How Do You Stretch The Contents Of Your Kitchen To Create Culinary Delights?

Our delightfully crafty siblings at ShopSmart Magazine are always coming up with creative ways to stretch a dollar. And when it comes to getting the last bit of food from the bottom of that peanut butter jar or the final swig in a wine bottle, they’ve discovered some very hand tips for turning kitchen dregs into culinary delight. Check out a few of their suggestions and let us know — have you devised any tasty uses for those otherwise used up bottles, jars and bags?

These tricks come from ShopSmart‘s test-kitchen experts and chef Aaron McCargo, host of the Food Network’s Big Daddy’s House. Check out the September issue of ShopSmart for more, and add your own tips in the comments below if you’ve got a particularly crafty way of working kitchen magic.

Nuke sticky stuff. Place an almost empty peanut butter jar in the microwave for a few seconds to soften the skimpy remains, then add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and vegetable oil, and shake to make an Asian marinade to brush on chicken or beef skewers. Or pour it over a salad of mandarin orange slices, chicken, and tomatoes. The last scrapes of honey and marmalade in jars can also be nuked, even if they have crystallized, to make them easier to mix with lime juice, grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper for a delicious salad dressing.

Recycle olive and pickle juice. The tangy brine can be used to perk up a number of dishes. Swap olive juice for vinegar in a vinaigrette; the dressing will add a nice olive flavor to tossed greens and egg or tuna salad. Make your own pickles by slicing cucumbers into a jar of leftover pickle juice and letting them steep for 3 or 4 hours. Slip the pickled cukes into sandwiches for added crunch. Or add a little hot pepper and cut-up vegetables, such as string beans, tomatoes, carrots, and celery, to the juice. Let them sit for a few hours and you’ll have a tasty side dish or addition to a pasta salad.

Savor the last drops of vino. All it takes is a splash to flavor a dish. If the wine is just about gone, try braising vegetables in a little mixed with olive oil, or sprinkle it on fish with some herbs, wrap in foil, and bake.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.