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    Alternative Uses for Everyday Foods

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    Alternative Uses for Everyday Foods

    As homesteaders, many of us grow and consume food from our own land. They often grace our tables as main dishes, side dishes, or snacks. However, there are some alternative ways to use food that may help you out in a pinch. 

    Many homesteaders stockpile foods that may expire if not consumed in time. Instead of throwing out these food items, consider using them for other things. Check out these alternative uses for everyday foods that are good to keep in the back of your mind.

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    As a flammable liquid, alcohol can be used as a fire starter in an emergency. It also is a natural antiseptic substance that can clean out wounds or cuts or be used as a makeshift pain reliever if a bone needs to be set or a minor surgery is required. Here are some more uses for alcohol.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Boost your body’s pH level and relieve stomach pain with apple cider vinegar. You can also use this as a cleaning disinfectant. Here are some more health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda literally has over 100 uses. You can use it to deodorize your home, whiten up teeth, polish the silver, and more.

    Banana Peels

    Fertilize your garden by throwing a few banana peels into the soil around plants. You can also use the peels in the ground to help deter aphids from eating your tomato plants and ferment blossoms for bigger blooms.


    Add moisture to your nails and skin, or remove a ring from a finger with butter. Spread onto sticky residues as well to help clean up.

    Canned Tuna in Oil

    Use a can of tuna packed in oil to create a candle when you’re in a pinch. Tuna canned in water won’t work for this use.

    Coconut Oil

    Rub some coconut oil on irritated skin or slather on your hair as a natural moisturizer. These are just a couple of the many uses for coconut oil.

    Coffee Grounds

    Use leftover coffee grounds in your garden as well to boost the overall soil health and fertility. You can also make your own coffee ground skin scrub to lighten up your complexion.

    Colorful Produce

    Use colorful fruit and vegetables, like pomegranate peels or beets, as a natural dye for fabric and linens. Simply steep the food in water and add the fabric for a light dye color.

    Cooking Spray

    Lubricate a creaking door, sticky gear, or anything around the homestead that could use some extra grease.


    This stuff can be used for cleaning carpets, removing stains, deodorizing shoes, repelling pests, and many other things.


    Crisco has all sorts of uses, but one of my favorites is the Crisco candle.


    While composting eggshells is great, you can also sprinkle them around the garden or feed them to the chickens to help their own eggshell stability. 


    Garlic is great for your heart and an effective antibiotic. It can also treat cold sores, splinters, Athlete's Food, and it has many household uses. Some people would argue that it's the one plant every survivalist should grow.


    Use this sweet treat as a natural antibacterial by spreading it on wounds and cuts. If you source honey from local beehives, it also can cut down on allergy symptoms. Here are some more medical uses for honey.


    Clean your copper pans with ketchup, or try polishing your brass or silverware with this delicious sauce. Ketchup can also be used to wash those pets that run into skunks.


    Degrease and clean your kitchen or home with a lemon cut in half. Not only will it make cleaning easier, but it will also leave your home smelling fresh.

    Lemon Peels

    Chop up some lemon peels and throw them in your coffee pot to clean out coffee stains. 


    Swipe a bit of mayonnaise on a stubborn sticky spot or fill cracks in furniture with this common condiment. Mayonnaise also helps relieve sunburns and softens the skin and hair.


    Pour some milk on sunburns and dry skin to add in moisture and treat insect bites. 

    Olive Oil

    Everyone knows olive oil is good for your health, but it can also be lubricate hinges, polish furniture, soothe a sore throat, fuel a lamp, and many other things.

    Peanut Butter

    Get gum out of hair, remove glue from a surface, or use as bait for mouse traps.

    Raw Spaghetti

    Light a piece of uncooked spaghetti on fire to use as an extra-long match for those hard-to-reach lights, lanterns, or candles


    Keep jars of rice on hand to help absorb water from wet electronics like cell phones, chargers, and headphones.


    This is a go-to staple for those homesteaders that deal with any kind of ice or freezing weather. Keep salt on hand to help melt icy walkways or steps and remove rust. Sprinkle a line of salt to create a barrier for ants and use in the wash to help clean clothes. Here are some more uses for salt.

    Soda Pop

    Any kind of carbonated caramelized pop, like Pepsi or Coke, should clean jewelry, remove blood stains, and defrost a windshield.


    You should definitely have some sugar on hand, but you might want to get some extra so you can treat wounds, prevent infections, eliminate odors, and more.


    Sprinkle this colorful spice onto the skin for a natural antiviral and antibacterial application. Turmeric can also whiten teeth and detox the body.


    Much like honey, sugar rubbed onto the skin can help kill bacteria. Make your own sugar scrub for the shower to use regularly.

    Tootsie Rolls

    Chew up a few small tootsie rolls to place on a mousetrap as the perfect mouse bait. The sticky candy can’t be licked off, making catching mice less frustrating.

    Vegetable Oil

    Have a splinter? Soak skin in vegetable oil to soften up the area and make removing splinters easy.

    White Vinegar

    Mix a bottle of 50/50 water and white vinegar to create your own carpet cleaning solution that will attack stubborn stains. Out in the garden, spray 100% white vinegar on weeds to dry them out and kill them. Here are some other uses for white vinegar.

    While using food in some of these alternative ways may seem odd, it is good to know how to use these items if needed. Many foods offer benefits to skin and hair as they do to our digestive systems. Remember these tips for alternative uses for everyday foods so that you don’t waste your expired stockpile items and put everything to good use.

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