Kitchen Tips: favorite uses for paper towels
Favorite uses for paper towels: There are so many essentials to have in the kitchen. One I really have trouble living without is paper towels. If the paper towel holder is left EMPTY, I will just about scream. Inevitably I will go to it a dozen times in the minutes before it’s filled in desperate need of one.
1. Vegetables: I wrap lettuce in a damp paper towel to keep the lettuce extra crisp in the refrigerator; this also works for bags of carrots and cut vegetables like peppers and celery. Just think: no more dried out vegetables. Place the damp paper towel around the vegetables and place them in a plastic bag.
2. Strawberries: Line a ¼” baking sheet with a paper towel and place strawberries in a single layer on it to keep the strawberries from getting mushy and squished, and they last longer since they are not stacked on top of each other.
3. Cans: I use a paper towel when I’m opening a can with the can opener. I rinse the can, wipe it down, place the paper towel on the counter so the can doesn’t scratch it or make that chalkboard scraping sound while I open it. If anything in the can spill over, it’s easy to clean up and also wipe off the can opener when I’m finished. I have the can opener type that does not go inside the rim; if you have one of these wash it first so there is no food on it before wiping.
4. Reducing the fat in cooking: When I’m boiling chicken or beef for stock or preparing soup, I use a paper towel to skim the fat off the top of the broth.
5. Pasta: I love pasta and make it so it’s at the ready in the fridge. I place a paper towel under the lid so the moisture that forms in the container doesn’t make the pasta mushy.
For pasta salads: When I drain my pasta and soak it in cold water, I then line the strainer with a paper towel to be sure all the excess water is off of the pasta before tossing it with the rest of the ingredients. Looking for a new pasta salad? Here are three of my favorites: BLT Pasta Salad, Mexican Pasta Salad, and Pesto Pasta Salad.
6. Paper Filter: I have used paper towels as coffee filters, and it’s great to use a strainer if you have a tea bag explosion or to reduce the pulp in lemonade or orange juice.
7. Microwave use: Place a paper towel in the microwave to catch crumbs, spills, and messes to make for easy cleanup. I have even wrapped hot dogs in buns in paper towels to heat them in the microwave and steam the buns.
8. Straining: If you need to strain the liquid from yogurt, sour cream, pickles etc. place a paper towel in a fine strainer and then pour in the wet items to help the liquid drain more easily.
9. Meats: I don’t know how I would get the moisture off of chicken, beef, or fish without paper towels. Dry rubs, breading and seasonings stick better to dry meats.
- Place a roll of paper towels on a paper towel holder at a picnic, party or BBQ; they don’t go flying off the table as easily as napkins when the wind blows. They are a needed item with sticky grilled items like chicken and ribs and really drippy items like watermelon and melting ice cream.
- They are also great for wrapping plastic ware for parties as they are larger than napkins and don’t rip as easily. Just roll the plastic ware and tie with your favorite ribbon or twine.
- You also don’t want to be with a roll of paper towels at a lemonade stand or on long car trips.
- Roll a paper towel to absorb remaining water in an item you are not able to get a dish towel into.
- Use a damp paper towel in a tall glass when icing cookies so the piping dip doesn’t dry out and clog.
- You can use paper towels to store your cast iron skillets to keep them dry when you take it out of the cabinet. Just add a little oil to the paper towel and will help keep your skillet seasoned and ready to use.
- Placing a paper towel under the milk and orange juice containers helps keep your refrigerator clean, too.
And don’t forget — don’t leave the paper towel holder empty; it really drives me nuts!