Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pantry Potpourri: Sliced Bread

Pantry Potpourri:

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread? Sliced Bread!

You may have heard it said before that a new gadget or product is “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” As a self-proclaimed carboholic, I say, nothing is greater than sliced bread itself!  You may think of bread as simply a PB&J caddy, but rest assured this pantry staple is more than just a sandwich maker.  Bread is an inexpensive addition to any pantry and a miracle worker for solving many a household task.  Here are a few of my favorite uses for white bread:

Food Softener:

If you don’t own a brown sugar bear there’s no need to fret.  Your hard-as-a-rock brown sugar can again be as soft as the day you bought it. Put the brown sugar into an airtight container and place a fresh piece of white bread on top of the sugar.  Seal the container and leave for 1-2 days until soft.
This same principle applies to stale marshmallows.  Now, personally, I love stale marshmallows, but if you didn’t let your’s harden on purpose, add a piece of bread to a re-sealable plastic bag filled with hardened marshmallows and let it rest a few days.  Voilá! Newly fluffed mallows!

Fresh Protection:

Add 1-2 slices of white bread to your sealed cookie jar to extend shelf-life freshness for home-baked cookies.

Scorch Remover:

If you forgot to check the rice you made for dinner and now it smells scorched, don’t throw it out, just add white bread! While it’s still hot add a slice of white bread to the pot.  Put the lid back on and wait 10 minutes.  Remove the bread and the scorched odors/taste with it.

Odor Eraser:

Oh, I wish I had learned this as a child!  I would have snuck bread onto every pot of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussell sprouts when my mother wasn’t looking had I known that adding a piece of white bread to the top of the pot would absorb most vegetable odors. You can add this to the exterior lid or on top of steaming vegetables in the pot. Oh well, I guess I still would have had to eat it – so better to see it coming and mentally prepare myself to swallow them whole.

Oil Absorber:

Too much grease in the ground beef?  Too much grease smoke from the broiler?  White bread is an excellent oil and grease absorber.  Adding a piece of bread to the frying pan or a few slices to the drip pan decreases broiler smoke and removes excess pan grease.  As an added benefit, the less oil in your pan the less splatters and potential burns and the less chance of oven fires!  Remove and discard used bread after cooking.

Floor Cleaner:

If you’ve ever shattered a glass or ceramic dish on a tile kitchen floor you know it can be nearly impossible to sweep up every little shard.  The big pieces are easy to pick up, but it’s the razor thin and almost invisible needle-sharp pieces that remain ominously unseen. You may vacuum and sweep, but invariably someone will step on a stray fragment and get cut or you’ll end up getting poked by fragments in a sock in the dirty laundry. To clean this mess effectively, sweep the floor surface well and then use a vacuum handle attachment to suck up as much of the small remains as possible.  Then simply press a slice of white bread over the entire area and prepare to be amazed at how much glass you’ll still find. Fold used bread in half and discard carefully.

Bee Sting Extraction:

If you’ve been stung by a bee and the stinger won’t come out, apply a bread and milk poultice.  Briefly soak a piece of white bread in milk and then squeeze out any excess.  Apply to the sting site and wrap lightly in plastic wrap and a bandage.  It’s said the yeast in the bread will help draw the stinger out and the cool compress will help alleviate pain and swelling.

Bread may be the staff of life, but it can also be a real household lifesaver! It’s likely your cupboard is rarely without this pantry staple, but just in case, make sure it’s on your shopping list.  Remember, you can freeze bread from the grocery store for up to one month in its original packaging or up to 4 months in freezer quality plastic wrap/bags if all air has been removed.

1 comment:

  1. If you're gonna use a food saver to seal your bread, make sure you freeze it over night first, or you'll end up with squashed bread. :)


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