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Money-Saving Kitchen Tips

Useful and economical tips on saving money and making it easier to stay well within your kitchen budget.

If you accidentally over salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato, it will absorb the excess salt.

Place a slice of bread in hardened brown sugar to soften.

To keep marshmallows from turning hard, store them in the freezer. When thawed, they're like fresh.

To keep marshmallows from sticking together in the bag, toss a little powdered sugar into the bag and mix.

Wrap celery in aluminum foil before placing in the refrigerator, it will keep for weeks.

For maximum flavor and long life, wrap your prized onions (like Vidalias) individually in newspaper and store in a cool, dark place.

Cut a roll of clear plastic wrap in half to use for individually wrapping brownies, cookies and other small items. You end up with two narrow rolls of the perfect size wrap.

Bread stale? Don't toss it out, cut it into cubes or process into crumbs; place in a freezer bag and freeze for later use in recipes.

Save money by using low-salt beef, chicken and vegetable bases, available in any supermarket, to make the broth called for in recipes instead of using canned broth.

Use the cooking water of potatoes meant for mashing, in place of milk, for lighter and fluffier mashed potatoes! Drain potatoes first and incorporate the liquid back into the potatoes a little at a time as you mash or whip them.

When you don't have cheesecloth, tie your spices up in a coffee filter for pickling or other uses. It works just fine!

Store shelled nuts in the freezer to retain their freshness.

Use an ordinary wooden or plastic clothespin to seal bags of chips, packets of crackers, and cereal-box liners.

Bread will stay fresher longer at room temperature or frozen. It is best not to store bread in the refrigerator.

Honey is best stored in a dry place because it tends to absorb moisture and become granulated.

Every time the door of the oven is opened, the oven temperature drops 25 to 30 degrees. Use the oven window to conserve energy.

Save all types of leftover bread — bagels, baguettes, biscuits, crackers, rolls, sandwich bread — and process into very fine crumbs in your food processor or blender. Store in the freezer in self-sealing plastic bags to use for stuffings and toppings.

Don't throw rock-hard dried raisins or currants away. Instead, reconstitute them by covering with cold water, bringing to a boil, then removing from the heat and letting stand for 5 minutes. Drain well before using.

Make your own superfine sugar by churning regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

You'll get more pop out of your popcorn if you store it in the freezer and pop while still frozen.

To soften brown sugar, place in a microwave-proof dish, add a slice of soft white bread or an apple wedge, cover tight and microwave at 100% power for 30 seconds. Discard the bread or apple and stir.

Cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt will stay fresh longer if the cartons are stored upside down. Just make sure the lids don't leak!

Recycle the plastic containers you get at the deli or salad bar. They're great for storing leftovers or freezing small portions.

To re-crisp stale crackers, spread them on a baking sheet and bake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 5 minutes. Cool completely and seal in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Rescue an overbaked cake by drizzling with a simple sugar syrup spiked with a little Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Tia Maria or brandy.

Just for fun: Halloween Face Paint. Here's a simple, non-toxic concoction straight from the pantry: Mix together 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon water, 1/2 teaspoon cold cream and 2 drops food coloring. Apply to face.

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