12 (Non-Dessert) Ways Baking Soda Can Make You a Better Cook

Brianne DiSylvester

Baking soda is my go-to kitchen and household savior.

It wasn't until I started writing about green living that I learned there are like a million uses for baking soda. I was amazed!

Sure, our grandmothers were savvy enough to use it back in the day all around the house ... so why do we only think of it today for de-stinking our fridges and baking? Seems silly to limit this amazing product.

Most of you already know about using it in laundry, to get your teeth whiter, and for cleaning the house ... but do you know about these cool ways to use it in your cooking? And I'm not talking about cookies and cakes.

1. Clean your produce. It's super-important to wash your fruits and veggies, although a quick rinse doesn't really get the job done. In a large bowl, combine cold water with 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda and wash your produce. Potatoes or carrots often need some extra elbow grease to clean off soil; simply add some baking soda to a sponge or veggie brush.

2. Tenderize meat. Soften up your tough cut of meat by rubbing it down with baking soda. Let it "marinate" in the fridge for three to five hours, then rinse off the residue before cooking.

3. Get rid of that fishy smell. Is your fish too fishy? Try soaking it in 1 quart of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak in the fridge for about an hour and rinse the fish and pat dry before cooking.

4. Reduce acid. If your tomato sauce is too acidic, or your coffee too bitter, try sprinkling just a pinch of baking soda into the sauce while cooking or in your coffee grounds before brewing.

5. Tame the taste of vinegar. Counteract the taste of too much vinegar by tossing in a pinch of baking soda. Remember ... just a pinch. Otherwise it'll foam up like in science class.

6. Toot-free beans. Adding a dash of baking soda to your baked or refined beans will significantly reduce their gas-inducing properties.

7. Make fluffy omelets. Just 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per three eggs will make your morning breakfast extra fluffy and light.

8. Sub for yeast. Combine equal parts powdered vitamin C or citric acid with baking soda and sub for yeast. Use the same amount of the mixture as you would yeast. Bonus: You don't have to wait for the dough to rise first.

9. Reduce gamey taste. If by chance you're canning wild game like turkey or venison, add a pinch of baking soda to reduce the gamey flavor.

10. De-pluck poultry. Does your chicken have a few stray feathers? Loosen them by rubbing the spot with baking soda first.

11. Crisp your meat. Rub both sides of your meat with baking soda to crisp up the outer layer of fat. Mmmm.

12. Keep veggies white and crisp. If you're boiling corn or cauliflower, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to make your veggies bright white and firm.

Have you tried any of these baking soda tricks?

Image via G & A Sattler/Flickr

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