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20 Clever Uses for a Turkey Baster

Yes, it’s a Thanksgiving prep staple, but turkey basters can also make a number of chores, from changing plant water to touching up a paint job, much easier. Check out these useful turkey baster tricks.

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turkey baster usesSuzanna Bunch/Shutterstock

It’s not just for turkeys anymore

Is your turkey baster’s job done as soon as Thanksgiving is over? If so, you’re missing out on some other not-exactly-intended, but no-less-useful ways you can use this kitchen gadget. Keep in mind that you should not use your cooking baster for cleaning or chemical-related tasks, so it’s helpful to have a second turkey baster to take full advantage of these uses. Here’s where you can get one. Then you’ll be ready to try out these fun—and useful!—ways you never thought to use it. And if Thanksgiving cooking is the main event, check out these handy Thanksgiving cooking hacks using everyday objects.

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bolognese sauce - hot juicy ground beef stewed with tomato sauce, spices, basil, finely chopped vegetables and celery in skillet on wooden table, authentic recipe, view from abovefrom my point of view/Shutterstock

Degrease meat

Taco night? After cooking meat (say, ground beef), use a turkey baster to remove the extra grease at the bottom of the pan. Faster than ladling with a spoon, this trick lowers the likelihood of searing grease spills.

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plantsimnoom/Shutterstock

Change plant water

Remove dirty water without disturbing your plants. Use a turkey baster to absorb the old water and replace with fresh water, whether your greens are in a vase or potted plant. This trick is especially handy for high-hanging plants. You can also use a turkey baster to water a Christmas tree and to add small, precise amounts of water to cups containing seedlings or germinating seeds.

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Cute funny rabbits in zoological gardenAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Place water in your pet’s bowl

Do you have a pet in a cage, like a bunny or a hamster, that drinks water from a bowl and not from a bottle? And are you getting tired of chasing said bunny, hamster, or other caged pet around the house whenever you change its water? Use a turkey baster to fill the water dish. You can usually fit the baster between the slats without having to open the cage. Shopping for your furry friend? Check out these pet products on Amazon with nearly perfect reviews.

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Cracked eggs in bowl and egg shells on wooden table.Thisislove/Shutterstock

Separate eggs

To cleanly divide egg yolks from egg whites, unscrew the bulb of the turkey baster. Squeeze it to slurp the egg yolk away from the whites. Squeeze again to release into a separate bowl.

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Wine bottle with candle and empty wine glasses on counter bartaro911 Photographer/Shutterstock

Save wine

Can’t find a wine stopper? To preserve an open bottle of wine, drop the thin end of a turkey baster into the bottleneck. Have you bought any of these kitchen gadgets that are a total waste of money?

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Enjoy your breakfast or coffee break with coffee maker and boiler machineVenus Angel/Shutterstock

Remove excess water from coffeemaker

The perfect cup of coffee is determined by using the proper balance of water and ground coffee in your automatic coffeemaker. If you pour in too much water, however, you typically have to add more coffee or suffer through a weak pot. But there’s another, often overlooked option: Simply use your kitchen baster to remove the excess water to bring it in at just the right level.

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pom pomsSudpoth Sirirattanasakul/Shutterstock

Entertain children

For a tech-free way to keep young kids busy, hand them Pom-Poms and a turkey baster. Watch them race the balls across the floor by squeezing puffs of air out of the basters. It’s cheap entertainment for you and them alike.

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People renovating the houseRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Touch up a paint job

For small paint sprucing jobs, use a turkey baster to transfer a small amount of paint from the pail to a disposable cup. You’ll have the exact portion you need and avoid drips. Now are you starting to see why a turkey baster is one of the kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago?

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cockroaches on the floorblueart5758/Shutterstock

Blow away roaches and ants

If you’ve had it with sharing your living quarters with roaches or ants, give them the heave-ho by sprinkling boric acid along any cracks or crevices where you’ve spotted the intruders. Use a baster to blow small amounts of the powder into hard-to-reach corners and any deep voids you come across. Note: Keep in mind that boric acid can be toxic if ingested by young children or pets. Fortunately, there are plenty of chemical-free ways to keep bugs out of your home, too.

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Brake fluid reservoirWachira W/Shutterstock

Change brake fluid

 

If you do this job yourself, you know the first step is removing the old, dirty fluid from the master cylinder reservoir. Get it done quickly with an inexpensive turkey baster. (We recommend keeping this particular baster in the garage, not the kitchen.) Find out some more car hacks that’ll make driving so much better.

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yarnGiller/Shutterstock

Wind yarn

To wind a pull ball of yarn, remove the bulb from a turkey baster. Thread yarn through the baster, and secure to the thin end of the baster with a piece of tape. Wrap the yarn horizontally around the wide end of the baster. After there is about an inch of wrapped yarn, begin winding diagonally to create a crisscross pattern. Continue until a ball is formed. Tuck the end of the yarn into the ball. Remove tape from the other end. Slide the ball off the baster.

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Baby girl in white dress holding a aquarium with blue fish. The concept of care for Pets. Gift. Selective focusSelenit/Shutterstock

Feed fish

Use an extra turkey baster to directly feed pet fish that struggle to compete for their share of food. The tool is also handy for feeding invertebrates such as clams, corals, and anemones. Have a gunky tank? Use the baster to remove small bugs that fall into the aquarium or unwanted algae. Rather stick to turkey basting? Learn some handy tips for buying the perfect bird this Thanksgiving.

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My passion. Nice haired working artist concentrating on his painting while creative a masterpieceDmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Create artwork

Fill turkey basters with paint for creative crafts with tots. Create colorful paper plates or cover blank frames with splats of paint. For an adult project, use a baster to transfer paint into a clear glass bottle. Roll the bottle until the paint is evenly distributed. Dry upside down. Use the painted bottles as bright vases.

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pancakesSeva_blsv/Shutterstock

Add pizzazz to pancakes

Are you (or your kids) dazzled by those impressive videos of people making pancakes shaped like animals or famous characters? Or are you just bored of regular ol’ round pancakes, and the frustrating way it’s pretty much impossible to get them to be the size and shape you want? Squeeze some pancake batter into a turkey baster and try your hand at some more exciting shapes! True, it may not instantly make you a pancake artiste, but it’ll certainly be a fun thing to try! Despite their many uses, turkey basters are pretty ordinary, but find out some wacky kitchen gadgets you won’t believe exist.

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condimentsMaraZe/Shutterstock

Control condiments

Maybe you’re very particular about the amount of salad dressing or ketchup that goes on your food. Or you’re trying to control how much chocolate syrup your kiddos (or you!) put on ice cream or chocolate milk. Or maybe you just wish adding garnish and condiments to thinks wasn’t so dang messy! A turkey baster is an easy solution that allows for controlled distribution of anything with a liquid-y enough texture for a baster. (Quicklids.com says that most pasta sauces might be a bit too chunky for this turkey baster use, unfortunately.)

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Closeup of a chef cutting strawberriesLuna Vandoorne/Shutterstock

Make boozy fruit

If you’re looking for a classy way to make fruit more fun (and are of legal drinking age, of course), try this literal party trick suggested by a kitchn.com commenter. They cut the fruit (specifically a watermelon) in half and poke mini holes in it using the turkey baster. Then, also with the turkey baster, they fill the holes with vodka and leave the melon in the fridge for several hours, after which “the vodka ends up fairly dispersed throughout.” (Please baste responsibly!) Check out some more cool secret uses for ordinary kitchen gadgets.

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Overhead shot of black baking tray filled with freshly baked cupcakes in paper cases with visible cake mix spaltters and drips.Frannyanne/Shutterstock

Fill muffin tins

To add an equal amount of batter to each muffin cup (without a mess!) swap a spoon for a turkey baster. Turkey basters also come in handy for drawing creative pancake shapes on the griddle.

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Chef or baker, dressed in black apron, preparing a portion of fresh dough in rural bakery, kneading the pastry surrounded by rustic organic loaf of bread.UfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock

Inject pastries

Load a baster with your favorite jelly, custard, or pudding mix. Inject into homemade pastries for delicious, gooey treats. While putting together those pastries, watch out for these common baking mistakes!

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Closeup of an Old Window Unit Electric Air ConditionerCory Seamer/Shutterstock

Cure a musty-smelling air conditioner

If you detect a musty odor blowing out of the vents of your room air-conditioner, chances are it’s caused by a clogged drain hole. First, unscrew the front of the unit and locate the drain hole. It’s usually located under the barrier between the evaporator and compressor, or underneath the evaporator. Use a bent wire hanger to clear away any obstacles in the hole or use a turkey baster to flush it clean. You may also need to use the baster to remove any water that may be pooling up at the bottom of the unit to gain access to the drain.

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Modern gourmet kitchen interiorzstock/Shutterstock

Fix a leaky refrigerator

Is water leaking inside your refrigerator? The most likely cause is a blocked drain tube. This plastic tube runs from a drain hole in the back of the freezer compartment along the back of your fridge and drains into an evaporation pan underneath. Try forcing hot water through the drain hole in the freezer with a turkey baster. If you can’t access the drain hole, try disconnecting the tube on the back to blow water through it. After clearing the tube, pour a teaspoon of ammonia or bleach into the drain hole to prevent a recurrence of algae spores, the probable culprit. Now that you know some handy uses for a turkey baster, find out 25 more kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest