What Ice-Cold Can Do for Shoes, Eggs, Antiques and More
It is a myth that the life of batteries will be prolonged if they are kept in the freezer or refrigerator. According to the Energizer battery company, “Cold-temperature storage can in fact harm batteries if condensation results in corroded contacts or label or seal damage due to extreme temperature storage.”
There are, however, many items—in addition to surprising foods—that can serve you well by being kept in the deep freeze. Here’s what freezing can do…
Stretch leather shoes. If you have a pair of leather shoes that would be more comfortable if they were just a little bit larger, do this. Place a sturdy plastic freezer bag in each shoe (or double two thin plastic bags). Next, carefully pour water into the bags so that each shoe is completely filled with water. Secure the plastic bags with a twist tie, rubber band or string, making sure that no water will escape. Then to protect the outside of the shoes from getting wet, put each shoe in another plastic bag. Place the shoes in the freezer for 24 hours.
As water freezes, it expands. That expansion is going to stretch the shoes. A day later, when you take the shoes out of the freezer, you will probably have to let them thaw a little before you are able to remove the shoe-shaped, ice-filled bags from your shoes.
A Texas rancher told us that he used this ice procedure on a pair of his cowboy boots and that it worked great.
Make eyeliner sharpening more efficient. If you tend to break off more than you sharpen, put your pencil in the freezer for an hour, then sharpen it. This will result in a good point without wasting chunks of the liner.
Get wax off a candleholder. Place the candleholder in the freezer for an hour or two. The caked-on wax will shrink, and it will be easy to pick off, resulting in a clean candleholder.
Rumor has it that if you want to extend the life of a candle, freeze it overnight before burning it. Not so. Jeff Brown, owner of the Keystone Candle Co., has performed a convincing experiment showing that a frozen candle will not burn longer than a room-temperature taper.
Kill worms in vintage wooden objects. If a flea market purchase—a duck decoy, a bowling pin, salt and pepper shakers—has little pinholes, chances are there is a woodworm infestation. Ask people in the furniture-refinishing business, and they will tell you to keep the wooden object in a plastic bag in the freezer for about two weeks to kill the woodworms and their eggs.
Prevent steel wool from rusting. Once you use a wad of steel wool, place it in a plastic sandwich bag and keep it in the freezer. The steel wool will remain rust-free for weeks.
Kill dust mites on stuffed toys. To kill dust mites in that dragged-around and slept-with stuffed toy, put it in a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer for 24 hours once a week.
Make panty hose last longer. Before wearing panty hose for the first time, keep them in the freezer for 24 hours either in the package or a freezer bag—they will run less and last longer.
Get gum off a garment. Place the article of clothing that has gum on it in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours. Once the gum is frozen, you can easily pop it off the fabric.
Make coffee ice cubes. Prepare your favorite coffee, and fill an ice cube tray with it. When you want a glass of iced coffee, add a half-dozen of the coffee ice cubes to a cup of coffee. The coffee ice cubes will not dilute the coffee the way regular ice cubes will.
Get beer cold in 15 minutes. If company drops by and the only bottles of beer on hand are at room temperature, simply wrap each bottle or can with a wet paper towel and put it in the freezer. The heat is drawn away from the beer as the water on the towel evaporates. Fifteen minutes later, you will be able to serve nice cold beer. Caution: Set a timer so you don’t forget about the beer in the freezer. The bottle or can could explode.
Keep beverages cold when you have a party. Here is a festive way to keep beverage cans and bottles cold—fill six to 10 colorful balloons with water, making them the size of baseballs, or fill 20 balloons with water, making them the size of golf balls, and then freeze them. When company arrives, put the frozen balloons in a big bowl with the cans and bottles you want to keep cold.
Whip cream faster. Place a metal bowl and a whisk in the freezer for about 10 minutes. As soon as they are out of the freezer, add cream and whatever other ingredients you use and whip it. Because of the chilled bowl and whisk, you will notice a big reduction in the amount of time it takes to get the job done.
Make eggs last longer. If your eggs are about to expire, use this trick many chefs use—freeze egg whites and egg yolks separately in ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove them and transfer them to freezer bags for future use in recipes. This also is a good way to save yolks or whites when you need only one or the other for a recipe.
Make a frosty grape snack. This is one of those things that we thought everyone knew, but we asked around and many people didn’t know it. If you didn’t, you are in for a refreshing treat. Wash and dry red, black or green grapes, and remove the stems. Some people place the grapes on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, then freeze them and put the frozen grapes in a freezer bag. But we find that just putting the grapes right into the freezer bag before freezing works just fine. Whenever you want a delicious snack, reach for some frozen grapes. They will stay good for a few months.
Turn bananas into guilt-free ice cream. This also falls into the “everyone must know this by now” category. If you don’t already know how to turn bananas into custard or soft ice cream, read on. Peel ripe bananas, slice them into about one-inch chunks and freeze them for at least two hours, until they are frozen solid. Put the frozen pieces in a blender or food processor, and blend until you have a smooth, almost gooey consistency. Scoop it out, and enjoy a guilt-free dessert that is dairy-free and gluten-free and can satisfy the desire for fattening ice cream.