In The Kitchen

sweet solutions:

Alternative Uses For SUGAR

Sugar has been called the “sweetest poison” of them all. It is the source of all sorts of health issues. It can have devastating effects on the body, throwing it out of balance, wreaking havoc on your intestinal tract and causing bad bacteria to proliferate, which can lead to a host of health problems. As people re-evaluate their diet decisions, sugar is one of the first things we are advised to eliminate.

But wait. Before you decide to toss out that bag of sugar sitting in your pantry, consider these ways to re-purpose this ingredient to get some positive, safe and healthy results in your garden, your kitchen, your home, on your body and in your beauty routine. Read on…

In Your Garden: Pest Removal

Wasp Trap—It's that time of year for these stinging pests to make their appearance. If you've spotted a few, try making a wasp trap: Make a simple syrup solution by boiling equal parts of water and sugar together. Then, pour into an empty soda bottle. Place outdoors near the nest and watch the wasps fall into the trap.

Exterminate Roaches—If you hate smelly, noxious pesticides as much as you loathe cockroaches, don’t call an exterminator. Instead, when you have a roach infestation, scatter a mixture of equal parts sugar and baking powder over the infested area. The sugar will attract the roaches, and the baking powder will kill them. Replace it frequently with a fresh mixture to prevent future infestations.

Nix Nematode Worms in the Garden—If your outdoor plants look unhealthy, with ugly knots at the roots, chances are they’re under attack by the nematode worm. This nemesis of an otherwise healthy garden is a microscopic parasite that pierces the roots of plants and causes knots. You can prevent nematode attacks by using sugar to create an inhospitable environment for the tiny worms. Apply 5 pounds sugar for every 250 square feet of garden. Microorganisms feeding on the sugar will increase the organic matter in the soil, thereby eliminating those nasty little nematodes.

In Your Kitchen: Clean and Protect

Coffee Grinder Cleaner—After awhile, coffee grounds can build up and dull the grinding blades. To eliminate the mess, simply grind about a 1/3 to a 1/2-cup of sugar. Dispose of the sugar or repurpose it into the above-mentioned garden uses. The sugar will deodorize the grinder, acting as an excellent "cleaner" for coffee and/or spice grinders.

Keep Desserts and Cheeses Fresh— You used sugar to sweeten the cake batter; now use it to keep the finished cake fresh and moist. Store the cake in an airtight container with a couple of sugar cubes, and it will stay fresh for days longer. Store a few lumps of sugar with cheese the same way to prevent the cheese from molding.

In Your Home: Spot Remover and Stem Renewed

Stain Remover—Got grass stains? You won't for long, thanks to sugar. Make a thick mixture of sugar and a few drops of water, and then work into the stain. Let sit for up to 30 minutes, then wash as usual.

Flower Food—This is a classic tip for keeping a bouquet of fresh flowers lasting as long as possible and for good reason—it works. Add three tablespoons of sugar along with two tablespoons of vinegar to the water in your flower vase. The sugar provides nutrients to keep the clippings alive, while the vinegar fights off bacterial infections.

On Your Body: Smooth, Clean and Relieve

Soothe a Burned Tongue—To relieve a tongue burned by hot food or drink, reach for the sugar bowl and sprinkle a pinch or two of sugar over the affected area. The pain will begin to subside immediately.

Clean, Greasy, Grimy Hands—To clean filthy hands easily and thoroughly, pour equal amounts of olive oil and sugar into the cupped palm of one hand, and then gently rub your hands together for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry. The grit of the sugar acts as an abrasive to help the oil remove grease, paint and grime. Your hands will look and feel clean, soft and moisturized.

Pain Reliever—No first aid kit on hand? Treat minor cuts and scrapes with a sprinkle of sugar. This ancient germ buster is naturally antibacterial, and it speeds up healing as well, says Lillian Beard, MD, author of Salt in Your Sock and Other Tried-and-True Home Remedies.

For Your Beauty: Shiny and Smooth Shin

Face or Body Scrub—Girlfriend tested, girlfriend approved. Mix in up to one tablespoon of granulated sugar into your usual cream or liquid face wash to make your own exfoliating scrub. Mix into your body wash to exfoliate rough elbows and knees. Use on a weekly basis for brighter, smoother skin.

Depilation—Body sugaring is a method for removing body hair that is a homemade alternative to waxing or shaving. The theory behind body sugaring is that the hair is removed by the root, and when it grows back there will be less of it and it will be softer and not stubbly as it is if a razor had been used. This recipe is ancient and still commonly used in Brazil and Egypt. It's inexpensive to make, keeps well and is free of all those toxic, smelly ingredients you find in store-bought hair removers.

Make a paste of sugar (2 cups), lemon juice (1/4) cup) and water (1/4 cup). Heat the ingredients in a heavy saucepan to 250 F. Let cool, then pour into a heat resistant jar. The jar will be reheated in the future. Rip clean, cotton fabric into 1-inch strips. This next step is very important: Let the mixture cool enough so that it won’t burn your skin. Test the mixture first before applying to a sensitive part of your body. Using a dull knife or popsicle stick, spread the cooled sugar onto your skin. Cover with the cloth strips, let set for a few minutes and then rip off quickly as you would a bandage.

The mixture can easily be washed off of anything it comes into contact with, so you can re-use the cloth strips, and if it gets on clothes or the bathroom counter, it's not a big deal. In the future you can reheat the mixture to a warm not hot temperature and reuse. Note that reheating will thicken the paste.

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