New uses for Thanksgiving items

Repurpose your Thanksgiving Day groceries.

Story highlights

  • Remove wrinkles and scrub glassware with aluminum foil
  • Change the water in floral arrangements and dust keyboards with turkey basters
  • Start fires and silence cabinets with wine corks
Don't put that aluminum foil or turkey baster away just because Thanksgiving is over and you've finally had that last leftover turkey sandwich. Here are some clever ways to get more than just one dinner's worth out of those handy items.
Aluminum foil:
Aluminum foil as a grilling helper: Really hot grill bars equal dramatic grill marks on your porterhouse. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping, lay a sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off just before cooking, scrunch it into a ball (it cools fast), and use it later to scrape any residue or ash from the bars.
Aluminum foil as wrinkle remover: To get wrinkles out of silk, wool, and rayon clothes that can't take direct heat, place a piece of foil on your ironing board, then lay the garment flat over it. With the steam button down, pass the iron three to four inches over the fabric several times. Wet heat radiating from the foil helps smooth out wrinkles.
Aluminum foil as fixture protector: Protect doorknobs and hardware in the kitchen and bathroom when you're painting by wrapping foil around them to catch dribbles. The foil molds to the shape of whatever it's covering and stays firmly in place until the job is complete.
Aluminum foil as an antenna: If your DVD player is stacked on top of the TV (or vice versa) and the picture is fuzzy, the two electromagnetic fields may be commingling, confusing the signals. (This usually happens with plastic casings; with metal it's less likely.) Slip a sheet of foil between the machines to separate the fields.
Aluminum foil as glassware scrubber: To get baked-on food off a glass pan or an oven rack, use dishwashing liquid and a ball of foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad, says Mary Findley, president of the cleaning-products developer Mary Moppins. It's one way to recycle those used but perfectly good pieces of foil you hate to throw out.
Aluminum foil as a funnel: Fashion a funnel of foil to neatly transfer salad dressings or condiments from tacky plastic bottles to pretty carafes or back again. Place it in the bottle and pour away.
Aluminum foil as a piecrust protector: To prevent a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks, make a foil collar to deflect heat. Take a piece of foil about 25 inches long, fold it into thirds lengthwise, and fasten the ends with a paper clip. Halfway into the baking, slip the collar over the crust (as shown). Leave it on until the pie is done.
Real Simple: New Baking Uses
Turkey baster:
Turkey baster as water changer: Easily change dirty water in a flower vase with a turkey baster. Suction up the old liquid without disturbing your arrangement. Then add fresh water directly from the tap.
Turkey baster as plant dryer: Bail out a waterlogged plant by suctioning excess water from the pot's base.
Turkey baster as duster: "I use one to clear dust from tiny spaces, like between computer keys." -- Real Simple reader Kristina Warren from Santa Rosa, California
Turkey baster as emergency roadside assistance: "To help pry open frozen car doors, I fill a baster with hot water and saturate the area around the door edges until the ice melts." -- Real Simple reader Jill Waldrop from Spring, Texas
Wine corks:
Wine corks as cabinet silencers: Silence cabinet doors that slam by slicing a cork into thin disks and sticking them onto the inside corners of cabinets to muzzle the closing noise.
Cork as utility knife cap: Cap an X-Acto knife before tossing it into a drawer.
Cork as earring holder: Marry pairs of earrings. Stick the posts into a cork to keep them together.
Cork as fire starter: Get a blaze crackling faster. Keep wine corks in rubbing alcohol in a sealed jar (stored away frm the fireplace of course). Just before lighting a fire, toss a few in under the kindling.
Cork as sewing kit: Make a compact sewing kit. Stick needles and pins in the cork. For a little zip, wrap it with a few lengths of thread.
Cork as heat protector: For a heat protector, slip a cork or two under a lid's handle and you'll always have something safe to grab.