Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Random Collection of Housekeeping Things

I've been collecting these tidbits to post at some time or other, so today is the day.

First, for all you canners out there: Lehman's Hardware in Kidron, Ohio sells canning jar lids in bulk. A sleeve of them contains 354 lids, and it's $42.95 plus shipping (I think my total was about $55.00). This is just lids, not the rings. It's a little cheaper than I pay at the store, and a lot more convenient to have all the lids I need right here and not have to worry about not having them when I need them. I think one sleeve will last me through the canning season. They also sell reusable lids (who knew there were such things!) and the old kind that use the rubber gasket, along with all sorts of other useful canning and homesteading supplies. Their specialty is non-electric items, since they are in the heart of Ohio's Amish country.

Did you know you can buy USPS postage through Paypal? It's a lot easier than the USPS website, friends! And so simple to pay too. You need a Paypal account, of course, and it's not easy to find the service on their site, but this link will get you there. I buy online postage for my sales on Amazon and eBay but sometimes I need to buy it for other things I'm shipping and this Paypal service saves me a trip to the post office.

I am drying my peppermint and other herbs for teas and wanted to make them into teabags to share with friends. I looked online for resealable teabags and most were just too expensive--might as well just buy the tea. But at San Francisco Herb Company you can get 50 of them for $2.12. The rub is that you must order at least $30 worth of stuff from them--which isn't hard to do considering their prices and the items they offer for sale. I used to buy from them years ago and forgot them when I went to work. It's nice to reconnect with such a good company. They offer bottles, bags, herbs, dried foods, teas, and all sorts of other interesting things.

A couple of things for general household cleaning:

Put a bay leaf in your flour and dried grains to keep the miller moths out. I've been battling them for the past year and I think I have finally won. All it takes is one item that gets infested with them and you're sunk. They get into dried beans, rice, flour, oats..even baking chocolate and your garden seeds! I took most items out of the cabinet and put them in the fridge, cleaned the cabinet and waited. The moths were still there. I eventually located the source of the trouble--dried apple and orange garlands I had stored in another cabinet. Who would have thought? Then I remembered my mother's trick with the bay leaves. I scattered them throughout my cabinet and tucked them into the jars of flour and oats. No more problems...at least, not for the past 3 months.

My granddaughter taught me this trick: if you have a pan with really stuck-on cooking (like cheese, gravy, meat drippings, etc), fill the pan with soapy dishwater and put it on the stove to boil. Once it's boiling, use a spoon or spatula to scrape off the stuck stuff--it will come right off. Amazing. It took me 60 years to find out about this trick!

Make your own window cleaner with Dawn dish detergent, ammonia and water. This is what the commercial companies use and it doesn't need to be wiped down after cleaning like Windex does. You can adjust the ingredients to get the kind of sudsing you want. Or you can visit Tipnut.com for a lot of ways to make window cleaner, mostly with things you already have on hand.

Got a jar with a stuck lid? Try running very hot water over the lid--often the contents in the jar are sticky and the hot water will soften the sugars enough to let you remove the lid. If it's a two-piece canning jar lid and that doesn't work, take a table knife and run the blade under the top lip of the jar (the place where the ring seats on top of the flat lid). Dampness can cause the ring to rust to the lid and you can break the rust loose this way. The ring, however, might be ruined because it might not seat properly on the lid again. But it beats throwign away a whole jar of something you worked hard to put up.

That's my list for today. Do any of you have little tricks you'd like to share? I am betting you do!


Janet, said...

thanks for all the little tidbits of info. I usually keep my flour and cornmeal in the freezer. Usually I will hit around the top of a jar lid with the handle of a case knife and that will help it to open. When I can veggies, I always take off the ring after it seals. That way you won't have to worry about having a 'stuck' lid later on. Susanne, come by my blog tomorrow and read my author interview, it is with someone you know.

Nance said...

clicking the "like" button! thanks for a good post.

Granny Sue said...

Janet, I knew you'd have some pointers! I try to take the rings off too but sometimes I forget--and in my stone cellar, they rust. I keep some flour, etc in the fridge--no room in the freezer--but there's not room for all of it. Cornmeal definitely stays in the fridge though! I'll be sure to stop by your blog tomorrow, I'm not on the road for a change.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I wish I could afford the reproduction appliances at Lehman's. They are beautiful.

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