Good to the Last Drop: 10 Tips for Getting that Last Bit of Food

boy licking spatula with chocolateReaders: I had fun during this interview with’s Mammish on lessons from my mother on picky eaters, starting at minute 32.

In  Why You Should Finish Everything on Your Plate, I explain why scraping the last bits of food from the dish is more than just about saving money. A cleaner plate means less time picking out bits from the filters in your sink and dishwasher, and saves soap and water when washing. I don’t think we should teach kids to finish their food when they aren’t hungry, but we should train them to take a little less than they think they will eat until they get better at estimating quantities.

We deal with food remains when cooking and baking too: Every bowl, measuring cup, and jar retains food remnants. Here are my favorite techniques for getting that last bit into your recipe:

  1. Turn. Flip over the container or let the leftover pour out at an angle. This works well for liquids, especially sticky ones like oil. Take advantage of a spout or corner.
  2. Bang. Gently banging the side or bottom of a bowl will shake off dry ingredients like cocoa, rice, or flour.
  3. Scrape. I use an inexpensive spatula, with a square edge for when the sides of the container make a right angle, like with a food processor and a round edge for rounded bowls.
  4. Oil. Before measuring honey, spread a thin layer of oil or butter on the measuring spoon or cup. When making a honey cake, measure the oil first and then the honey.
  5. Reuse. When leftover soup is too thick, add the water to the soup storage container and then to the post. When making fresh soup, I add the water to a recently emptied tin or food processor.
  6. Dry.  Just like you can use a slice of bread to clean off your plate, mixing bread crumbs will remove the dried fruit from your blender or food processor.
  7. Eggs. Eggs have similar chemical properties as soap, so cracking an egg into a measuring cup will break down the oil. Try this only if you are not planning to whip the eggs.
  8. Like seeks like. Use a chunk of bread dough to unstick the last bits of dough still in the bowl.
  9. Time. After pouring, let the liquid gather at the bottom of the container. I give the squeezed lemon a few minutes to drip into the bottom of the juicer.
  10. Fingers. Truly the best way to get the last bit of egg white out of the shell, or batter out of the food processor. If you are worried about germs keep in mind that cooking will kill them, but salads and cooked foods touched by human hands do spoil faster.

What are your favorite tips for getting food out of their containers?

You may also enjoy:

10 Tips for Easy Kitchen Cleanup

Feeding Babies Frugally: Four-Part Series

The Secret to Great Home Cooking

: photo


Whole-Wheat Pretzel Recipe

homemade pretzel children craft

Summer vacation is here and I am always looking out for fun activities. Yosefa called yesterday and suggested we do a baking project with the kids: pretzels! This recipe calls for conventional yeast but when I have more time I will attempt to make it with sourdough. The kids enjoyed kneading the dough and molding […]

Continue reading...

Chicken with Carrots, Sage and Black Lentils

black lentils for chicken and sage recipe

I don’t usually cook chicken during the week but I was in a rush one day last week and had a fresh whole chicken on hand. This came out so good I had to share! The sage and the black lentils lifted the chicken onto a whole different plane. If you’ve never had black lentils, […]

Continue reading...

The Story of the Melted Food Processor

Magimix food processor stem damage

If you can love an inanimate object, then I love my Magimix food processor. Intensely. It’s a useful, durable, well-designed machine.  As Norene Gilletz wrote in her classic book, The Pleasures of Your Food Processor, the virtue of a quality processor is its ability to stop when it gets overheated.  On lower-quality machines, the motor […]

Continue reading...

How to Spot Insect Infestation in Dried Beans with Pictures

whole soaked bean with insect hole

A few days ago, I wrote about the reasons that beans may not get hard after cooking. Today I’ll address a different issue that also relates to beans that may have not been stored carefully: infestation. To avoid problems of infestation of grains and legumes, first follow the suggestions in my earlier post on how […]

Continue reading...

Why Are My Beans Still Hard after Cooking?

Have you ever soaked and cooked a batch of beans, only to find that they never really got soft? The main reason for beans that are still hard after cooking is the quality of the beans. Drying beans preserves them for a long time, but not forever.  Even if you just got them, they may […]

Continue reading...

Unstuffed Rutabaga or Turnip Casserole

raw turnips in open air market

Reader Ms. Krieger was experimenting with rutabaga, and developed this recipe for Passover. She thought it would work equally well with turnips, and suggested I add it to my links for turnip recipes. Recipe: Unstuffed Rutabaga or Turnip Casserole Ingredients 3 large turnips (or 2 large rutabagas) 1 lb. (1/2 kg.) ground beef 1 cup […]

Continue reading...

Jerusalem Artichoke Adventures

Jerusalem artichoke with olive oil and garlic

Jerusalem artichokes actually originate in North America, although they grow well in any hot climate. They contain inulin, a dietary fiber that may help diabetics. Inulin can also cause gassiness. “Jerusalem” is probably a corruption of girasole, which means “facing the sun.” Sunchoke, the official name for the tuber, probably led to the artichoke misnomer. […]

Continue reading...

Cook Your Favorite Recipes Faster


Most of us have our favorite recipes. And each time we make them, we do the same tasks again and again. Next time you make that dish, think how you might prepare some of the ingredients in larger quantities. This can cut the amount of time you spend preparing or cooking your food. Let’s say […]

Continue reading...

Get My New Book on Wise Use of Appliances

I’m excited to let you know about the publication of my first e-book. It’s called Cook Smart! Learn the Secrets of Your Kitchen Appliances and is currently available through Amazon Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon has a free program that will allow you to read the book on your computer. Cook Smart […]

Continue reading...