Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Adapted from this recipe from almost a year ago, I have since made 2 changes to this recipe.
– using plain flour sold in bulk from the wet market
– substituting fresh milk with milk powder

With these alterations, I have done away with the need to recycle the plastic bags from bread flour as well as plastic bottles and paper cartons from fresh milk purchase.  Less time spent on rinsing and sorting recyclables, more time for a longer breakfast.


Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

300g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
135g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg **
130g water
25g cold unsalted butter, cubed

** I use egg that weighs 55g with shell

In a mixer bowl, mix well the dry ingredients: plain flour, yeast, sea salt, raw sugar, and milk powder with a hand whisk.  Add cooled mashed taro, egg, and half of the water to the dry ingredients, and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add in the remaining of the water, with the mixer running, until the ingredients come into a ball.  You might need more or less water stated in the recipe, depending on the moisture content of the taro.  Let the dough stand for 15 minutes, covered.

Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again, and knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should have expanded, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.   Let this sit in a draft free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

Simple Pleasures

 

// repurpose my old bamboo toothbrush as plant pot markers, the bristles are made with horse bristles, composting them directly inside the soil.

// upcycled my raisin tub into a handy tea seed powder dispenser.

// glass bottle collection getting uncontrollable.

// another glass-bottle-turned-beaker to serve my homemade zero waste ginger black molasses tea in, more on this tea recipe later.

// when all the honey is gone, the tub turns itself into a useful container for soaking 2 cups of soy beans over night in the chiller.  Homemade soy milk!

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

I usually don’t stock up on fresh produce on Sundays until I get to see the kind of leftovers I end up with on Mondays.  Leftovers refers to both balance uncooked ingredients and unfinished cooked food.  I did pretty well on my “Zero Food Waste” score card this weekend.  Only a small bunch of not-that-fresh-anymore spinach in the crisp drawer and a vegetarian dish (above) leftover from Sunday’s dinner.

In need of more ingredients for dinner tonight, I visited to the wet market this morning to see what items were unsold after a frenzy weekend.  Most of the balance vegetables delivered during wee hours on Sunday morning were hardly fresh anymore with many leafy vegetables close to wilting.  Without me asking, the seller even advised me to cook the items by dinner tonight, or else don’t buy.  So I bought the following 3 leftover items.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Kangkong.  The chilli padi came free I mentioned that I will be stir frying the vegetable with minced garlic.  ” Taste better with chilli!” was his advice, before repeating for the umpteenth time: “must cook by tonight ah….I sell you very cheap, really cannot keep….”  Incidentally, lot of my cooking skills are imparted by these hidden experts at the market, they are never too stingy to share a recipe or two, amidst the busy transactions.  Although the methods are usually very simple and nothing fanciful, these basic recipes are usually also the best way to bring out the original flavor of the ingredients.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Button mushrooms.  When I saw this cardboard box of mushrooms left at the stall, my first reaction was: plastic-free button mushrooms, I found you finally!  Getting all these for just $3 was an additional bonus.  Of large size and still relatively firm, there was actually no need to clear these so cheaply, they will last a few days more in the chiller, but I guess the stallholder needed the space for fresher stocks that will be arriving tomorrow.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Cauliflowers.  Again, these are not at their prettiest.  The stallholder managed to salvage these 3 heads by shaving off florets that had turned brown/black.  Uncle added that “these are from Australia, very good, very sweet, very sayang (heartache) to waste.” They sure know that the growers work very hard to produce these.


++ Update : How I use up these leftovers ++

#001 : this vegan cauliflower creamy mushroom soup with the mushrooms and cauliflowers.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#002 : this meat-free Donburi made with partial Sunday dinner leftover

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#003 : this kang kong stir fry

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#004 : this reheated Sunday dinner leftover dish with added ingredients, remember that not so fresh spinach in the crisp drawer?

 Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

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Nutella Swirl Bread

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

Mashed taro is my favorite thing to add to the bread recipes I bake. They never alter the bread color or flavor, simply making the bread texture softer than usual.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

I finally got my white flour from the market but I didn’t want to bake a white bread loaf, so I mixed some wholemeal flour into this Nutella swirl bread.  The addition of taro always makes my bread soft and fluffy even when I mix some wholemeal flour into the dough.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

I am kind of a Nutella fan (it’s not that hard to be one anyway,) ‘kind of’ because we are in the process of making an 850g jar to last for 4 months.  If we finish up a bottle sooner than planned, we’ll just have to wait until the next “buy-Nutella-month” comes along.  This makes us ration our Nutella treats really carefully and explore other sandwich/toast/breakfast options.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

