Tasty Thursday: Unusual Uses for Everyday Food

May 3, 2012 by

 

A friend of mine passed along this article for unusual uses for everyday food items and I thought it would be fun to share with you all.  The article itself is a roundup of the site’s “20 Unusual Uses” series, and you can click through to find all twenty uses of each of the nine pantry items, but I’m listing a few of my favorite ideas here:

Coffee

  • Ant repellant—Both the grounds and brewed coffee could send the picnic pests packing (same goes for keeping cats out of your garden, who knew?).
  • Exfoliant—Coffee grounds can be used to scrub everything, not just your skin; countertops, floors, you name it.  But, there’s an added bonus for using it on you skin—the caffeine can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Wine

  • Skin improver—The same antioxidants that make red wind good for your body are also good for your skin.
  • Glass cleaner—Wine that has gone bad (does wine last that long in your house? Not mine!) starts to turn to vinegar, which makes an excellent glass cleaner when diluted with water.

Baking Soda

  • Oven cleaner—Last week, if it was going to drip and spill in my oven, it did.  I could really use this!  Dump a liberal amount of baking soda on the blackened bottom bits, spray with water, and leave it for a few hours (the best part!).  Later, wash it all way with vinegar.
  • Sooth insect bites and stings—Treat yourself to a baking soda bath, relax, and enjoy!

Salt

  • Test egg freshness—Float an egg in a mixture of two teaspoons salt and one cup water.  If it floats, it’s fresh; if it sinks, toss it.
  • Fight frost on windows—Wash windows inside and out in salty water, then rub dry.  It will keep frost from accumulating on your house or car windows.

Honey

  • Get rid of a hangover—Honey, high in fructose (one of the “good for you” sugars), helps speed up the metabolism of alcohol.  Have some honey in your breakfast and get on with your day!
  • Get an energy boost—Along the same lines, honey boosts metabolism in general for your body.  Eaten alone or added to a number of foods, honey is an accessible pick-me-up.

Garlic

  • Relieve acne—The antibacterial properties of garlic alleviate even those painful, deep-down zits.
  • Splinter removal—A thin slice of garlic held to the skin with a bandage will help splinters work their way to the surface within hours.

Lemon Juice

  • Deodorant—The citric acid in lemon juice can kill odor-causing bacteria, simply by rubbing a sliced lemon on the offending area.  Lemon juice acts as a deodorizer in household products, why not on your body?
  • Metal polish—Borrow the old waitress trick for soaking coffee pots.  Dip a sliced lemon in salt, then rub over stainless steel and copper to make them shine.

Olive Oil

  • Ear ache relief—Warm a bottle of olive oil, just as you would a baby bottle, in a bowl of warm water, and then drip the oil in your sore ear.  Apparently, an infusion of crushed garlic and olive oil will help clear up an ear infection, too.
  • Lice treatment—The smell of the lice shampoo is almost worse than the lice themselves.  Treat lice naturally with a liberal coating of olive oil, followed up later by apple cider vinegar.  Sounds easy enough!

Vinegar

  • Weed killer—Household vinegar works just fine, although horticulture versions do exist.
  • Unclogs drains—This works, I’ve done it before!  Pour approximately ¾ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup white vinegar.  Thirty minutes later, flush with boiling water.  The drain will be free of clogs and any nasty odors!
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Gena Golas

First-time mom Gena loves balancing caring for her sweet Baby Boy with her job in the education department of a culinary school. Gena is a trained pastry chef and earned an MBA from Simmons College. When not working, Gena enjoys renovating her new house with her hubby, dreaming about owning her own business, and drinking large amounts of coffee. She and her family live happily ever after in Wethersfield.

8 Comments

  1. Andretta

    Great tips! One thing I must say though, is that I used to be a farmer where there were free range chickens… so we found eggs EVERYWHERE. The way to test if they are fresh IS to put them in water… but if they float it means they have air in them, and they are old and bad. If they sink they are fresh. I don’t know if salt in the example in the post changes this? But in my experience, a floating egg gets tossed!

  2. ScienceMomArlene

    Great post. Always looking for eco/at home ideas.
    Another good use for those coffee grounds that people might find interesting is:

    1) Sprinkle wet coffee grounds over the ashes from a fireplace to keep from becoming engulfed in the plume of dust ashes create when you need to remove them.
    2) Food for your Hydrangea; specially the blue and purple ones.

  3. Kate Street

    I am KEEPING this blog post! Thank you, Sister!

  4. Andretta

    I once read that eggs you buy at the grocery store were most likely laid 2 to 3 months earlier! I think their “lifespan” depends on the way they are kept. My husband is a submariner and they can be deployed for 6 months at a time… he said that near the end of their time at sea, you have to search hard to find eggs in their supply that are not completely rotten.

  5. Dena

    Great post Gena! I have used coffee as an exfoliator on my face and absolutely love it!

  6. joyofmotherhood

    Love it! – I wanted to stop reading and Jump up and grab the coffee grinds in the coffee machine (mind you Im at work) and rub all over my belly – for fighting cellulite! I resisted the urge! :)

    Great tips thank you.

  7. Daisy

    I tried spraying vinegar on the weeds. It did not work and I used a whole bottle of it. ANy more suggestions?

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