Kitchen Tricks, Tips and Remedies


I totally love kitchen tricks. Especially the long lost, old school type.  Of course I  have to share them with everyone here.

Feel free to share your own tips!

Alphabetical order

B

Bee Sting ♥

Corn starch and water are the BEST cure. Tried, true and tested on numerous occasions, it has gone unrivaled and surpassed any other remedy I have tried or bought over the counter. I don’t remember where I learned this, but back in the day when I worked with kids I used it with great success. Crying children would be back on the playground in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a tiny red dot. Basically the cornstarch sucks the poison out of the sting.

All you need is Corn Starch and tap water. Note CORN and not potato or any other starch. Corn starch reacts to water differently creating a special type of viscosity.

In a cup or whatever receptacle you have available slowly add water to approx. 2 TBS corn starch. The consistency is key. You don’t want it to be too watery and run off the sting and you don’t want it too dry so it crumbles off. A firm polstice shoud form around the area.

When you poke the mixture with your finger it should initially feel hard on the surface then slowly relax so that your finger sinks in. Trickle a good amount on the sting, so it forms a thick paste, and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. When you remove it the swelling should be gone along with the pain.

Smaller kids can rebel against the idea of having some strange white paste put on their sting.  They oftne keep crying even after the pain has actually subsided. It’s once they see the result that they calm down, wipe their tears and run back to play.

I always kept a baggy of cornstarch and a bottle of water with me on the playground or out in nature.

Of course if there is a history of bee sting allergy this is not the cure!

Black Pepper

Ground black pepper works really well on cuts. It stops the bleeding without any sting.

Clean your cut. Then apply a layer of ground pepper to the cut, preferably freshly ground, and leave it for a few minutes or wrap in a band aid. Depending on how deep the cut the bleeding should stop shortly. The bonus is there is no sting either. You might however feel the rough edges a bit.  It also works as a disinfectant.

Bottled Milk and Bedtime

Not a good combination. A lot of people don’t know this and unintentionally cause their children a lot of suffering; the wall between the ear and the mouth is not completely developed at birth.  It takes several years until it is completely developed. This means what goes in the mouth can easily leak into the ear canal, in particular in the laying position. Giving your child a bottle with milk or juice when they go to bed significantly increases the frequency of two things ear infections and tooth decay.

I know that parents say but they get so upset if they don’t get the bottle and won’t sleep. This is a habit and like all unhealthy habits can and should be broken. If you put it into perspective weening your child off the nighttime bottle will save you a lot of wakeless nights dealing with an ear infection or costly dental bills. It is inyour best interest as well. So, grin and bare it. You will be up a lot more nights with ear infections than the 2-3 nights it will take you to teach your child to go to bed without a bottle. 

Ear Infection

As the baby lays with the bottle in it’s mouth the liquid leaks into the ear canal and gets stuck there. Thus the milk, juice begins to rot and ferment causing, guess what, ear infections which are very painful for you and your child.

If your child does get an ear infection you can help relieve the painby  having them lay the infected ear on a warm surface a warm wash cloth,  a carefully monitored heating pad on very low heat or wheat pillow.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay for obvious reasons. The health of a child’s baby teeth will have a direct influence on their adult teeth. So, if you want to avoid a child in pain and future dental bills skip the bedtime bottle.

Burnt Pan Bottom

Miracles do happen. This works more often than not and is a very quick and pain free way of getting the burned mess on the bottom of your pan to disappear. I found this in one of my Swedish 1950’s house wife books.

All you need is a handful of sugar cubes.

Basically lightly moisten the bottom of the pan with water then take a sugar cube and rub it over the burned area. There is something with the chemistry of sugar and its abrasive qualities that lifts the burned material away. AND it does it without scratching your pans. You can use lose sugar, but it works less effectively.

If you really have cremated the bottom of your pan then you might have to do it several times. You might even need to soak the pan with a layer of sugar to break the layer.

C

COOKIESkeeping fresh

I think most people know this, but I am going to say it anyway. You can keep your cookies fresh and soft by adding a bread slice to the jar. The cookies will suck the moisture out of the bread. Replace the bread slice as needed.

Cheese

Goat Cheese-Cutting

Cutting Goat cheese with a knife is a hassle. Instead use an arms length of dental floss or a thin wire thread. Wrap it around the goat cheese so the thread crosses itself and then keep pulling until you cut through the cheese.  This makes it really easy to make thin, even, clean slices.

You can even attach the ends of the wire to pieces of wood for ex. or similar to make handles thus less irritating to the fingers.

Grating cheese not your fingers.

You don’t sew? Well those thimbles will come in handy here. One on the thumb and one on your pointer finger and you will not get the skin grated off.

F

Fruit Flies

Take a piece of fruit, it can be a slice or a the left over pit with a bit of meat left on it and put it in the bottom of a tea cup. Fill the tea cup with water leaving a bit of the fruit peaking out from the surface for the flies ot land on. Add 1 drop of dish soap to break the surface resistance. Then add some extra sugar to attract the flies.  You have just provided these annoying gnats with fruit fly paradise, sweet fruit swimming in a bath of sweet liquid which unbeknownst to them will send them to a liquidy death.

Give it a couple days and you will find all those pesky fruit flies, that were making quick work of your fruit bowl, are now floating peacefully in heaven. All you have to do know is pour it out and start over with a new batch of death syrup.

H

Honey

Children

Honey should not be given to children under 3 years old. It has slight traces of botulism that small children are unable to handle.

Uses

Honey is a good substitute for sugar when baking. It’s more natural than processed cane sugar thus better for you. You can basically use equal amounts of honey as is required of sugar. I also use it to sweeten red pasta sauces.

R

Rolling Pin

Wondering why you can’t get your new rolling pin to work?

The key to a good bread roller is not washing it with soap, just lightly wipe it down with a wet cloth. The fat is the key to a non-stick rolling pin. Thus, if you have a new rolling pen oil it in with a light layer of cooking oil.

S

Stinging Nettles

Hate those stinging nettles? Well here is your revenge. Eat those suckers. Stinging Nettles are filled with all manner of nutrients superior to spinach.  For ex. freeze dried nettles are well documented for being superior at relieving allergy symptoms than prescription drugs. However, it must be freeze dried. Something in the process brings out the healing properties.

Nettles are really yummy and are a great substitute for spinach. I use it in all manner of recipes.

Preparing for consumption

After putting on my kitchen gloves (don’t want to get stung)  I collecting my nettles from the surrounding area, focusing on the young plants that preferably aren’t sprouting on a dog path. (You know why.)

All you have to do now is blanch them for about 30 seconds. (blanch=boil) The blanching neutralizes their poison. Remove the leaves from the stems. The leaves are now ready to be used in soup, omelets, stir fry… use your imagination. They have a nice gentle flavor.

The Sting

If you get stung and there is no mug-wort to be found growing near it. Then pour undiluted vinegar over the affected area as soon as possible.

Mug-wort is the natural antidote to stinging nettles. You just rub a leaf over the stung area.

W

Weevils aka mjöl bagare in Sweden.

Flours, grains, even rice are accompanied by tiny little eggs that, with the right conditions, will hatch into larvae. Left long enough they will turn into full blown beetle backed creatures with legs and antennae. Sometimes you see it right away, sometimes you don’t notice until your pie crust starts to crawl away motored by the squirming little worms. Yikes!

The solution is very, very simple. Freeze the eggs to death. I put all newly bought packages of flour, grains, and rice in the freezer over night. It kills the eggs without harming your product. Problem solved.