapidly.

I'm going to tell her about your tote bag.

Thanks, Andie, and I'm thinking about those rugs. Thing is, altho' it's fun to recycle all those bags, your friend and I are probably creating items that will survive a nuclear attack. On the other hand, better to make something useful with them than let them clog the oceans.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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The can of cleanser always leave a rusty mark on the counter so I put a soft drink take out lid under it.

You can use the onion bags for suet for the birds.

For MANY years we used a kind of margarine cup ....colored plastic cup (choice of 4 colors) as our camping cups. Of course that was their intended use once marg was gone.

I deal with lots of international students. I've known them to mark and use yogurt and such tubs for measuring cups.

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The plastic box from salad greens (1 lb size) can be used for:

* starting seedlings. Cut a paper egg carton into individual cups, add soil, and a seed. Add water, and sun, and voila! 70 tomato plants later...

* storing yarn. 1 lb box is the perfect size for those 3 oz skeins. AND, you can sort the yarn by color, as the boxes are clear!

* storing gift-wrapping ribbon spools.


Karen Dar Woon

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