Kitchen Tips from Past Generations

Top 13 Old School Tricks in the Kitchen

Somehow or another, our generation has lost the art of frugality and prefers to live a life of convenience. Maybe it is because we haven’t had to live through World War’s and The Great Depression. Maybe it is because convenience has become so inexpensive. Whatever the reason, it seems to be prevalent.

However, when it comes to the kitchen, there are so many wonderful, old school ways of doing things. They make sense, save time and money and are sometimes fun conversation starters. Here are a few of our favorites we have extracted from grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles.

1 – Save your butter wrappers – Memaw (Melissa’s mother-in-law) always has a few butter wrappers nicely folded in the fridge butter drawer. Everytime she opens a new stick of butter, she saves the wrapper. These can be used later to butter a pan for baking. This means no more butter all over your fingers and no more having your stick of butter being smushed and ugly from rubbing it around the pan.

2 – Store your plastic wrap in the freezer – this keeps it from sticking to itself and becoming a tangled mess!

3 – Keep some ‘sprinkle’ flour in your freezer – this is a quick way to save your messed up sauce if it is too thin (runny) even after you made a roux. Just sprinkle a bit of this cold flour in and it will help thicken without making lumps.

4 – Use Clothes Pins for baggie clips these are super cheap and easy to find. We keep a stash in the drawer for any and all bags.

5 – Save plastic bags (ziploc, bread, etc) – saving any and all plastic bags from products that you finish like bread (non-meat or other contaminated plastic bags) is just a great way to save a dime and save the planet.

6 – Save plastic and glass jars (camping, grease, etc) – whatever you finish that was in a plastic or glass jar – save it. We throw ours in the dishwasher and save until needed. Sometimes, we use just to throw away grease/oil from frying/sauteeing. Memaw will use medium sized plastic jars to tote beverages like OJ or Milk when on a road trip instead of bringing the full gallon container. So many uses from the tool shed to the kitchen to the play room.

7 – Put your stinky garbage in freezer, really! – whether you live like Memaw out in the country where you haul your own garbage to the dump or you live in the city with a once a week pickup, you will have garbage that will make a stink of your trash can while you wait for it to get hauled away. It might seem weird, but Memaw puts this in an old plastic bag and sticks it in the freezer. This stops the smell from getting out of hand until it is time for this to get dealt with properly.

8 – Use old, mismatched saucers as spoon rests – Memaw always has 3-4 nested on top of each other on top of her stove.  It’s a great place to rest a spoon and when the meal is done, just put the one on top in the dishwasher and there is always another ready to go for the next meal.

9 – When freezing lasagna (or anything with tomato sauce), wrap it in plastic wrap BEFORE you wrap it in aluminum foil.

10 – To help prevent freezer burn, double bag everything. This is not wasteful, really. The exterior bag can be reused if it remains clean.

11 – Buttermilk Substitute – Have a recipe that calls for buttermilk but you don’t have any? Make your own using milk and vinegar. For every cup of buttermilk needed, use 1 cup of milk and 1T of white vinegar. Let it sit there for a few minutes, and you’ve got an excellent buttermilk impersonator.

12 – Cook something that left a stink in the kitchen? – Open a container of ammonia and let it stay open for a bit. It evaporates so quickly that it will infuse the the air with a better smell in no time.

13 – Place unripened fruit in a paper bag to ripen it faster. Why, do you ask? Elementary my dear Watson, the bag traps the ehtlyene gas the fruit emits as it ripens naturally thus speeding up the process. (Remember, one of went to Tech!)

For more great kitchen tips, visit our Tips and Tricks and How To’s pages.

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