Don’t throw away those sachets of porous silica gel (also called dessicant) that come with white goods and electrical items. They’re used to reduce humidity in the box while the items travel from the manufacturer to your home – they can do the same in your kitchen.
– Silica gel sachets come in handy to reduce moisture in jars of herbs and spices and dried fruit – tape the sachet to the inside of the lid.
– To stop cast-iron and metal cooking utensils becoming rusty, leave a few sachets in the pan drawer.
– They are really good to keep dried seaweed including kombu from getting damp – leave a sachet inside the packet (though you will sometimes find a sachet inside when you buy it).
– Always make sure the sachet seal isn’t broken and if it is, discard it (though it’s harmless if eaten).
– The gel absorbs up to 40% of its weight in water making it ideal to stop cheese going mouldy. Pop a few sachets in an airtight container along with cheese and cured meats to help stop them becoming mouldy in the fridge.
– You can buy sachets of silica gel on Amazon – they don’t cost much. You can use them for all kinds of things from helping to keep documents dry to storing them in unused trainers to remove damp and odours.
Note: Never let children eat a package of silica or dessicant gel, not because of its contents which are not poisonous, but because they could choke on it. It’s just common-sense, small edible packages and children don’t always make the best bedfellows.