20 Nearly Forgotten Kitchen Secrets from the Past
Grandma knows all the best kitchen tips and tricks to save you time, money and effort. You'll want to stock up on ketchup and molasses.
Clean Up With Condiments
Reader S.N. Downs says, “Ketchup does a great job of polishing copper cookware. Just rub a small amount on the bottom of discolored pots or pans, let stand for a few minutes, rub again and rinse.” Here are more unexpected ways to clean up with ketchup.
Stretch Pricey Maple Syrup
Reader Edna Hoffman advises stretching maple syrup by adding 1 cup applesauce to 1 cup syrup. “Heated, it makes a delicious topping for pancakes and waffles.” Love genius kitchen hacks? Grab a copy of Taste of Home Kitchen Hacks ($12). It includes 100 hints, tricks and timesavers—plus recipes to go with them.
Use Your Common Cents
Is your kitchen scale accurate? Reader Karen Ann Bland says there’s an easy way to tell. “Place nine pennies on the scale. They should weigh exactly one ounce.” Learn why a kitchen scale is a game-changer in your kitchen.
A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Keep That Berry Basket
Reader Ethel Williams says a quart-sized berry basket makes a good egg keeper. “It holds about a dozen eggs and takes up little refrigerator space.” These genius organization tips will transform your refrigerator.
Stop Drips in Their Tracks
Add milk to your coffee without making a mess. Reader Bertha Mueller says, “Rub a small amount of butter on the lip of your creamer, and you’ll have no more drips on the tablecloth.” And, yes, it is possible to make your own flavored coffee creamer at home.
Give Fabric a Second Chance
Don’t throw away your worn tablecloths. Instead, reader Helen LaMance says you can make a variety of dish towels and napkins from them. Here’s how to upcycle Grandma’s vintage napkins.
Make a Money-Saving Swap
Save money without sacrificing flavor. Reader Mary Jane Swanner says, “For an economical substitute to chopped nuts in cookie recipes, use quick-cooking oats browned in a bit of butter.”
Keep Apples Looking Fresh
To prevent browning when working with peeled apples, Bernetta Rokusek recommends slicing them into water with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice added. By the way, this is the only apple pie recipe you will ever need.
Bake Perfectly Portioned Muffins
Reader Teresa Graham has a smart breakfast tip. She says, “Use a turkey baster to fill muffin cups all the same size—and to make no-drip hotcakes.” Discover more genius ways to use a muffin tin.
Ripen Tomatoes in a Rush
Tired of waiting for your green tomatoes to turn red? Reader Anne Schofield says, “Place unripened tomatoes with other fruit, especially pears, to speed up ripening.” Pro tip: Tomatoes are just one of the 13 foods you’re likely storing incorrectly.
Give Brownies a Flavor Boost
Take your brownies from simple to scrumptious. Reader Marcy Wright says, “Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar for a rich caramel flavor in brownies.” Do you know the difference between light and dark brown sugar?
Boil Potatoes Before Baking
To bake potatoes quickly, reader Maxine Martin says, “Boil them in salted water for 10 minutes, and then put them into the oven. The boiling water will heat the potatoes more rapidly than if they were placed into the cold oven.” This is how to make baked potatoes in your slow cooker.
Repurpose Your Decorating Tools
A cake frosting bag and decorating tip are not just for birthday cakes. Reader Dawn Lofthus says, “They also work great for filling deviled eggs. It’s decorative and fast.” Check out the secret trick for the best-ever deviled eggs.
Just Add Cocoa
More chocolate is always a good idea. Reader Lois Hill says, “When making chocolate cake, use cocoa instead of flour to coat your cake pan. This will keep the cake from having that white-flour dust on it when you remove it from the pan.” This secret to making perfect chocolate cake may surprise you.
Toast and Shout
Need bread crumbs fast? Reader Dawn Leedy says, “Put two slices of bread in the toaster, transfer them to a sandwich bag, and then crush them with a soup can or rolling pin.” Is it safe to wash and reuse zip-top bags?
Use a Make-Shift Cookie Cutter
If your cookie cutters aren’t handy, don’t hang up your apron. Reader Dorothy Blessing says, “A small can of corn or a water glass makes perfectly round cookies.” Don’t miss these fun and clever ways to repurpose your cookie cutter shapes.
Mix in Molasses
A short stack won’t be nearly enough if you follow reader LaFlorya Gauthier’s advice. She says, “Pancakes will brown just beautifully if you add 1 tablespoon of molasses to the batter.” Don’t make these common pancake mistakes.
Thicken Sauces in an Instant
Need a little thickening for gravy? Reader Fay Meredith says, “I keep a container of instant potato flakes handy, adding a small amount to obtain the right consistency. They’re great, too, for thickening chowders, soups and stews.” You should always stock these items in your kitchen.
Add a Naturally Fresh Scent
After squeezing an orange, lemon or grapefruit for fresh juice, reader Mildred Everett advises, “Turn the rind inside out and rub the pulp over the sink. Then put small pieces in the disposal while running some water down the drain. This cleans the sink and creates a nice fresh smell.” Yes, you can clean your kitchen without chemicals!
Take a Slice of Advice
This helpful tip for dinner preparation comes from reader Katie Koziolek. She says, “Freeze raw beef just until firm, about an hour, to make it easier to slice for stir-fries and stroganoff.” Read up on more brilliant tips we learned from Grandma.
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