This Nutella swirl loaf merely used up 3 heaped teaspoons of Nutella as I spread them as thinly as possible on the bread dough, before rolling it up for a final proof inside the Pullman bread tin.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

It’s certainly not as luxurious as this or this, but I still managed to taste the chocolate hazelnut spread with every bite.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

The bread is best eaten on the day it’s baked, if serve while it is still warm will be even better.  Remember what I mentioned earlier about how taro produces soft fluffy bread?  I almost forgot that I added 100g of wholemeal flour to this loaf.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

The top crust were baked to a beautiful golden brown shade. I brushed it with melted butter immediately when the bread is cooked to keep it soft instead of crusty when the bread cools completely.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co


Nutella Swirl Bread

200g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
130g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon milk powder **
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
80g water
25g cold butter cubed
3 heaped teaspoons Nutella spread ***

** I use milk power to substitute fresh milk, optional.  If you prefer fresh milk, use it in place of water in the recipe.

*** I use the minimal amount of Nutella in the recipe, feel free to add more according to preference.

In a mixer bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together ( plain and wholemeal flour, raw sugar, salt, yeast,milo powder) with a hand whisk.  Then add mashed steamed taro, egg, and slowly add the water with the mixer running.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  You may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again to knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter one by one, and knead till the dough reach window pane stage.  This is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Stop mixer and leave dough to bulk rise for 60 minutes.

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough to deflate and transfer to a clean work top.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Flatten the dough into a rectangular, with one end about the length of the longer side of pullman tin so that when the rolled up dough fits the baking tin.  Spread Nutella and rolling up the dough swiss roll style.  Pinch opening to seal tightly.  Place dough in a Pullman tin, seam side downwards.  Leave this aside to proof for 60minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 170C, and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven immediately after baking time is up, and brush melted butter over the top crust.  Let bread cool.

If not eaten immediately, store in airtight container keep the crumbs from drying out.

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Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + CoOat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

The dry goods store ran out of plain flour so I went home looking for a wholemeal flour recipe to bake instead.

I ended up baking with this oat and wheat sandwich bread recipe but not before tweaking it with homemade oat flour instead of rolled oats.  Simply run the rolled oats/instant oats/oatmeal in food processor for a while until they become oat flour.  Instant, quick-cooking version or not, all works.  If you want them really fine, sift before using.  If not, simply dump everything like me into the recipe that calls for oat flour, I consider those larger bits as “additional fibre”.  I have been doing this for years, saving money and storage space for yet another pantry item.  Since it is so easy to make, I only make what I need to use up, nothing more.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

Back to the bread.  Another interesting thing I find about this recipe is that I can leave the dough to ferment in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Sounds like a good idea for Sunday breakfast.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I knead the dough until window pane stage although the original recipe didn’t mention.  It’s my ticket to fluffy soft bread.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I proof all my loaves in a 10 inch diameter pot with a glass cover, so I can see how much the dough has risen.  Before baking, I brushed the top with water and sprinkled some rolled oats for decoration.  But…..

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

… the rolled oats topping seemed unnecessary afterall as they fell off while I sliced cooked bread.  I won’t mention this step in the recipe below.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

For some reason (low gluten flour as this article stated?) the bread slice was crumbly, but held together better significantly after popping it inside toaster for 2 minutes.  Come to think of it, I have never baked a bread without plain flour, most of my homebaked wholemeal bread is a 50/50 flour mix.  5-day fermentation is the next thing to try with this bread recipe.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co


Oat and Wholewheat bread loaf

adapted from here

315g wholemeal flour
80g oat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 egg
1 1/4 cup water
25g chilled butter, cubed

In a mixer bowl, place these ingredients: wholemeal flour, oat flour, sea salt, raw sugar, instant yeast, egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin. If the dough is sticky, flour hands and worktop to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the crumbly loaf from further drying out.

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Pumpkin Shaped Buns

Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co

Fall or not, pumpkin puree is a great addition to bread recipes throughout the year as they make loaves and buns pillowy soft naturally.  I will spare my family from another bread loaf for breakfast and shape these buns into tiny pumpkin lookalikes by using butcher twine/cooking string from Daiso to section the ball dough into 8 sections.  Once the dough balls expand through the strings, they will form pumpkin shaped buns after baking.  Pity these strings cannot be reused since bread pieces got stuck onto them during the rising and baking stage.  I had to discard them after making these buns.

Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co

The extremely warm room temperature lately made the dough rise faster than usual, took it just 40 minutes for the first rise and 20 minutes for final proof.  The higher room temperature in my kitchen also seemed to make the dough wetter than usual after adding chilled butter cubes and didn’t look like it was reaching anything closer to window pane stage after 15 minutes of kneading.  I tried lowering the dough temperature by placing ice packs around the mixing bowl while it was running.  I previously tried with a towel soaked with ice water and it worked out beautifully; the dough reached window pane stage in no time.  But these reusable ice backs are even more convenient.

Though the ice packs can be easily made with a ziplock bag and water, I have quite a number of these reusable ice packs stashed inside my freezer.  Alway frozen, always ready.  They are super handy when packing cold food or shopping for chiller items, and unlike the homemade ones, these won’t leak.

Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co

To serve, remove the strings carefully without tearing the soft buns apart.  I stick a clove on top of each bun to make them look even more like pumpkins.

Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co Pumpkin Shaped Buns // Mono + Co

I also used ready made red bean paste from Daiso as fillings but you can home make some pumpkin fillings like this for more festive cheer.

 


Pumpkin Shaped Buns

recipe yields 8 buns

200g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
120g steamed pumpkin, pureed
1/2 beaten egg**
2 tablespoons milk powder ***
50g water
20g cold butter, cubed
red bean paste as filling
8 cloves, for garnish

** I usually add 1 whole beaten egg (70g without shells), but the warm weather made it difficult to work with a wet dough, so I added just half of the beaten egg.  If you prefer to add the entire egg to save the trouble of not knowing what to do with the other half (I usually add more eggs and cook omelette), adjust the water added subsequently accordingly.

*** I am in the midst of replacing our household fresh milk consumption with milk powder in order to cut own on the number of plastic bottles and milk cartons we are sending to the recycling bin weekly.  If you don’t have milk powder, simply omit it and replace water with fresh milk.  I wouldn’t recommend buying a bag of dry milk powder just to use 2 tablespoons if you already have fresh milk at home.

In a mixer bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: plain flour, wholemeal flour, instant yeast, raw sugar, salt, and milk powder, into a uniform mixture.  Add pumpkin puree, beaten egg and start the mixer knead with a dough hook attachment on its lowest speed (KA 1).  Add water slowly and stop the mixer when all the ingredients come into a rough ball, you might need lesser water than the amount stated in the recipe, depending on the moisture level of the pumpkin puree, watch the dough and adjust accordingly.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

After resting the dough for 15 minutes, start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 40 to 60 minutes.

To test if the dough is ready to be shaped, poke a hole in the center with a floured finger, the dent should not bounce back if the bulk rise is completed.  Once the dough is ready, punch down the dough to deflate it, and transfer it to a clean work top.

Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.  Roll each portion into a ball, flatten it and place a tablespoon of red bean paste in the center. Wrap up the filling with the dough, seal it tighly shape it into a ball.

With seam side facing downwards, tie a long string across the bun like this and place it on baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 20 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 20 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely.  Remove string, place a clove on top of each bun as decoration before serving.

Store in a covered container if not consumed immediately, to keep the crumbs from drying out.

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Browned Banana Belgian Waffles

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

I finally got myself a Belgium waffle maker after taking an awfully long time to consider.  Since I have a habit of “depreciating” my appliance purchases to $1 per use, I will need to make waffles 152 times for this latest splurge. My husband says I am crazy since I don’t even eat store-made waffles that often.  But that’s only because waffles are costly at cafes.  I have always secretly wanted my ice-cream orders to be served with crispy-edged waffles, but I ended up choosing an extra or two scoops of ice-cream over getting the waffle for almost the same price.

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

This is waffles batch #02 of 152.  The first batch was prepared the day before with a long time favorite recipe from here.  I am not completely filling up the bottom half of the waffle maker yet for the first few trials in case the batter overflows during cooking.  Taking my time to know my waffle maker better as cleaning will be a huge issue since the waffle plates are not removable for washing under the tap.  I always take pride in my ability to keep my appliances staying in mint condition and my cleaning trick is really simple: baking soda.  So in case, I regret this purchase after waffle batch #10, at least I can resell it as a second-hand looking brand new.

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

This batch of waffles is made with browned bananas after I accidentally “suffocated” them in my shopping bag and they started to turn black all under 3 hours.  Usually I would clear these the fastest way by making milk shakes.  This time, I blended them with milk to make batter for waffles.


Banana Belgium Waffle

adapted from here
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup rice brand oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
softened butter,for greasing waffle iron before making each waffle
raw honey, for serving

** I omitted 2 tablespoons of sugar from the original recipe as I serve the waffles with honey. They will be quite bland on its own, so if you prefer your waffles to be sweet tasting, go ahead and add sugar to the batter recipe.

