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Chris Amirault

Repurposing Food & Kitchen Stuff You Usually Throw Away

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Empty milk/juice containers: I fill them w/ water and store them in the refrigerator or freezer (ha, ha) when they are less than full. The water retains the cold and lowers the electric usage. Also, since Charleston, SC is subject to earthquakes, tornados and especially hurricaines, they are a source of potable water during an emergency.

Glass Apple Cider Bottles: I have 6 w/ Vanilla extract brewing. Each one has about 10-20 Vanilla beans. When I need a refresh on the extract, I drain it from the bottle w/ the freshest beans and continue filling from the older bean bottles until I get to the oldest and then top it off w/ dark rum. The benefit is that the most diluted sol'n will continue to extract flavor from the older beans and the concentration continues to increase as the the extract moves from bottle to bottle. It is some very potent V. Extact.

Plastic yogurt, etc containers as a grease seperator for gravy, etc. Pour your pan drippings in, let sit for 5 min's and then poke a hole in the bottom w/ a knife- voila.

Glass Bottles, as mentioned earlier, for storage of spices, giving of gifts (just hot glue on some fabric to the bottle top), and taking up lots of space.

**** One of my favorites- a 1/2 liter decorative bottle w/ a liquor dispenser in the top- mix 1/3 liquid dish detergent and 2/3 water- it is easier to use, is definitely more economical and is attractive on the counter. WARNING: I had Joy (yellow) in the bottle and while I was not looking a guest poured it over his bread b/c he likes bread w/ olive oil, lmao watching him bent over the sink trying to "clean" his mouth of detergent by turning on the water and using the sprayer stuck into his mouth... wish I had a video for youtube.

GREAT topic Chris.


Edited by Tom Gengo (log)

Tom Gengo

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Crown Royal used to (still do??) come in these purple cloth drawstring bags. As a kid, I used to keep my crayons and toys in there.

I keep tarot decks in my Crown Royal bags. They're the perfect size and shape!

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Costco party vegetable tray works well for holding the munchkin's crayons, colored pencils, stickers etc, organinized but all together for inspiration. And has a lid so more than one can be stacked.

Its just about time to dig out the mushroom boxes (blue styrofoamy stuff) from Costco, and start the seedlings.


"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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Since I live in a part of the world where Ziplocs are not available, I re-use them!! Granted, I am talking about ziplocs I use for salads or breads...i wash them out, turn them inside out, let them dry and then use them again. I also re-use carboard dishes we get from bakeries-things don't come in boxes here! They are great for fried foods. I also re-use old plastic bottles as plant waterers and for saving or throwing out old oil. We also wash out wine bottles and re-fill with Vino Sfuso (wine by the gallon from local producers) from time to time. And the same goes for Olive Oil containers.

I know people that use Pasta Cooking water to wash dishes in order to save water. Apparently, it's a great grease cutter. Anyone know if that's true? I cannot bring myself to do that. I absolutely don't get that.

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I know people that use Pasta Cooking water to wash dishes in order to save water. Apparently, it's a great grease cutter. Anyone know if that's true? I cannot bring myself to do that. I absolutely don't get that.

I do it camping, just because it's camping and why throw away a perfectly good pot of hot water? It does cut grease exceptionally well. I don't do it at home, though.

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Chopsticks from take-out are useful in the garden as plant stakes, row markers, support for mesh bed covers, etc.

Nylon mesh onion bags filled with soap bits make a good scrubber in the shower (my grandmother did this).

Plastic clamshell containers, like the berry/cherry-tomato sizes, are perfect for packing a sandwich for the plane. You weren't actually going to buy on board, were you?

Cardboard wine bottle shipping inserts are great for packing fragile things like Christmas ornaments.

Really cheapo department (and not exactly kitchen): some restaurant bathrooms have very sturdy single-use hand-towels. Somehow one of those always makes its way to my car for quick wipe-ups.


Looking for the next delicious new taste...

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Charcoal starter for BBQs: Save out some used (clean) oil from deep frying in a big plastic jar (Costco cashews). Add used clean paper towels. One squeezed out towel in the chimney will get the coals going quickly.


Monterey Bay area

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I know people that use Pasta Cooking water to wash dishes in order to save water. Apparently, it's a great grease cutter. Anyone know if that's true? I cannot bring myself to do that. I absolutely don't get that.

I do it camping, just because it's camping and why throw away a perfectly good pot of hot water? It does cut grease exceptionally well. I don't do it at home, though.

