If you’re like me, you don’t really like the idea of using PAM or other vegetable oil sprays to grease your pots and pans when you are baking or cooking. I used to take a little bit of room-temperature butter, dab it on a paper towel, and use that to rub whatever needed greasing.
This usually resulted in a thickly-greased pan and a lot of butter smooshed (read: wasted) into the paper towel, which was then thrown away.
Hm. There had to be a better way, right? Well, I’ve seen that you can now get olive oil sprays, which are invariably healthier for you than the vegetable sprays, but you still end up with a leftover can to pitch and, frankly, olive oil isn’t cheap. Now, the method I’ve discovered may not be for everyone, but if you use a lot of butter in your household (after all, most baking involves butter, yes?) and have a little extra freezer space, this is a great way to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your butter AND frugally grease your pans.
This is a stick of butter.
Profound, I know.
So, you take the stick of butter. You set it on your counter. You go and do something for five minutes. What? I don’t know. Fold some laundry. Change your kid’s diaper. Read that blog post you’ve been saving.
Come back. Remove the stick of butter. You can either put it in a countertop/tabletop container to keep it soft and ready for spreading on a slice of bread or what have you, or you can go ahead and use it now if you’re baking. Whatever suits your fancy.
Now, depending on how long you’ve left it sitting, and how warm the room is, you should have something like this:
The one on the left was unwrapped as soon as the stick came out of the fridge; the one on the right, after it had been sitting out for … probably longer than ive minutes. Ahem. Point being, you have a wrapper, and it’s going to have some buttery residue left on it. What do you do with it? Well, if you were a typical American, you’d toss it in the trash, like I used to. But not now!
Now, you have one of two options:
a) if you are baking right now, slap the thing down on your pan and start rubbing it around. It will grease your pan, whilst the paper will prevent your hands from getting all greasy as they would if you used the paper towel method, or
b) you can fold it in half and tuck it in the door of your freezer, saving it for later.
When you need to grease something, just open the freezer door and pull out a butter wrapper. Pull it open, flip it over, and start rubbing on the pan. The warmth of the room temperature pan will slowly melt the butter and allow the pan to be greased as you rub the wrapper around. Once you’ve greased it, you can toss the paper, having used the last remaining bits of butter! (Or, if it’s winter and you’ve got a wood stove, add it to your pile of kindling…)
A note about letting it sit at room temperature before unwrapping: you will have some buttery residue on the wrapper if you just unwrap it straight out of the fridge, but there won’t be as much as if you let it sit for a few minutes. That’s fine, if that suits you – you just might need to use more than one wrapper to grease a pan, depending on how much residue is left on the wrapper. Six of one, half a dozen of another, really. Whichever your preference. Personally, I’d rather let it sit for a minute and just have to use one wrapper to do up a set of cookie sheets or a baking pan, rather than use more than one wrapper. But that is just preference. 🙂
I’ve found that the butter wrapper method is far more convenient than the paper towel / butter combo and frankly, just as convenient (and cheaper than) using a spray. What about you? What are some frugal and healthy “shortcuts” you’ve found in the kitchen?
This post will be linked up over at Your Green Resource.
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