It was a stupid mistake. I grabbed the biggest pack of coffee filters – a 1000 pack – only to find out much later that I had chosen the wrong size for my coffee maker.
Coffee filters are cheap, that’s probably why I didn’t bother to bring them back to the store. I guess I should have tried, but I didn’t. Instead, I started finding ways to use these filters for something other than making coffee.
What I’ve found is that shopping cart style filters are super useful. It took a few years, but I used the wrong size filter stack, and not to filter the coffee! They became such a convenient item that I bought the same size again, but this time at the dollar store. More recently, I found 150 filters there for $1.
Here are some of the things I can do with a coffee filter:
1. Prevent splashes: Don’t you hate that mess inside the microwave? Prevent this by covering the bowl, plate or food with an upturned coffee filter to create a small canopy. It works very well because the filter is very absorbent but does not fly away when the food jumps and splashes.
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2. Quick Burst: Use a coffee filter instead of paper towels to clean and polish a mirror, window, glass table or chrome. There’s no lint and it’s super absorbent.
3. Protector of China: Be kind to your fine crockery or other types of dishes by placing a strainer between each plate and bowl to prevent pieces from slipping and causing damage.
4. Protect the cast iron: Once I cleaned, dried, and oiled my cast iron skillet, I placed a flattened strainer in the bottom to prevent rust by absorbing any remaining moisture.
5. Absorb fat: When frying bacon, fries, or anything else that’s fried in oil, I place a few strainers on a plate instead of paper towels to drain said items.
6. Food packaging: Coffee filters are handy to use as wraps for messy foods like tacos, burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. I love that they are the right size and catch stuff that might fall out when kids dig.
7. Support applied: Like a dryer sheet, a coffee filter makes a great detachable backing for embroidery and appliqué.
8. Bouquet garni: I learned this by looking at the food chain. Place the herbs and spices in the center of a coffee filter, then close it like a small pocket and tie it with a piece of string. Drop it into the soup or stew and let it simmer for hours as needed. Remove the small attached sachet before serving, leaving behind the essence and goodness without the twigs, ugly wilted leaves, seeds, etc.
9. Spoon rest: Place the spoon, spatula or other utensil you cook with on a coffee filter. It will absorb drips but won’t leave bits of paper on the item when you pick it up later, as paper towels often do.
10. Crib ornaments: Use a coffee filter to individually wrap special Christmas decorations or other valuable decorative items. This keeps the ornaments from rubbing against each other and makes it easier to nest them together for compact storage.
11. Blotting paper: Whether it’s ink, paint or pressed flowers, when you need to mop up, grab a coffee filter. It works perfectly fine.
12. Strainer: A coffee filter will filter soup, wine with corked bits, tea, or any other liquid you want to thin out. Place the filter on a receptacle and secure it with a rubber band. Pour the element to be filtered through the filter.
13. Disposable snack bowl: One or two basket-style strainers make an easy-to-hold snack dish for popcorn, chips, or nuts.
14. Seed Germ: Want to start sowing in time for spring? Take a filter and moisten it with water. Place the seeds to sprout on the filter and fold it over to cover the seeds. Place it in a small zip lock bag and leave it there until the seeds germinate and are ready to be planted.
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