The Powerhouse Ingredient You're Almost Definitely Throwing Out
Your coffee, chocolate cake, and holiday cocktails will never be the same.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.Grab your copy
Popular on Food52
Cookie March 19, 2020
I add a couple drops into my frozen banana ice cream just before whipping it up.
FrugalCat December 21, 2019
When I was a kid, my mom taught me to fill an "empty" chocolate syrup bottle halfway with milk, shake it, then get a bonus glass of chocolate milk. I carried that lesson with me through my life. Often I make salad dressing in a spent mustard container. Or pour a shot of tequila in the jam jar.
Hannah January 20, 2020
I have had tequila and ginger jam shots this way. They hit the spot on a chilly night in New England.
CassieB96 December 20, 2019
Omg I can’t believe I’ve never thought of something so simple!! I’ve done this with “empty” containers of Nutella before and made the best chocolate milk of my entire life, but never thought of carrying that over to my old extract bottles! I’m definitely going to start doing this from now on.
Heide P. December 19, 2019
I just did this with an 'empty' vanilla paste container! I filled it with vodka, let it sit for a week or so, then added it when I was making coffee liqueur - it was a game-changer. I've never tried it with other extracts, but I don't go through them as frequently, but thanks for the tip!
Snow December 19, 2019
Huh. I always rinse out the pasta sauce jar (homemade or otherwise) with wine and dump it in the sauce pot. But I never thought about doing something similar with extract bottles!
(Thanks for the giggle Wendy W)
(Thanks for the giggle Wendy W)
Wendy W. December 19, 2019
Baking soda expires? Well, I'm going to pretend I never learned that.
mudd December 19, 2019
Easy to check that. Put some vinegar in a cup add a little of your baking soda. If it gets fizzy and bubbly, your baking soda is fine. If not good and fizzy bubbly, dump your baking soda down the kitchen sink drain along with some vinegar. Wait awhile and then run some hot water. Will clear out minor grease problems and smell good. Drain will smell good, especially if you have garbage disposal
Beverly B. November 24, 2019
Last few drops of vanilla go with anything —even lobster! (An old Julia Childs trick)— just to warm up the flavor. Try 1 drop first then add more to taste
MB December 19, 2019
Try a hint of vanilla in butternut squash. It's amazing. Learned that from a chef.
Renee F. October 26, 2019
I make my own extract by infusing Canton ginger liqueur with a few green cardamon and vanilla pods in an old airline size Canton bottle. I haven’t got to the end of the bottle since 2007/8 because I keep dropping in more Canton and vanilla. The old soused vanilla gets removed after a few years and used in whatever calls to me...
judy October 23, 2019
I would never have thought of rinsing out my vanilla bottles as she suggests. Great Idea. I have tried all kinds of vanilla, and have settled primarily on Nielson-Massey Madagascar vanilla as my go to. I buy it in 32oz bottles. Takes me about a year to use up. I have strayed some to beans and paste. I do like the paste. I also have a Mexican origin vanilla in the back of my pantry. about 2 years ago the price shot up. I went on a jag, when I noticed this and bought several bottles and the cheaper rate of about $39 per bottle. then is shot up (sick vanilla beans and shortages). I bought about 8 bottles at $79 and have been hoarding them, though I have given some away. I have never been a fan of Watkins, though I used it growing up and well into early adult hood as that was all I knew. When I began to branch out, I found that there were many other versions that were much more palatable for me. I don't care for artificial and will not use white, as I think it gives an off flavor. Taste is so much a personal preference. So, if I ever do make frosting ---whichis rare, as I do not care for them, they are tinged and never completely white-- but they are delicious. Articles like this are fun to read. Thank you.
Susan December 19, 2019
I bought one of those perpetual extra bottles with the vanilla bean & vodka. Just add either as needed. But lately I’ve switched to the Neilson Massey paste. It’s sooo good.
Join The Conversation