The Handy Purpose Powdered Mustard Serves In Your Kitchen
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The Handy Purpose Powdered Mustard Serves In Your Kitchen

Aug 26, 2023

Picture a freezer of mason jars filled with pink, purple, and gold — you've had the foresight to pack several of them with stewed raspberries, blueberries, and preserved peaches. Perhaps you've also jarred some of your summer tomatoes to save them for a hearty winter marinara sauce. These jams, jellies, and stewed fruits are not only gorgeous to look at, they're relatively mild in the smell department. Not so for glass jars filled with pickles or anything with lots of garlic or ginger, especially if they're in those jars for months at a time.

The thing about preserving and pickling, especially if you're using pungent vegetables along with a great deal of acid, is that the odor can linger in your jars and then you can't really use them for other types of food. We can think of one positive yet unusual side benefit of pickle juice — it's the secret to thriving hydrangeas — but in your jars, it's creating a bit of a stink. Well, get your old-fashioned tin of mustard powder out because it's got some cleaning and deodorizing to do!

What you'll need is mustard powder and hot water. This how-to works best with glass jars — plastic containers retain smells even longer than glass and are harder to remove, so leave the mustard mixture in for twice as long if you're working with plastic. Pour boiling hot water into your jar and mix in one teaspoon to a tablespoon of mustard powder (use a teaspoon if the jar is smaller). Fill it up to the top with the water. Secure the lid and give it a shake once in a while.

Leave the jar for about three days for glass, and a week for plastic containers. Then wash and rinse as usual. A bonus tip: if after you've mustard powdered your jars and washed them and they're still problematic, before you toss them into recycling, place both the jars and lids in full sunlight for a few hours to let some UV rays work on your behalf. This might help freshen the lids, which could retain odors longer than the jar.