Helpful Kitchen Alternatives
My Collection of Alternatives
I have collected a number of helpful alternatives to save money and the environment. Some of these things have been around for years and some of them I have only recently discovered. Try some of these alternatives for yourself and see.
Instead of dryer sheets, try a lightly crumpled up square of aluminum foil. Cheaper and reusable. Believe it or not, it really works.
Foil and VinegarClick thumbnail to view full-size
To keep cut flowers fresh longer doing buy the expensive fresh packets. Instead, mix 2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups warm water
Pour this into the water for cut flowers to keep the blooms fresh longer.
Vinegar is also a good cleanser and sanitizer. Mix equal portions of vinegar, water, and peroxide to clean the bathroom.
I understand vinegar has tons of benefits. For sunburn, for instance. Soak a cloth in vinegar and place it on the sunburn. It will remove the sting and the burning. Believe me. Some say apple cider vinegar, some say white vinegar. Either seems to work fine. It will also prevent blistering if blisters have not already formed.
Azaleas love a little acidic soil. Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to a quart of water to pour on azalea roots.
Wash pots out with vinegar before repotting plants. It kills unwanted molds and neutralizes excess lime.
Ecology and Economy
Do you like using ecological and economic organic alternatives?
Fresh mint or pennyroyal works wonders to ward off fleas. We had plenty of cats and dogs around the house and sometimes fleas would get into the house and carpet. I would sew a casing of fabric and stuff it with fresh or dried pennyroyal and tie the casing around the neck of the cats and dogs. This kind of protection does not kill fleas it only annoys them so they jump off the animals and don’t come into the house. This is especially good for kittens who cannot wear the harsh manufactured flea collars until they are 6 months old or more. Refresh the mint in the fabric casing every couple of months throughout the summer to keep the fleas at bay.
Cilantro and Basil; a 3-inch stem can be rooted in water. Place them in a window that doesn't get direct scorching sunlight. When the roots reach several inches, transfer into a small pot with potting soil for continued availability.
One garlic clove tossed into a shallow cup of water will root. When the roots get to be 2 to 3 inches long put the garlic into potting soil. You can cut and cook with the tips of the leaves for a very mild garlic flavor or use them as a garnish.
A few drops of olive oil on a cotton ball can be used to remove eye make-up safely; fix a stubborn zipper; silence a squeaky hinge.
Coconut oil can be used as an alternative to expensive eczema creams. I use this and it makes my eczema behave and keeps it from flaring up.
Coconut oil mixed with baking soda can be used as a deodorant.
Crumple newspapers in travel bags to remove stale musty odors. Change the paper every few days until the odor is gone. This works for shoes as well. My mother always swore by keeping crumpled up newspaper in her shoes in the closet.
In a pinch, cornstarch can be used as a deodorant. It absorbs excess moisture and smell. Plus it is very soft on the skin. These days it is often sold as a baby powder with a little scent added.
My husband appreciates lemon squeezed into his iced tea. This leaves me with lemon rinds that usually go into the trash. However, a couple of lemon slices every week of so tossed down the garbage disposal keeps it smelling fresh. Just drop the lemon rind or two into the garbage disposal and turn it on with the water running. Fresh as a daisy. I sometimes keep a stash of lemon rinds in the freezer for just such a weekly refresh.
Ever need buttermilk for a recipe or fresh butter quick? If you have some whipping cream, then you have all you need to get fresh butter and buttermilk both. Simply put a cup or two into a quart jar with a lid. Put something clean in the cream that will add to the stirring like a wooden clothespin. Shake the jar for about 15 minutes until you can see the butter separates from the buttermilk. Remove the clothespin and spoon out the butter. It is good to add a little salt and refrigerate as soon as possible. Voila. Fresh butter just like in pioneer days. The milk left over is pure buttermilk.
If you have no cream to do this and you need buttermilk for a recipe, just measure out the milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk. Stir and let stand a few minutes.
Problems with Cockroaches
I found that the noxious roach sprays drove me out of the house more often than the roaches. Finally, my grandfather told me about boric acid powder. He said they used to use it when he was a boy to keep the roaches out of the house. It has no smell and is safe to get on your hands. My mother said it was what they used to clean the sleep out of baby’s eyes and cradle cap from their heads. It is, however, poisonous so it should not be ingested.
What happens is that the roaches walk in it and track it back inside the walls to their families, who lick it off their feet, where they all die inside the walls. It is safe to put around cracks on counters and in cabinets but not inside things that will be eaten. It really works.
It is quite annoying to be in the middle of baking something only to find you are out of eggs. A workable substitute for eggs is 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise per egg. Certainly you cannot fry it like an egg but for emergencies for a cake batter or cookie batter, it works fine.
For the vegan, I have found that a good substitute for an egg is 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and it becomes thick and slimy just like an egg. Certainly, you will not be frying this substitute either but it works well in bread recipes and other caky ones as well.
Keep Bananas Fresh Longer
Wrap plastic bag or plastic wrap around the stem. The stem gives off ethylene gas, which causes it to ripen. If you wrap plastic tightly around just the stem it will impede the giving off of gas and keep the fruit from blackening for about 4 to 5 days longer.
Problems with Gophers
Here in California, we have some pretty aggressive gopher problems, digging up the lawns and even eating gardens from the bottom up. I stepped into the garden one day to find just the stalks of the garlic left because the gophers had eaten the cloves beneath them right up to the leaves.
The gopher poison they sell is not that safe around animals like dogs and cats, it’s terribly expensive, plus there is no guarantee the gophers will actually eat it. Much better than gopher poison is chewing gum. Yes, chewing gum. Fruit flavored is liked best by the gophers. Unwrap a couple of sticks of gum and put them down one of the gopher runs; cover it up and wait. Within days you will notice no more activity from the gopher. That is because they love the stuff but cannot digest it and apparently their digestive system locks up and they die in their gopher run. It seems cruel but it does solve the problem without poison. No need to dispose of the bodies. They are already buried.
I’m not sure what this says about chewing gum except that I don’t like the idea of swallowing gum. Apparently, all rodents have a problem digesting gum.