Nine Ways to Use Flour Sack Towels in the Garden and Kitchen
Flour sack towels are great for soaking up spills and cleaning mirrors for a streak-free shine. They also make lovely napkins and can be decorated or embroidered for an individualized touch. The ways to use cotton flour sack towels around the home are seemingly endless. For example, did you know you can use flour sack towels to keep your plants healthy? Or to make your own Greek yogurt at home?
In this piece, we’ll explore how flour sack towels come in handy in the garden and the kitchen in new and inspiring ways. There are plenty of reasons to love these classic cotton towels, and their versatility makes them timeless additions to any household.
Three Ways to Use Flour Sack Towels in the Garden
Flour sack towels are gentle but highly absorbent, making them great companions for delicate materials like plant leaves and vegetable skins. Here’s how you can use flour sack towels to promote plant health and transport your home-grown treasures safely from the garden to your kitchen.
1. Line Planters
Most plants require proper drainage to survive and grow, but the soil should be kept evenly moist. It’s important to choose planters that have a drainage hole, but sometimes these holes allow too much soil to fall through — that’s where flour sack towels can come in handy.
You can line a flower pot with a flour sack towel underneath the soil and cover the drainage hole without causing water to back up. The flour sack towel will allow the water to drain while preventing soil loss.
Use a flour sack towel as a pot liner to easily pick a plant up out of its pot, too. This makes transplanting or changing your soil a lot less messy. You can also use liners to separate several different plants in one large pot for a display that’s rich in color and texture.
Lastly, flour sack towels as a liner can be used to drain water when using planters that have no drainage holes. Use a flour sack towel to lift the plant and drain excess water, and make sure water hasn’t puddled at the bottom of the pot.
2. Protect Plants
You can also use flour sack towels as a barrier against harsh weather conditions in the garden. Protect your vegetable garden from frost by draping flour sack towels loosely over plants and securing the edges with rocks or soil.
Keep plants cool and moist with flour sack towels when the heat gets intense and the sun burns vegetation. Simply drape flour sack towels over plants to protect them from sun damage.
Flour sack towels can be used to keep pests away, too. Toss your pesticide to the side and loosely cover your plants with flour sack towels to create an insect barrier — just make sure to remove them before pollination takes place. You can also make a pouch out of a flour sack towel, fill it with chives, garlic, lavender and cedar chips and hang it near your plants to deter moths.
3. Line Baskets
Flour sack towels make pretty basket liners and protect the precious cargo inside. Going to pick berries or other delicate fruits? Flour sack towels can help protect your fruit from rough basket edges and prevent your produce from falling through any gaps. You can use flour sack towels to transport fresh eggs, too.
Also, berries like blueberries and raspberries can easily crush, so a flour sack towel can protect your basket from fruit stains. You can easily toss your flour sack towel in the wash after use, but a basket probably won’t do too well in the washer. Plus, you can wash flour sack towels before lining your basket to keep fresh-picked fruit free of basket dust or debris.
Arrange flour sack towels to hang over the basket, covering your fruit and vegetables as you transport them from your yard to your kitchen. This will help protect your food from bugs or other curious critters.
If you like to use baskets to store gardening tools or other supplies and want to permanently fix a flour sack towel in place, consider adhering the towel with hot glue. This simple craft will add a touch of rustic elegance to any old basket.
Six Ways to Use Flour Sack Towels in the Kitchen
Flour sack towels are kitchen must-haves. Here are six ways you can use flour sack towels for purposes beyond cleaning to save yourself the expense and clutter of unnecessary kitchen tools.
1. Dry Vegetables and Herbs
When you bring fresh vegetables and herbs into your home, it’s important to properly wash them before eating. You’ll also want to dry them well to get the best consistency and flavor in a dish. Consider how crisp, clean lettuce leaves taste far better with an oil-based dressing than if they were wet — the dressing slides right off with soggy lettuce.
All you need is a flour sack towel for a quick way to dry freshly washed greens. Try one of these drying methods from Food Hacks Daily to find the best drying technique for you. First, here’s the spinning towel method:
1. Lay a flour sack towel on a flat surface.
2. Place wet leaves in the center of the towel.
3. Grab all four corners of the towel and bunch them together in the center, over the greens.
4. Hold the towel up with all the ends gathered in your hand.
5. Spin the towel around like a lasso.
The towel will suck up most of the water, and any liquid it doesn’t absorb will spray from the spin.
Worried about coating your kitchen with water droplets? You can also use a flour sack towel to absorb water from a colander. Simply place washed greens, veggies or herbs in a colander and place on top of a clean flour sack towel to soak up the water that drips onto it. This method is a bit slower than spinning the veggies, but it’s much easier.
Lastly, you can use a flour sack towel to pat-dry your fresh produce and herbs:
1. Lay your flour sack towel out on the counter.
2. Spread greens, herbs or other veggies out on the towel in a single layer.
3. Roll the towel as if it were sushi, starting closest to you and rolling away from you.
4. After the towel is completely rolled, gently pat the towel — be careful not to press too hard.
5. Unravel the rolled towel and enjoy.
Want to know the easiest way to dry your greens? Spread them out on a clean flour sack towel and let them air dry for a half hour. Use that time to whip up a homemade dressing. By the time your recipe is complete, your lettuce will be ready.
2. Preserve Herbs
Sometimes we accidentally buy more herbs than we can use at the grocery store. Or perhaps you have a generous rosemary plant with more to give than you know what to do with. There’s no need to worry about creating waste. You can easily preserve your herbs and enjoy them for months to come.
If you hang herbs or dry them in the oven, you’ll likely lose some flavor and color. However, did you know microwaving your herbs is one of the best methods to preserve their qualities? And of course, your flour sack towel will come in handy.
