Thursday, February 27, 2014
Strange washing machine uses
You probably think you can only use your washing machine to wash clothes, right? Well, there are many more uses that you have never thought of.
You have a big garden with lots of veggies to be sloshed around in the sink to get the dirt and dust off before you can blanch them for freezing or preparing them for canning. I don’t know what you do to them to prepare for canning, as I have never done that and don’t intend to. Too much work. However, if you can things, when the electricity goes off they are still good to go, sitting on their shelves in the basement or garage or wherever. I remember from my childhood my mother sweating over a hot stove with the canner steaming away, sterilizing all those jars of veggies in the middle of hot summer. That is not my bag and never will be. Canning must be about the seventh level of hell.
Well, after you have picked a huge bucket of turnip greens lightly coated in dust, what do you do? Fill the sink with water and spend an hour or so sloshing bunches of greens around to get the dust off. Same with collards, kale, okra, peas, beans, etc. After an hour or so you don’t care if you freeze all this crap or not. Plus you keep having to change the water, wipe all the puddles off the counters and floor, watch whatever is blanching in the big pot, wiping sweat off your face and taking the occasional sip of some adult restorative beverage (your choice).
Many years ago, in the 1960s I had a big garden. I also had this wonderful GE washing machine with three speeds, slow, medium and fast. It was the most useful washing machine I have ever had. The slow speed was ideal for delicate materials that would have torn apart at any other speed. Medium was OK for stouter stuff, and fast was for the sheets and towels which could take the pounding.
Let me tell you about the slow speed – a sleepy sloshing back and forth, back and forth which did the job without tearing up anything.
I discovered that the slow speed saved me hours of washing and sloshing veggies to be frozen. What I did was load the washer with, say, turnip greens. Let it fill while adding about a quarter teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to break down the surface tension of the water. Let is slosh about a minute, stop, slosh a little more if the greens looked clean, then let it drain at slow spin and stop it before everything was pasted to the side of the drum. The advantage was that this slightly broke down the firmness of the greens making them easier to handle and stuff into the cooking pot.
Now, there were many other things that could be washed. The pod vegetables were especially good. English peas, blackeyed peas, other peas, okra and other stout veggies which could be frozen went into the washer. They were always covered in a light covering of dust. I can’t tell you how many hours this saved me. Also, the washer had a good filter I could clean out in case leaves and stems got into the wash water. This washing made the pod veggies easier to shell, too.
Everything was shining clean, ready to be blanched and frozen and the spin cycle pretty much dried them off. I believe I actually cried when this wonderful machine died. It also did a fine job of washing clothes, too. Why don’t we have three-speed washers anymore?
If you have one of the modern (?) washers with only two speeds, you can still wash veggies on the slow speed, only allowing it to slosh about 30 seconds at a time, the same for spin, but it sure saves a lot of labor and gets everything squeaky clean.
On another note, if you have a whirlpool tub you can also use it to wash delicate items. Just fill the tub, dump in the delicates, let them circulate for a while and they are not torn up, you have a big space for them to dance around in and you don’t have to use your washer. I used my tub several years ago to wash some sofa cushions (oh, the black water) and they came out sparkling clean.
Think outside the box, folks!
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