May We Recommend: Homemade Kitchen Odor Eaters | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

May We Recommend: Homemade Kitchen Odor Eaters

(Ronnie Fein)

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Remember how your kitchen smelled after you fried all those Chanukah latkes? Or when you made curried chicken? How about that fish you broiled the other night – did the odor linger too long?

Dinner may have been delicious but sometimes there’s an after-smell and you’re left with housitosis.

You can get rid of the unwanted odors with scented candles, air purifiers, or bags of charcoal, but those products are unnecessary. It’s cheaper and easier to fix the problem using what you probably already have in the pantry. One way is to simmer white vinegar and water, but that sometimes leaves its own acrid odor. Another option is to leave open bowls of white vinegar, baking soda, or freshly ground coffee beans in various spots around the kitchen, but that can take too long.

Years ago, I figured out something that works best for me: a homemade spice sachet. Not only does it eliminate the reek, it provides a warm, welcome fragrance.

There’s no actual recipe. Place a variety of dried spices in a pot or a muslin bag. I also add some orange peel because I think it mellows the spices somewhat. Pour in several inches of water, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat to the lowest flame and let the ingredients simmer all day. Add more water as needed. That’s it.

Most of the time I use cinnamon stick, whole cloves, cardamom pods, allspice berries, candied or fresh ginger, and star anise. But you could also include pieces of nutmeg, tangerine or lemon peel, mace, whole coriander seed, and even apple cores. These homemade sachets last for days.


Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, friend on Facebook at RonnieVailFein, Twitter at @RonnieVFein, Instagram at RonnieVFein.

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