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When you think of Crisco, you might envision your grandma whipping up a pie crust in her kitchen. Crisco is a commonly used shortener for baking, but you wouldn’t believe Crisco’s surprising uses when it comes to survival. It’s more than just a baking staple.
Crisco started over 100 years ago as a lard substitute in soap making. It’s created from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. In the original recipe, crystallized cottonseed oil was used, but soybean and palm oils are commonly used in modern times to create Crisco.
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A tub of Crisco can last up to two years before it goes bad, so you have plenty of time to use it in other ways. Here are 17 unusual uses for Crisco:
1. Egg Preservation
I never seem to use all of the eggs my chickens lay each year, but it’s hard to find a way to use them all before they go bad. There aren’t too many safe ways to preserve eggs for long-term usage.
One way you can preserve eggs is by using Crisco. When a hen lays an egg, it’s coated in a protective layer called the bloom. The bloom does extend the shelf life and allows you to keep your eggs out of the refrigerator for several weeks, but it won’t extend the shelf life as long as using Crisco.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Wash your eggs and pat them dry.
- Gently rub Crisco over the eggs and put them in an egg carton.
- The eggs need to be stored in a cool, dry place, such as a garage or basement, for nine months. Yes, you read that right!
This preservation method can keep eggs fresh for up to nine months. However, I suggest using the float-or-sink test to ensure the eggs are safe to consume before eating. The test is simple; put the eggs into a bowl of cold water. If the eggs float, they’re not safe. If they sink, they’re safe.
2. Enhance Calories
I don’t recommend eating Crisco by the spoonfuls—it’s far from a tasty treat. However, in an emergency scenario, you can add spoonfuls to your food to increase your caloric intake. That increases your chances of survival, especially when manual labor might be at a peak.
3. Preserve Cutting Boards & Kitchen Utensils
You want to keep all of your kitchen utensils in good shape, so try coating them with Crisco and letting it seep into the wood overnight. Then, rub it off in the morning with a clean, dry cloth. It adds a protective layer over the top that will stop bacteria and germs from entering.
4. Lamp Oil
Crisco liquifies, especially if you leave it out in a warm spot. If you have an oil lamp and run out of oil, you can pour melted Crisco into it and use it as a lamp oil substitute. It has a higher smoke point than butter, so it’s less flammable.
5. Survival Torch
If worse comes to worst, you can spread some liquefied Crisco on a rag or cut up a shirt and set it on fire to make a DIY survival torch for outside lighting. You’ll need to saturate it a good deal; let the rag soak for 2-3 minutes before trying to light it. It will stay lit for a long time.
6. Survival Candle
Run out of candles? Put a wick into a tub of Crisco, and you have a DIY survival candle. If you have a large tub, you can have between several hours and up to 45 days of burn time. That’s pretty good for a cheap tub of shortening.
7. Start a Fire
Fire is crucial in survival scenarios. It can help prevent frostbite and hypothermia, plus you can cook and purify water over a fire. If you only have damp kindling or need to build a fire when it’s raining, putting Crisco over the kindling can make it easier to light.
8. Snow Shoveling
No one likes to shovel snow, but it’s just part of life. One way to make your life a bit easier as you try to dig out is to grease both sides of a snow shovel. It makes it so much easier to scoop up the snow, so you can get outside and get to the things you need to be finished.
9. Grease Mechanical Parts
Don’t have grease available? Don’t panic! You can use Crisco to grease nearly any piece of equipment you have on your homestead or around the house. From mechanical parts on your tractor to a squeaky hinge, there is an easy substitute.
10. Rust Protection
Here’s a simple use for Crisco. If you want to protect your tools, spread a layer over them. It acts as a barrier to protect against water, moisture, and humidity. That means your tools will last longer!
11. Headlight Brightener
This might seem like a strange use, but if you’re bugging out in inclement weather, you’ll need your headlights to be as bright as possible. You might be the only light on the road.
Clean your headlights with Crisco; that helps remove bugs and debris while also preventing snow and ice build-up. It also can work in reverse. If you need to dim the headlights with mud for security or safety reasons, you can later use the Crisco to clean them off or mix the mud with the Crisco to create a thick coat over the lights.
12. Season Cast Iron
Many homesteaders cook on cast iron cookware, which can last for generations. You need to know how to season the cast iron so that your food doesn’t stick to the sides. Every homesteader and prepper should have some cast iron cookware in the pantry.
Use Crisco to grease the inside and outside to prevent rust. You don’t have to do this all of the time. It can be done periodically to keep everything clean and well-preserved.
13. Gum Removal
If you have a child, chances are you have dealt with gum in a child’s hair before; it’s not fun at all. There are all kinds of solutions that you can try for easy removal, and Crisco is one of them.
Lather Crisco around the gum and use your fingers to work at it, loosening and wiggling so that you can pull it out or wash it out with soap and water.
14. Chapped Lips and Skin
If you have chapped skin or lips but don’t have any chapstick or lotion, Crisco can be your easy savior. Just rub it over any exposed body parts that might be dry or chapped. You’ll be surprised by how soothing it is!
Chapped lips or skin might not seem like a big deal, but intense dryness and chapping doesn’t feel good. It can lead to tiny cuts and tears on your skin, allowing germs and bacteria to enter. In a crisis, you don’t want any scratches that could cause problems.
15. DIY Apothecary
If you want to create infused oils in a survival scenario, liquified Crisco can be used rather than other oils. It has a longer shelf life than many other carrier oils, so your herbal infused oils will stay good for longer.
16. Diaper Rash Cream
We have to remember that babies and kids will be there in an SHTF scenario, so we always need to be prepared. A diaper rash doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, a nasty diaper rash can be problematic; some start to bleed and become infected, so they need to be treated promptly.
Crisco is a simple option. Just rub some on your baby’s bottom to create a protective barrier. It will help to reduce redness and discomfort.
17. Soap Making
Last but not least, you can make soap using Crisco. All you need to do is mix Crisco with water and lye to create a slushy consistency. Then, add in any herbs or essential oils you want.
This mixture acts as a cold-pressed soap, so pour it into a mold and let it harden. Typically, the soap needs to age for 1-2 months before you can use it.
Always remember that lye can be volatile and dangerous, especially if you get it on your skin or in your eyes. Use proper eye protection and wear long sleeves to protect your body. Never pour anything into lye, or you’ll create a lye volcano. Add the lye last!
Who knew there were so many surprising uses for Crisco? It’s such a versatile item that is edible but can be used in so many ways. You may never look at that little container the same way again; it’s no longer just for grandma’s baking days.
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