Thursday, November 11, 2010
Baking Soda Uses in the Kitchen
You can't be too careful when it comes to food handling and preparation. Wash fruits and vegetables in a pot of cold water with 2-3 tablespoons baking soda; the baking soda will remove some of the impurities tap water leaves behind. Or put a small amount of baking soda on a wet sponge or vegetable brush and scrub your produce. Give everything a thorough rinsing before serving.
Got a tough cut of meat on your hands? Soften it up by giving it a rubdown in baking soda. Let it sit (in the refrigerator, of course) for three to five hours, then rinse it off well before cooking.
Soak out fish smells
Get rid of that fishy smell from your store-bought flounder filets and fish steaks by soaking the raw fish for about an hour (inside your refrigerator) in 1 quart (1 liter) water with 2 tablespoons baking soda. Rinse the fish well and pat dry before cooking.
Reduce acids in recipes
If you or someone in your family is sensitive to the high-acid content of tomato-based sauces or coffee, you can lower the overall acidity by sprinkling in a pinch of baking soda while cooking (or, in the case of coffee, before brewing). A bit of baking soda can also counteract the taste of vinegar if you happen to pour in a bit too much. Be careful not to overdo it with the soda, though -- if you add too much, the vinegar-baking soda combination will start foaming.
Bake better beans
Do you love baked beans but not their aftereffects? Adding a pinch of baking soda to baked beans as they're cooking will significantly reduce their gas-producing properties.
Fluff up your omelets
Want to know the secret to making fluffier omelets? For every three eggs used, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Shhhh! Don't let it get around.
Use as yeast substitute
Need a stand-in for yeast when making dough? If you have some powdered vitamin C (or citric acid) and baking soda on hand, you can use a mixture of the two instead. Just mix in equal parts to equal the quantity of yeast required. What's more, the dough you add it to won't have to rise before baking.
Rid hands of food odorsChopping garlic or cleaning a fish can leave their "essence" on your fingers long after the chore is done. Get those nasty food smells off your hands by simply wetting them and vigorously rubbing with about 2 teaspoons baking soda instead of soap. The smell should wash off with the soda.
Clean baby bottles and accessories
Here's some great advice for new parents: Keep all your baby bottles, nipples, caps, and brushes "baby fresh" by soaking them overnight in a container filled with hot water and half a box of baking soda. Be sure to give everything a good rinsing afterward, and to dry thoroughly before using. Baby bottles can also be boiled in a full pot of water and 3 tablespoons baking soda for three minutes.
Clean a cutting board
Keep your wooden or plastic cutting board clean by occasionally scrubbing it with a paste made from 1 tablespoon each baking soda, salt, and water. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.
Clear a clogged drain
Most kitchen drains can be unclogged by pouring in 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup hot vinegar (simply heat it up in the microwave for 1 minute). Give it several minutes to work, then add 1 quart (1 liter) boiling water. Repeat if necessary. If you know your drain is clogged with grease, use 1/2 cup each of baking soda and salt followed by 1 cup boiling water. Let the mixture work overnight; then rinse with hot tap water in the morning.
Boost potency of dishwashing liquid
Looking for a more powerful dishwashing liquid? Try adding 2 tablespoons baking soda to the usual amount of liquid you use, and watch it cut through grease like a hot knife!
Make your own dishwashing detergent
The dishwasher is fully loaded when you discover that you're out of your usual powdered dishwashing detergent. What do you do? Make your own: Combine 2 tablespoons baking soda with 2 tablespoons borax. You may be so pleased with the results you'll switch for good.
Deodorize your dishwasher
Eliminate odors inside your automatic dishwasher by sprinkling 1/2 cup baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher between loads. Or pour in half a box of baking soda and run the empty machine through its rinse cycle.
Clean your refrigerator
To get rid of smells and dried-up spills inside your refrigerator, remove the contents, then sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the sides, shelves, and compartments. Rinse with a clean, wet sponge. Don't forget to place a fresh box of soda inside when you're done.
Clean your microwave
To clean those splatters off the inside of your microwave, put a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda in 1 cup water in a microwave-safe container and cook on High for 2-3 minutes. Remove the container, then wipe down the microwave's moist interior with a damp paper towel.
