Bakers should be familiar with cream of tartar…especially those who love making meringue cookies, whipped cream, or egg white desserts. But did you know you could use it for lots of other things? Thankfully, cream of tartar is often used in tiny amounts, so a little goes a long way. That means you either have it on hand for years, or you can use it to help clean your home, your pots and pans, and even make playdough for your kids!
Cream of tartar is a natural product, and is formed from the sediment left over in barrels after the winemaking process.
In terms of usage, cream of tartar has multiple uses in food preparation–including stabilizing egg whites by increasing their heat tolerance and volume, and preventing sugary syrups, chocolates and candies from crystallizing. Here are a few other ways to use cream of tartar:
–Add cream of tartar to whipped cream after it has been whipped to help stabilize it. This is especially helpful if you’re using whipped cream to frost a cake.
–In the same respect, you can add cream of tartar to egg whites when whipping them to increase their volume and help them maintain peaks at higher temperatures, like when making a pie or meringue cookies.
–If you’re cooking vegetables in boiling water, you can add cream of tartar to the water to reduce discoloration.
–Make a paste of cream of tartar and vinegar (or any other acid, such as lemon juice) and use it to buff and clean metals, like your cookware. Make a scrub by combining 2 1/2 cups baking soda, 1 1/2 cups salt, and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Store it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use it, pour a couple tablespoons of the powder onto the cookware and scrub with a moist nylon scrubber.
–You could also boil a solution of 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice, and 1 quart water in a metal pot for ten minutes to help clean any buildup on the bottom or sides of the pot.
–Use cream of tartar in your homemade playdough to help prevent the formation of crystals.
–Mix in a small amount of cream of tartar to create smooth icings, syrups, and caramels.
–If in a pinch, make your own baking powder by combining two parts cream of tartar with one part each baking soda and cornstarch.
–Repel ants by sprinkling cream of tartar around the hole the ants came from. You can also sprinkle it on cracks and crevices near your doorway to prevent them from coming in the house.
–Combine a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with cream of tartar until it has the consistency of paste. Spread the paste around the area to be cleaned in the bathtub or sink. Scrub the tub with a brush and the paste. Rinse to clean.
–Remove sweat stains from the collar area of a button down shirt by rubbing in some cream of tartar. Launder as usual to remove the stain.
Knowledge is power! Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.