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April 26, 2009

Different uses of vinegar

Make an all-purpose scrub for pots and pans
How would you like an effective scouring mix that costs a few pennies, and can be safely used on all of your metal cookware -- including expensive copper pots and pans? Want even better news? You probably already have this "miracle mix" in your kitchen. Simply combine equal parts salt and flour and add just enough vinegar to make a paste. Work the paste around the cooking surface and the outside of the utensil, then rinse off with warm water and dry thoroughly with a soft dish towel.

Sanitize jars, containers, and vases

Do you cringe at the thought of cleaning out a mayonnaise, peanut butter, or mustard jar to reuse it? Or worse, getting the residue out of a slimy vase, decanter, or container? There is an easy way to handle these jobs. Fill the item with equal parts vinegar and warm, soapy water and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. If you're cleaning a bottle or jar, close it up and give it a few good shakes; otherwise use a bottle brush to scrape off the remains before thoroughly rinsing.

Clean a dirty thermos

To get a thermos bottle clean, fill it with warm water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. If you see any residue, add some uncooked rice, which will act as an abrasive to scrape it off. Close and shake well. Then rinse and let it air-dry.

Purge bugs from your pantry

Do you have moths or other insects in your cupboard or pantry? Fill a small bowl with 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar and add a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent. Leave it in there for a week; it will attract the bugs, which will fall into the bowl and drown. Then empty the shelves, and give the interior a thorough washing with dishwashing detergent or 2 cups baking soda in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Discard all wheat products (breads, pasta, flour, and such), and clean off canned goods before putting them back.

Trap fruit flies
Did you bring home fruit flies from the market? You can make traps for them that can be used anywhere around your house by filling an old jar about halfway with apple cider. Punch a few holes in the lid, screw it back on, and you're good to go.

Tenderize and purify meats and seafood
Soaking a lean or inexpensive cut of red meat in a couple of cups of vinegar breaks down tough fibers to make it more tender-and in addition, kills off any potentially harmful bacteria. You can also use vinegar to tenderize seafood steaks. Let the meat or fish soak in full -- strength vinegar overnight. Experiment with different vinegar varieties for added flavor, or simply use apple cider or distilled vinegar if you intend to rinse it off before cooking.

Keep corned beef from shrinking

Ever notice how the corned beef that comes out of the pot is always smaller than the one that went in? Stop your meat from shrinking by adding a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the water when boiling your beef.

Make better boiled or poached eggs

Vinegar does marvelous things for eggs. Here are the two most useful "egg-samples":
  • When you are making hard-boiled eggs, adding 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar for every quart (liter) of water will keep the eggs from cracking and make them easier to shell.

  • When you are poaching eggs, adding a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the water will keep your eggs in tight shape by preventing the egg whites from spreading.

Wash store-bought produce
You can't be too careful these days when it comes to handling the foods you eat. Before serving your fruits and vegetables, a great way to eliminate the hidden dirt, pesticides, and even insects, is to rinse them in 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar dissolved in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) cold water.

Remove odors from your hands
It's often difficult to get strong onion, garlic, or fish odors off your hands after preparing a meal. But you'll find these scents are a lot easier to wash off if you rub some distilled vinegar on your hands before and after you slice your vegetables or clean your fish.

Get rid of berry stains
You can use undiluted white vinegar on your hands to remove stains from berries and other fruits.

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