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Apr 22, 2007 04:17 PM

Useful ways to use food you don't like (or have too much of)

I discovered today that some people use tea to wash hardwood floors for a nice shine, and now I have plans for that tannic terribleness that's been in the cabinet a long time.

Today I also successfully mixed some olive oil with tarragon vinegar we've had around for ages, as a wood table treatment (smells better than white vinegar). Earlier today I put unused fresh rosemary in a jar of nasty citron vodka I wouldn't drink, to see if I can get a nicely-scented cleaning spray out of the deal within a few weeks (am likely to add lavender between now and then).

Any other ways you use up food items in a nonfoody way? (Besides charity and compost.)

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  1. I spray a mixture of vinegar and liquid soap on my outdoor herbs to keep bugs away.

    1. I love tea, which leads to lots of non-tea-lovers buying me bad tea.

      I use tea bags as a cold compress for my eyes when allergies flare up, for bad bug bites - the tannin cuts the itch - as filler in sachets for drawers (scented tea bags), as a scouring agent for cleaning vases (fill vase with cold water and contents of tea bag, stopper somehow, shake vigorously), as a teething soother (tea bag soaked and frozen, given to teething child to chew on), cheap charcoal adjuster (sprinkle tea bag over lit cheap charcoal to help combat cheap charcoal taste in grilled food), and fridge deodorant (put tea bags in fridge. doesn't work as well as coffee grounds though).

      Other food items used in non-food ways -- potatoes, for making stamps out of to entertain children, white flour, for making simple paste, vanilla, for gentling pet mice when introducing them to new mice (mice identify one another by scent -- rub each mouse in vanilla and put them in an empty scrubbed cage with clean bedding - keeps them from identifying each other as "alien mouse), flour and salt, for making playdough for entertaining children, honey and onions, for making noxious (but damned effective) syrups to treat the ill, and of course baking soda - used for pretty much everything cleaningwise.

      And of course vinegar as a smell salt, to revive those who have fainted at the idea of pet mice. ;)

      2 Replies
      1. re: AnnaEA

        Thank you! I now have a way to get rid of the crappy coffee. :)

        That is awesome about vanilla mice. When I was a kid I had 2 (not vanilla, though) and ended up with 40.

        1. re: Cinnamon

          LOL - yeah, they'll breed like nobodies business. We buy girl mice only, from a store that guarantees buyback of the baby mice if they mess it up - so we haven't had any problems in that regard!

          Coffee is a *great* fridge deodorant - better then baking soda. You can use whole beans, extra grounds that have gone stale, or even used grounds let dry out. It's also good to acidify the soil for houseplants and in your garden, if you need it.

      2. A lot of the used / unused food items can be used for beauty purposes! For instance:

        Clean tea bags that you take out after steeping for hot tea can be kept in the freezer and use for removing black circle and puffy eyes - works like magic!

        Leftover unused oatmeal can be mixed with water or milk as a mask!

        If you happen to have egg white left from a recipe, put it on your nose and clean with warm water until it dries. It removes all the blackheads, no kidding!