I've never heard about the grease-cutting properties of pasta water, but I'll have to give that a try. Usually when I'm done with the pasta water I'll throw in a few eggs (still in the shell) or small potatoes to let them cook overnight in the residual heat. Depending on what I threw in, we'll have hard-boiled eggs or the fixings for potato salad in the morning.

Cardboard egg cartons are good for collecting and absorbing bacon grease. This is more of a camping trick than usual-household trick, partly because I reserve bacon as a special treat and partly in case of leakage through the bottom of the carton. There usually isn't much.

I'm an inveterate produce bag saver and always need a way to store them prior to re-use. A plastic tub with a lid from some food purchase became the perfect keeper in our kitchen drawer: cut about a 1" hole in the lid, and you can stuff the container with bags through the hole and pull them back out again that way without having them take over the interior of the drawer.

Used large-holed spice jars, as for dried parsley flakes, make great shakers later. I now have a corn meal shaker as well as a flour shaker in both the house and trailer, and they're more compact than the usual handled short shakers.

I am also a hoarder of asparagus or broccoli rubber bands. I'll have to remember that trick of using them to improve the grip on a jar lid.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Usually when I'm done with the pasta water I'll throw in a few eggs (still in the shell) or small potatoes to let them cook overnight in the residual heat. Depending on what I threw in, we'll have hard-boiled eggs or the fixings for potato salad in the morning.

That is the best kitchen tip I've gotten in months! I always feel lousy tossing all that hot water, and at our house we'd eat boiled eggs until our bellies blew up like Cool Hand Luke.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Several months ago, I bought a container of Walgreen's brand chocolate-covered almonds, which came in a reusable container with a flip-up lid (it also screws off). It's so useful that now I need to go buy more almonds just for the containers.

Really, though, it's such a great idea -- the nuts have to packed be in something; why not make it reusable?

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Really, though, it's such a great idea -- the nuts have to packed be in something; why not make it reusable?

...reminds me of a Beverage Thermos, which was the packaging for Hollow Wall Anchors (sort of like the "other" type of nuts), purchased many, many years ago by Husband 1.0


Karen Dar Woon

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I am a mugaholic. Not only do I find them in stores and fall head-over-heels in love, but I have some made by friends who are potters, and some I made when I was a potter. And then there's public radio. The idea of sending any of them on to a secondhand store makes me grieve. Naturally, there is a point where it becomes a Marital Issue. I have learned to put them in drawers to hold things that need to be held; to put them on shelves to hold pens, etc.; on my vanity to hold brushes, etc. Whenever I see a new mug I just have to have, I start thinking about what little things I have that could live in a mug.

I shake out those nice sturdy bags that line breakfast cerial boxes, and use them when bringing salads to work; they're great to dump the greens and dressing into, close and shake, and can be discarded at that point.

I often buy the small, 4-to-a-package bottles of wine for cooking. The empty bottles are great for taking salad dressing to work.

Cleaned out Keurig K-cups would make great funnels, especially in a pinch. Since we tend to allow several stack up before we dismantle them for recycling, there's always one available.

Basket-shaped coffee filters are great for covering stuff in the microwave.

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<snippage>

Basket-shaped coffee filters are great for covering stuff in the microwave.

They are also great for small servings of chips, pretzels, etc. Cheaper than paper towels, and better portability than a possibly breakable or lose-able bowl! :smile:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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<snippage>

Basket-shaped coffee filters are great for covering stuff in the microwave.

They are also great for small servings of chips, pretzels, etc. Cheaper than paper towels, and better portability than a possibly breakable or lose-able bowl! :smile:

And for lining a sieve to strain used fats, etc.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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<snippage>

Basket-shaped coffee filters are great for covering stuff in the microwave.

They are also great for small servings of chips, pretzels, etc. Cheaper than paper towels, and better portability than a possibly breakable or lose-able bowl! :smile:

And for lining a sieve to strain used fats, etc.

And if you can find the extra-large commercial ones, they will hold much more.

I buy a sleeve of them at Smart & Final about every two years. I don't know how many are in a sleeve, but it is a lot! And they are cheap. (The sleeve says these are 2 GALLON filters, are about a foot in diameter and 5 inches deep.) I estimate there are probably two hundred left in this sleeve and I purchased it in August 2008 - shortly before I went on a trip and was stocking up for the stuff I would need on the trip. (I visited gfron1 in Silver City, NM on that trip.)

