Baking soda – everyone has it, but most people aren’t using it to its full potential. You probably just use a teaspoon here and there while baking, and maybe you use it for cleaning, but there are so many other uses for it. Here are some of the best tricks:
Absorb bad smells
It isn’t unusual to see a box of baking soda hanging out in a fridge. Do you know why? Baking soda absorbs bad odors. In the fridge, most of those odors are a result of food releasing fatty acids. As a base, baking soda neutralizes those acids. Baking soda can absorb odors from toilets, garbage disposals, and cutting boards, as well, so if something smells, odds are baking soda will help.
Get rid of ants
Baking soda is really bad for pests like ants. When they eat the baking soda, it releases bubbles of carbon dioxide in their bodies, drying them out, and killing them. Mix powdered sugar and baking soda together, so the ants are intrigued, and sprinkle the mixture where you see ants entering your house. For ant mounds you see outside, pour a glass of water of it, then 2 cups of baking soda. After 30 minutes, pour a cup of vinegar over the mound. This should kill all the ants inside.
Have jewelry that’s lost its shine? Mix three parts baking soda to one part water and mix into a paste. You can use this to polish silver flatware. Use a soft sponge or cloth to rub the paste all over the metal. Rinse and dry. For silver jewelry, you only need ¼ of cup or so of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water. For gold, cover the jewelry with a layer of baking soda, pour on a little vinegar, and then rinse and dry.
Make crispier shrimp
Mushy shrimp isn’t tasty. For nicely-crisped shrimp, baking soda is your friend. This is especially true if you’re grilling the shrimp over direct heat. For best results, toss a pound of shrimp with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and stick in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. The baking soda actually changes the pH levels of the shrimp, so when you cook it, the Maillard reaction (browning) occurs faster.
Make better hummus
Homemade hummus is easy and just as good (if not better) than store-bought. If you’re using dried beans, you need baking soda. To get really soft beans that puree perfectly, soak one cup of dried beans with six cups of cold water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. When you cook the beans, you’ll use the same ratio of water and baking soda. The chickpeas cook faster and become more tender, so when you puree them, you get really smooth hummus.
You’ve probably used salt in your marinades to tenderize meat, but baking soda actually does a better job. For every 12-ounce cut of pork, beef, or chicken, soak in just ½ cup of water and about 1 teaspoon of baking soda. After at least 15 minutes, go ahead and cook like normal. The baking soda breaks down fibers in the meat, so it becomes more tender, juicy, and delicious.
You can use baking soda to clean your microwave, but did you know just how much cooking you can do with that device? Click here to learn the best tips.