Here’s how to dry your herbs using a microwave, plate and flour sack towel for long-lasting flavor:
1. Line a microwave-safe dish with a clean flour sack towel.
2. Pick the leaves off the herb you wish to dry and spread them on the towel-lined plate.
3. Cover the herbs with the excess towel or a second clean towel.
4. Microwave thicker herbs like rosemary or thyme for one minute, followed by 20-second increments until the herbs are dry. For more delicate herbs like cilantro or basil, microwave for 40 seconds, followed by 20-second increments until dry. Herbs should crumble when they’re ready.
5. Put the herbs away or grind them into a powder after they dry. Store them in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dark place.
Your dried herbs should be good to use for several months. Add them to your favorite stews, soups or atop a slice of pizza to elevate the meal.
3. Clean Berries
It’s recommended not to wash berries until you’re ready to use them. For strawberries, gently wash them under cool water using a colander. For more delicate berries like blackberries and raspberries, place them in a colander and dip them in a bowl of cool water. Gently swish colander around.
You can also use a vinegar bath to clean berries and keep them fresher longer. Here’s how:
1. Fill a large bowl with 3 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar.
2. Soak berries in the solution for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain berries in a colander and rinse with cool water.
When it’s time to dry your clean berries, pull out your flour sack towels. Line a baking sheet with clean towels and spread the berries over the towel. Then, gently pat the berries dry.
You can use flour sack towels to store berries, too. Line a container with a flour sack towel and the place berries in the container. Keep the lid ajar to allow excess moisture to escape, and store the container in the refrigerator.
4. Store Fruits and Vegetables
Flour sack towels are helpful when it comes to storing fruits and vegetables and keeping them fresh for as long as possible. Take advantage of a flour sack towel’s absorbent power and use one to line the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. Here’s how:
1. Wash out the crisper drawer.
2. Line the drawer with a flour sack towel, or as many as you need to cover the bottom of the drawer.
3. Wash and dry your veggies, greens or fruit.
4. Toss them in the clean crisper drawer — no need for containers.
The cool air in the drawer and the absorbent towel will help keep fruit and vegetables from rotting. Use more towels to create layers within the drawer and separate greens or other produce.
You can also wrap lettuce and other vegetables in flour sacks towels to store in the fridge and reduce moisture. Try this method to keep lettuce and herbs fresh for weeks:
1. Wet a clean flour sack towel and then wring out as much water as possible.
2. Spread the towel out on a surface.
3. Wash your lettuce.
4. Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces.
5. Spread lettuce evenly over the towel.
6. Fold the two longest sides over the lettuce, then fold up the bottom a little less than halfway.
7. Roll up like a burrito — not too tight or too loose, but firm.
8. Store in the crisper and enjoy for two or three weeks.
5. Strain Herbal Oils and Teas
Flour sack towels work great as disposable filter replacements to strain herbs for homemade infused oils or teas. Enjoy herbal oils in recipes or lotions, balms or a comforting bath.
Here’s how to make an herbal oil with the assistance of your loyal flour sack towel:
1. Place a hand towel at the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. Fill slow cooker halfway with water.
3. Turn the slow cooker on the “warm” setting and preheat.
4. Prepare herbs, such as rosemary or lavender, by gently rubbing between palms.
5. Place herbs in mason jars about halfway.
6. Cover herbs with oil. Use extra virgin olive oil if herbal oil is for cooking, or coconut or sweet almond oil for beauty products. Leave at least one inch of open space between the mixture and the lid.
7. Stir to cover herbs and release air bubbles.
8. Cap jars.
9. Place jars in the slow cooker.
10. Let herbs infuse for 8 to 12 hours on the lowest setting. Gently shake the jars occasionally throughout the process.
11. When finished, remove jars from the slow cooker and let them cool to room temperature.
12. Use a flour sack towel to strain the herbal oil.
13. Transfer the herbal oil to clean bottles or jars and store in a cool, dark place.
You can also use a flour sack towel to make your own reusable tea bag or coffee filter. Enjoy your favorite herbal teas with this homemade tea bag:
- One piece of flour sack towel 4 inches by 3 inches
- 12 inches of cotton string
- Two charms, buttons or beads to act as a weight
- A sewing kit
Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Tie the beads onto the ends of the string with a knot on each side.
2. Fold the 4-inch side of the towel over the string.
3. Sew the fold in place.
4. Fold the piece of towel in half and sew the bottom and outside edges.
5. Turn the bag inside out.
6. Fill with the bag with herbal tea, steep and enjoy.
6. Make Homemade Greek Yogurt
Many recipes call for using cheesecloth as a strainer, but you can use flour sack towels instead. Because flour sack towels have a looser weave than regular dish towels, they make excellent strainers.
For example, you can use a flour sack towel to strain regular yogurt and make Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains higher levels of protein and less sodium than regular yogurt. Here’s how to make Greek yogurt at home for a protein-rich snack:
1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl.
2. Place a flour sack towel in the strainer.
3. Pour yogurt into the towel-lined strainer.
4. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
5. Allow the liquid to drain. One hour will remove about 20 percent of the liquid, three to four hours will remove half and eight or more hours will remove all liquid.
6. Flip the strainer over into a clean bowl and peel off the towel.
Voila! You have turned your container of regular yogurt into Greek yogurt with minimal effort thanks to your flour sack towel.
Where to Get Flour Sack Towels
You now know a few reasons why some people are obsessed with flour sack towels — they fit naturally in a healthy, nourishing home. From protecting your garden to keeping your vegetables fresh, the ways you can use a flour sack towel are endless.