Many domestic chefs, whether cooking or baking, often find themselves in need of a greased surface: a greased skillet for a quick veggie saute, a greased pan for baked goods that don’t stick, or even a greased measuring cup for easy release of sticky substances like honey. A convenient commercial solution to this is aerosol cooking spray. But could used butter wrappers be a green replacement to these expensive and environmentally unfriendly sprays?
- Better for you – aerosol cooking sprays can release toxic propellants that you don’t want to breathe. Also the safety of the “flavors” and oils used is uncertain.
- Better for the Earth – no new trash introduced into the waste stream
- Saves money – If you already purchase butter in sticks, the wrappers are free!
- Less Messy – sprays easily escape beyond the boundaries of your pan, butter wrappers are precision applicators
- Have to remember to save wrappers, and remember to use them
I really enjoy cooking and baking in the kitchen. For a long time I used aerosol cooking spray (like PAM) for all my greasing needs. It did the job, but I noticed it was kind of stinky, and gross – not something I would ever want to taste all by itself. You can get sprays that are flavored like butter, or olive oil, but what are those “flavors” actually made of? Eventually I decided that it just made more sense, and was healthier to actually use butter or olive oil as a greaser when needed. I ditched the aerosol, and started using a paper towel or napkin dipped in the grease of my choice.
Sometimes it bothered me a little bit that I was throwing away a paper towel every time I greased something, but I couldn’t think of a better alternative. One day, as I browsed the crunchy mom blogs, I came across a great post about reusing old butter wrappers to grease cooking surfaces. Basically, you save the paper wrappers from sticks of butter for later use. You store them in the freezer and when you need a greased surface, you pull one out and put it to work.
It sounded great to me, so I decided to try it out. Two weeks later, I remembered what a great idea it was, and decided for real this time to try it out (any other working moms as forgetful as me?). Whenever I used a stick of butter, I folded the wrapper in half and left it in the freezer. Honestly, it took a few more weeks to remember they were there to use them. Habits can be really hard to break! Once I started, using them was really easy! I found it worked best to hold the frozen wrapper between my palms for a few seconds to soften the butter. Then it works just the same as a napkin corner dipped in grease.
Overall, this is a quick and easy way to reduce waste, and give a second life to the wrapper before throwing it away. My only trouble was getting in the habit of doing it, and forgetting to tell my husband about it for a while (he was throwing away the butter wrappers he found in the freezer because he didn’t know what they were there for).
Have you ever tried this green idea? Do you have other ideas for quick and easy green replacements in the kitchen?