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20 Kitchen Items You Should Never Pay for

Who needs more clutter in your drawers? Here are twenty great substitutes for kitchen tools, including DIYs and easy substitutions for rolling pins, funnels, cooling racks, egg separators, pastry brushes, meat mallets, potato mashers, turkey basters, and more.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
April 25, 2016

Page 1 of 2

DIY kitchen tools

Substitute Egg Separator

When you need to separate the egg white from the egg yolk, here's an incredibly simple way to do it. Crack the egg into a bowl and grab an empty plastic water bottle. Rest the mouth of the bottle on the yolk and squeeze the middle of the bottle like a turkey baster. The yolk will be sucked right into the bottle. Watch a video of this here.

Make Your Own Turkey Baster

Speaking of turkey baster, you can make your own with a water balloon, a straw, and a utility knife. (Read this article from eHow.com for step-by-step instructions.) MacGyver would be proud.

Free Trussing Twine!

If you want to truss your turkey—i.e., tie the wings and legs of a bird down for more even cooking—you don't need to buy trussing twine. Use dental floss! Not only does it come in a small container, it’s usually easy to get for free at your dentist’s office. It’s also very strong and won’t burn in high heat.

DIY Trivet

If you have extra ceramic tiles left over from a home improvement project, you can use them as trivets. Protect tables and countertops from hot pots and dishes by affixing peel-and-stick felt corners underneath each tile. 

Cooling Rack Stand-In

Keep your cool during holiday baking days. When you’re covered with flour, have no idea where the kitchen table used to be, and just pulled the fifth blisteringly hot tray of gingerbread men out of the oven, simply flip over cardboard egg trays (you’ll need two, spaced a little bit apart) and set the baking pan on top. You can also use butter knives: Place them in rows on your counter, alternating directions. They'll keep hot baked goods elevated.

DIY Bowl Scraper

Have you ever seen those bowl scrapers in kitchen stores that sell for $3 to $10? These circular, plastic tools are easy to make at home. Simply take the lid of a round take-out container, cut it in half, then remove the rim. Instant savings!

Substitute Rolling Pin

If you're in need of a rolling pin, look no further than that bottle of vodka you have in your freezer. The chilled glass will result in a flakier pastry. If you don't drink hard liquor, a wine bottle will do.

Who Needs Cookie Cutters?

Rather than buying a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, use a wine glass or a clean, empty aluminum can. If you're making donuts, use the mouth of an empty water or soda bottle to cut out the center hole.

A Simple Flour Sifter

Julia Child probably used a flour sifter while preparing fine pastries, but you can keep things simple by putting a mesh colander over your mixing bowl, filling it with the needed amount of flour, and gently tapping or shaking it until the flour sifts through. You can use this for powdered sugar as well.

Replacement Pastry Brush

An unused toothbrush is the perfect substitute for a pastry brush. A paper towel will also work in a pinch!

Easily Make a Funnel

If you have aluminum foil in your kitchen, you don’t need a funnel. Simply fold a sheet of foil in half width-wise and roll into the shape of a funnel. Or you can use an “egg shell with a hole pierced in it,” according to the book Thrift for Troubled Times, published in 1917 by Britain's "National Training School for Cookery"!

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