Sunday, June 20, 2010

Frugal cooking tips I thought everybody knew

But maybe they don't.

To get the most juice from a lemon, heat it first, then roll it on the counter with a little pressure from the palm of your hand. Cut it over a bowl because juice will squirt as soon as you make the first cut.

Make gravy from pan drippings to keep from wasting them. Add thickener in the form of flour, corn starch or arrowroot, then add liquid in the form of milk, water or potato water.

To add flour to a hot dish or pan, put it in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Add enough cold water to cover, then shake hard. Don't use hot water as it will clump.

When a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, measure it out then take out a generous tablespoon and put it back. The recipe will be just as good and you'll save a little sugar for next time.

When a milk carton is empty, put a couple of tablespoons of water in it, shake it around and pour out the last of the milk. Milk clings to the sides of the carton and a quick rinse will let you use all of it.

Use a dish pan to wash dishes in, and another one to rinse in. It will save you a lot of water and dish soap and does a better job than washing under a running stream of water.

Even if you have an ice maker in your refrigerator, keep a couple of ice cube trays on hand. Use them to freeze concentrated juice, or small amounts of sauces or gravies, or leftover juice, fruit drinks or soft drinks for a "popsicle" treat. Put a saved popsicle stick or short straw in it to use for a handle.

By way of measurement, a cube frozen in a regular ice cube tray is about two tablespoons.

If your garbage disposal smells foul, a dollop of vinegar of any kind will remedy that. More frugal: use leftover pickle "juice." It's diluted vinegar with spices.

Use that leftover pickle liquid to pickle your own cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, onions or whatever vegetables you have on hand, especially if they're getting old. Commercial pickle liquid can be used one more time before it loses it's strength, but no more. Your own homemade varies, so taste it to be sure it's acidic enough first.

That's enough for now, but by no means all the frugal kitchen tips there are. Share yours!


  1. We also put egg shells down the disposal, because they scrape the sides of some of the gunk that is making it smell foul! we then put citrus peels that we would be throwing away down it to give it a fresh scent!

  2. I've done both, Mark and Amy. Thanks for bringing it up!

  3. Here are a few I have used:
    Put a bit of lemon peel (keep the with pith to a minimum) in a refilled water bottle and it will cut the stale plastic or metal taste.

    I use citrus peels and baking soda or salt to scrub out the sink.

    And, for the citrus peels not used as above, I 'zest' them and let it dry. This can be used to perk up a dish in winter when real lemons/limes/etc are just too expensive. The peels still have lots of flavor.