Blend chopped bananas with milk until smooth to make banana flavored milk.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter.  Add 1 or 2 heap teaspoon of plain flour if the batter is too watery due to the addition of ripened banana.

Preheat waffle maker.

Grease the waffle iron generously with butter.

Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook according to equipment instructions.

Serve immediately, with honey drizzle.

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Zero Waste Homemade Cooling Tea : Monk Fruit +Dried Longans

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

Monk fruit (罗汉果) tea is one of the easiest cooling tea to make at home.  The dry goods stores at wet market and chinese medicine halls sell them in bulk without packing, at just 30 cents per fruit.  The dry goods store I visit frequently also carries dried longan flesh (minus the shells) in bulk, so I add them to my homemade cooling tea occasionally for additional nutritional benefits.

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

Just 6 simple steps:
++ Bring a pot of water (1 litre to 1 fruit) to boil.
++ Scrub clean the outer shell of the monk fruit, crush the fruit with bare hands and break up the flesh of the fruit further into 4 parts.  Since the fruit is not eaten and needs to be separated from the tea, I try not to crush the shell and flesh into too many tiny pieces to save me the trouble to search for them after making the tea.
++ Add the shell and flesh into the pot of boiling water, boil on high heat for 5 minutes.
++ Add dried longans, turn the heat down slightly, cover the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
++ Turn off the heat and let the tea cool down completely.
++ Remove the remains of monk fruit and serve.

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

The remains go into my frozen stash for composting, nothing for the incinerator.

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11 (Almost) Free Stuff

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co 11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

I picked up these two discarded items from my void deck :

(top) the crockery jar pot still has its “$19.90” price sticker intact, so my guess is that it’s brand new.

(bottom) this Pyrex brand beaker is actually a carafe dismantled from a poorly maintained french press coffeemaker.  The “plunger” component is missing, all that was left was a badly stained plastic frame and this glass carafe.  After a 30-second soak in hot water, the beaker slides out from the frame easily.  Another 30-second scrubbing with baking soda, the glass beaker starts to look pretty and new again.  Open terrarium, anyone?

While it’s not every day that I can find free usable things on my walking path, here are 10 almost-free items that pop up occasionally in my kitchen:

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++ 001. FREE! BODY SCRUB – from used coffee grounds after a morning cuppa.  After I posted this idea on my FB, someone alerted me that the caffeine is great for banishing cellulite too.  Although most recipes I found online mix coffee grounds with oil to make body scrub, I am simply too lazy to wash up a greasy shower area after my home spa sessions, so I stick to just plain old coffee grounds.  If you don’t drink coffee at home, try requesting used coffee grounds from cafes, a tip some home gardeners share as they use the coffee grounds from cafes as fertilizers.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++002. FREE! CUTTING BOARD CLEANER – Most instructions like this and this ask for freshly cut lemon halves which are used to rub salt into the board.  I use only lemons that have their juice squeezed out to make lemonade.  I don’t have extremely strong arms, so there is always residual juice left in the pulp, not a lot, but somehow enough to cover the entire chopping board.  Great for freshening up boards that are starting to transfer too much garlic smell onto any food that it is in contact with.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++003. FREE! FOOD SAVERS – Reuse glass jars as tiny food savers.  See though means I know exactly what’s inside my fridge, and what I need to clear.  No food wasted.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++004. FREE! TEA LIGHT HOLDERS – Tiny glass jars are the perfect size for this project.  More glass upcycling ideas here.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++005. FREE! WRITING PAPERS – End of the school year means that the kids will be back with half used exercise books, I have been doing this with my limited book binding skill when I accumulate enough sheets.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++006. FREE! MESH PRODUCE BAGS – I asked for these from the vegetable stall holder who throws them away anyway.  Great replacement for plastic bags.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++007. FREE! TRASH BAGS. Anything that comes in a plastic bag can become a trash bag.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++008. FREE! SHOPPING BAGS – These 10kg rice bags with handles can carry up to 10kg loads of shopping items, open up the sewn rice bag like this to do the least damage to it and start reusing these tough bags!

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++009. FREE! KEEPSAKE BOX – Upcycled from fanciful mooncake boxes.

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++010. FREE! RUBBER BANDS – Why buy these anyway?

11 (Almost) Free Stuff // Mono + Co

++ 011. FREE! DESICCANT – These little sachets are in every individually sealed mooncakes.  I also found them in groundnut snacks.  I throw them inside any airtight containers that could do with a little less moisture, e,g, cookie jars, coffee grounds, tea leaves etc.

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