I use them for fried foods as they are very absorbent - totally lint-free (unlike paper towels) and hold together better. In fact, two of them stapled together make an "emergency" microwave popcorn popper - the metal staples are not big enough to affect the microwave, never a spark!

They are also good for polishing glass because - as noted above, they are totally lint-free. I have a convex mirror that shows every tiny blemish and the only thing I can polish it with successfully is one of these filters.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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

 

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It had never occurred to me to use them for draining bacon. Which will allow me to have slightly less paper towel guilt.

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. . .

And if you can find the extra-large commercial ones, they will hold much more.

I buy a sleeve of them at Smart & Final about every two years. I don't know how many are in a sleeve, but it is a lot! And they are cheap. (The sleeve says these are 2 GALLON filters, are about a foot in diameter and 5 inches deep.) I estimate there are probably two hundred left in this sleeve and I purchased it in August 2008 - shortly before I went on a trip and was stocking up for the stuff I would need on the trip. (I visited gfron1 in Silver City, NM on that trip.)

I use them for fried foods as they are very absorbent - totally lint-free (unlike paper towels) and hold together better. In fact, two of them stapled together make an "emergency" microwave popcorn popper - the metal staples are not big enough to affect the microwave, never a spark!

They are also good for polishing glass because - as noted above, they are totally lint-free. I have a convex mirror that shows every tiny blemish and the only thing I can polish it with successfully is one of these filters.

Some excellent ideas that I had not even considered.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls are perfect for storing spring loaded tongs that always seem to pop open in the drawer.

When making stock I like to have a supply of quart size soup containers from Chinese takeout.Heatproof so you can portion the stock right away for faster cooling.The smaller ones work well for disposing of hot fat since they wont melt like most plastics and have a lid unlike an open can.

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Cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls are perfect for storing spring loaded tongs that always seem to pop open in the drawer.

. . .

And the heavier tubes from foil and plastic wrap make great support/separators for baguettes when proofing them in a couche. Wish I could remember who to credit for this great tip.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I just realized all the glass pots I'd been accumulating from the posh German yogurt I buy as yogurt starter make the perfect containers for all the dried spices I brought back to China from Canada with me. And I don't feel a speck guilty about writing on the tops with a Sharpie. Now if I could just figure out what to use as a spice rack...

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Cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls are perfect for storing spring loaded tongs that always seem to pop open in the drawer.

. . .

And the heavier tubes from foil and plastic wrap make great support/separators for baguettes when proofing them in a couche. Wish I could remember who to credit for this great tip.

Anna N, that would be Catherine Iino, in post 44, in this thread. Just happened to go back to read, and noticed that.


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I just realized all the glass pots I'd been accumulating from the posh German yogurt I buy as yogurt starter make the perfect containers for all the dried spices I brought back to China from Canada with me. And I don't feel a speck guilty about writing on the tops with a Sharpie. Now if I could just figure out what to use as a spice rack...

One of my friends solved a similar problem - moved into a small condo with a tiny kitchen - which did have a small "broom" closet which she has converted to a pantry.

There was no place away from the stove or from light to store the spices and herbs so she hung four of THESE inside the door of the pantry.

The door was too narrow for one of the wire racks made for that.

The pockets won't fit large jars but for the standard spice bottles, or tins, they work just fine.

She has the spices grouped by use so when she is going to be baking cookies, she hangs the organizer that holds cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc. from the cabinet knob over her prep counter. She says they are cheap enough that if they get a bit grungy, she uses them for something else.

She had one hanging on her deck with some herb seedlings - punched drain holes in the bottom part of each pocket, filled them with potting soil and inserted seeds. The basil and parsley were doing quite well and were ready to transplant to a pot.

Some people just have the best ideas.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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

 

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Cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls are perfect for storing spring loaded tongs that always seem to pop open in the drawer.

. . .

And the heavier tubes from foil and plastic wrap make great support/separators for baguettes when proofing them in a couche. Wish I could remember who to credit for this great tip.

Anna N, that would be Catherine Iino, in post 44, in this thread. Just happened to go back to read, and noticed that.

Thanks! I hate not giving credit where it is due.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I just inadvertently set my mixing bowl on top of a dinner plate sized paper plate that was going to be re-purposed for a mise en place platter. I do not have a mixer here and was making chocolate chip cookies "by hand". I usually set the bowl on a kitchen towel. At first I could not figure out why this was mixing so easily and that the bowl was turning so well. The paper plate allowed the bowl to spin freely as I maneuvered it. I will be doing this intentionally next time. Plus the paper plate is still viable for another use.

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