Remove coffee and tea stains from china
Don't let those annoying coffee and/or tea stains on your good china spoil another special occasion. Remove them by dip-ping a moist cloth in baking soda to form a stiff paste and gently rubbing your cups and saucers. Rinse clean and dry, then set your table with pride.
Clean a thermos
To remove residue on the inside of a thermos, mix 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Fill the thermos with the solution -- if necessary, give it a going-over with a bottle brush to loosen things up -- and let it soak overnight. Rinse clean before using.
Freshen a sponge or towel
When a kitchen sponge or dish towel gets that distinctly sour smell, soak it overnight in 2 tablespoons baking soda and a couple of drops of antibacterial dish soap dissolved in 1 pint (450 milliliters) warm water. The following morning, squeeze out the remaining solution and rinse with cold water. It should smell as good as new.
Remove stains and scratches on countertops
Is your kitchen countertop covered with stains or small knife cuts? Use a paste of 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water to "rub out" most of them. For stubborn stains, add a drop of chlorine bleach to the paste. Immediately wash the area with hot, soapy water to pre-vent the bleach from causing fading.
Shine up stainless steel and chrome trim
To put the shine back in your stainless steel sink, sprinkle it with baking soda, then give it a rubdown -- moving in the direction of the grain -- with a moist cloth. To polish dull chrome trim on your appliances, pour a little baking soda onto a damp sponge and rub over the chrome. Let it dry for an hour or so, then wipe down with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.
Get rid of grease stains on stovetops
Say good-bye to cooked-on grease stains on your stovetop or backsplash. First wet them with a little water and cover them with a bit of baking soda. Then rub them off with a damp sponge or towel.
Clean an automatic coffeemaker
Properly caring for your automatic coffeemaker means never having to worry about bitter or weak coffee. Every two weeks or so, brew a pot of 1 quart (1 liter) water mixed with 1/4 cup baking soda, followed by a pot of clean water. Also, sweeten your coffeemaker's plastic basket by using an old toothbrush to give it an occasional scrubbing with a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon water. Rinse thoroughly with cold water when done.
Care for your coffeepots and teapots
Remove mineral deposits in metal coffeepots and teapots by filling them with a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 4 tablespoons baking soda. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let simmer for five minutes. Or try boiling 5 cups water with 2 tablespoons soda and the juice of half a lemon. Rinse with cold water when done. To get off annoying exterior stains, wash your pots with a plastic scouring pad in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart (1 liter) warm water. Follow up with a cold-water rinse.
Remove stains from nonstick cookware
It may be called nonstick cookware, but a few of those stains seem to be stuck on pretty well. Blast them away by boiling 1 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar for 10 minutes. Then wash in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and let dry, then season with a bit of salad oil.
Clean cast-iron cookware
Although it's more prone to stains and rust than the nonstick variety, many folks swear by their iron cookware. You can remove even the toughest burned-on food remnants in your iron pots by boiling 1 quart (1 liter) water with 2 tablespoons baking soda for five minutes. Pour off most of the liquid, then lightly scrub it with a plastic scrub pad. Rinse well, dry, and season with a few drops of peanut oil.
Clean burned or scorched pots and pans
It usually takes heavy-duty scrubbing to get scorched-on food off the bottom of a pot or pan. But you can make life much easier for yourself by simply boiling a few cups of water (enough to get the pan about 1/4 full) and adding 5 tablespoons baking soda. Turn off the heat, and let the soda settle in for a few hours or overnight. When you're ready, that burned-on gunk will practically slip right off.
Deodorize your garbage pail
Does something smell "off" in your kitchen? Most likely, it's emanating from your trash can. But some smells linger even after you dispose of the offending garbage bag. So, be sure to give your kitchen garbage pail an occasional cleaning with a wet paper towel dipped in baking soda (you may want to wear rubber gloves for this). Rinse it out with a damp sponge, and let it dry before inserting a new bag. You can also ward off stinky surprises by sprinkling a little baking soda into the bottom of your pail before inserting the bag.