9 Things You Can Do With Paper Towels

Mess-free bacon zapping Here’s a sure-fire way to cook bacon in your microwave oven. Layer two paper towels on the

Mess-free bacon zapping
Here’s a sure-fire way to cook bacon in your microwave oven. Layer two paper towels on the bottom of your microwave. Lay slices of bacon side by side, on the paper towels. Cover with two more paper towels. Run your microwave on High at 1-minute intervals, checking for crispness. It should take 3-4 minutes to cook. There’s no pan to clean, and the towels absorb the grease. Toss them for easy cleanup.

Clean silk from fresh corn
If you hate picking the silk off a freshly husked ear of corn, a paper towel can help. Dampen one and run it across the ear. The towel picks up the silk, and the corn is ready for the boiling pot or the grill.

Strain grease from broth
That pot of chicken broth has been bubbling for hours, and you don’t want to skim off the fat. Instead, use a paper towel to absorb the fat. Place another pot in the sink. Put a colander (or a sieve) in the new pot and put a paper towel in the colander. Now pour the broth through the towel into the waiting pot. You’ll find that the fat stays in the towel, while the cleaner broth streams through. Of course, be sure to wear cooking mitts or use potholders to avoid burning your hands with the boiling-hot liquid.

Keep produce fresh longer
Don’t you hate it when you open the vegetable bin in the refrigerator and find last week’s moldy carrots mixed with the now-yellow lettuce? Make your produce last long enough so you can eat it. Line your vegetable bins with paper towels. They absorb the moisture that causes your fruits and vegetables to rot. Makes cleaning up the bin easier too.

Keep frozen bread from getting soggy
If you like to buy bread in bulk from the discount store, this tip will help you freeze and thaw your bread better. Place a paper towel in each bag of bread to be frozen. When you’re ready to eat that frozen loaf, the paper towel absorbs the moisture as the bread thaws.

Clean a can opener
Have you ever noticed that strange gunk that collects on the cutting wheel of your can opener? You don’t want that in your food. Clean your can opener by “opening” a paper towel. Close the wheel on the edge of a paper towel, close the handles, and turn the crank. The paper towel will clean off the gunk as the wheel cuts through it.

Keep cast-iron pots rust-free
Stop rust from invading your prized collection of cast-iron pots. After they’re clean, place a paper towel in each to absorb any moisture. Store lids separately from the pots, separated by a lining of paper towels. No more ugly surprises when you reach for the pot again.

Test viability of old seeds
You’ve just found a packet of watermelon seeds dated from two springs back. Should you bother to plant them or has their shelf life expired and they’re best planted in the garbage can? To find out for sure, dampen two paper towels and lay down a few seeds. Cover with two more dampened paper towels. Over the next two weeks, keep the towels damp and keep checking on the seeds. If most of the seeds sprout, then plant the rest of the batch in the garden.

Clean a sewing machine
Your sewing machine is good as new after its recent tune-up, but you’re worried about getting grease from the machine onto the fabric for that new vest you’re sewing. Thread the sewing machine and stitch several lines up a paper towel first. That should take care of any residual grease so you’ll be ready to resume your sewing projects.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest