Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eight extraordinary uses for bicarbonate of soda

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Bicarbonate of Soda is not just for baking once a year.
Weve found eight incredible uses, that are easy peasy.
Get ready to fish yours out the back of the cupboard,
because bicarb is a kitchen godsend.

1. Cleaning
First and foremost, bicarb is fantastic for clearning.
Soak tea or coffee stained mugs with bicarb dissolved in water overnight
and theyll come out squeaky clean.
A bicarb solution will remove scuff marks on laminate floors or skirting boards
with a bit of gentle wiping.
Add a little water to bicarb to make a paste and use this to polish your silver for a brilliant shine.
You can also dip half a potato in a bicarb solution and then use it to rub away rust on cutlery,
or anything else metal.
2. Removing bad smells
An open tub of bicarb in your fridge will rid it of that gone-off food smell
that seems to linger even though youve thrown out everything thats past its sell-by date.
You can also get rid of garlic (or generally bad) breath by gargling with a teaspoon of bicarb
dissolved in a glass of water.
Use a powder puff to dab some bicarb under your arms for an effective deodorant.
It wont make you smell of roses, but you wont smell bad either.
A small bag filled with bicarb and put in your wardrobe will also stop
your clothes smelling musty.
3. Soothing skin
A bicarbonate of soda solution dabbed onto a minor burn until it has cooled will soothe it
and help it heal. If youve been bitten by a mosquito or any other insect,
a paste of bicarbonate of soda will help sooth the bite and dry it out so it heals quicker.
4. Freshen up
If you want to freshen up your whites a scoop of bicarb in your white wash
will have them dazzling in no time. As well as invigorating your clothes,
a bit of bicarb in the water for your cut flowers will help keep them perky for longer
and boost alkaline loving potted plants.
5. Make your own honeycomb
Less practical, but lots of fun, you can use bicarbonate of soda to make your own crunchies.
Heat gently two tablespoons of golden syrup in a saucepan with five tablespoons of granulated sugar.
When the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture to the boil and leave until it turns golden brown.
Whisk in the bicarb (this will make the mixture foam) and quickly pour onto an oiled baking sheet.
Leave to cool and then break up for shards of yummy honeycomb.
6. Launch your own rocket
Pour 25mls of malt vinegar into a plastic bottle.
Place a tissue over the neck of the bottle and push down slightly to make a well.
Pour three teaspoons of bicarbonate into the tissue well and screw the bottle cap on loosely.
Turn the bottle upside down and place on a flat surface very quickly.
As the vinegar reacts with the bicarb the bottle will shoot into the air.
Be careful though - make sure you stand well back! See how to do it here.
7. Tenderising meat
Fed up with bashing out your meat with a little hammer to get it tender?
Instead, pour bicarb over it and then leave to work its magic in the fridge for 3-5 hours.
Once youre ready to cook, rinse off thoroughly and your meat will be beautifully tender.
8. Fire safety
In case your kitchen is short of a fire-safety blanket,
when poured over a grease or oil fire,
bicarbonate of soda can extinguish flames.
Although it wouldnt be safe to rely on this in an emergency!

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