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We all have things in our kitchens we use only occasionally. After using them, we wash and dry them, and put them away. There they sit, gathering dust and a film. The next time we get them out, we see it would be best to give them a good washing before using.
I have a decanter from Czechoslovakia. I haven't put it out in years. Every time I run across it, I see it needs washing again. No more. This time, I covered it with a produce bag and closed the bag tightly. I may put it out again if I ever find the long spire stopper that goes with it. If and when I do, it won't have to be washed, first.
My blender? I never use it the winter time. When I get it out in the spring, I see it needs a thorough cleaning. Before washing, I use a paint brush to remove dust between all the push buttons. I'd rather not have to attend to these domestic chores just before having my first piña colada of the season. Now, I won't have to. Covering it with produce bags before putting it away, takes care of that.
And beer mugs? I have too many. I can't resist buying one, occasionally. At Dollar Tree, they're just a dollar. There are very heavy. I use them for kitchen utensils. I have all my slotted screwdrivers in one and all my Phillips screwdrivers in another. I've found a lot of uses for them and I still have extras. They collect dust and film. Not any more.
Now, all those I don't use are put into produce bags and stored on an out of the way cabinet shelf. It's not likely I'll be giving an impromptu beer party, but if I do, my mugs will be ready without washing. Well, almost ready. They'll need to be in the freezer for a while.
I have some of my mother's figurines packed away. They were first put in these bags before wrapping in newspaper. I keep a couple of oil lamps for emergencies. The glass chimneys are put in these bags. Should I need them, they'll shed their light strong and clear without washing, first.
There must be hundreds of items not in regular use that could be covered with these bags. Care to add to the list?
The clear fruit and veggie bags that I get at the grocery store (the ones in the fresh produce section that are on a roll) make excellent freezer bags. Because they're thin, I double them up. And because they're usually too long for my need, I simply tie a knot where I need it and snip off the remaining tail.
These bags can also be used as an alternative to Saran Wrap when putting away leftovers. They will stretch and fit around average sized dinner plates and bowls.
Whenever I need a plastic bag for something, my first thought is to go to my supply of produce bags. They've been used for so many things and best of all, they're free. If and when possible, I don't use purchased heavier duty bags for anything.
Source: Living on a tight budget.
By Mlina from Amherstburg, ON
You know when you go grocery shopping and you take too many produce bags? Instead of leaving them in the cart when you are done, take them home with you. You can use them to store open packages of luncheon meat, to cover hard cheeses etc. instead of ziplock bags and all for free! You can also reuse the produce bags that you put your fruit and veggies in to collect and toss veggie peels and refuse. When shopping, they don't just have to be used for produce either. You can use them to handle and bag meat to ensure that the juices don't contaminate your hands or other groceries.
Editor's Note: I have a friend who liked produce bags so much for things around the house, that she talked to the manager of her local grocery store and purchased a whole roll of them. They lasted a long time and were reasonably inexpensive.
I save the plastic bags that my produce comes in and use them to line a large coffee can when I am cooking. This is a great way to eliminate trips back and forth to the garbage can when you are cooking, just put your scraps and ends into the can. The bag keeps it from getting nasty inside.
Also, consider saving peelings and bits from vegetables to make stock. I keep them in my freezer in these vegetable bags until I have enough. Then boil them together in some water with salt pepper and spices, strain it and you have a nice flavored broth. Be sure that you are washing your vegetables of course. Don't want gritty soup! You can also save bones from a chicken, or meat bones to boil with the vegetables. Makes delicious broth just from stuff you would have thrown away anyway.
I find that the large plastic bags that you put your produce into at the grocery store recycle to make wonderful 'covers' for your casseroles such as Lasagna pan size or smaller for storage in the refrigerator. Just make sure the printing on the bag is on the outside when you slide your casserole into it. My husband now even saves the clean produce bags for me to reuse since we are both retired. Saves money and recycles at the same time!
By MaryCrane from Orange Park, Fl
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The thin, clingy plastic bags available at grocery stores for fresh fruit and vegetables are nearly indispensable at home.
I bake bread (high fiber whole wheat)e very five days or so and put a cooled loaf in one of them.
If you buy meat in bulk and want to divide it into meal sized portions they are also very good; because they cling so close and are flexible, you can squeeze out the air to avoid freezer burn although in my case the food is used before freezer burn sets in.
You can also put garbage scraps in them to seal in the odor to avoid attracting animals.
By Tracy from Kansas City
If you put your baked bread in the bags while the bread is warm from the oven, the crust will be soft like store-bought. (07/25/2008)
I also use bread bags a lot, you can pull them down really tight, and even double them over for some things, so it's extra protection. I tie them or save the ties as well. I very seldom have an issue with freezer burn or taste, even if I go over the recommended time frame. (07/28/2008)