7 Alternative Uses for Brown Paper Bags

I’ve always been a fan of this lunch-transporting classic, but there are more ways than one to utilize brown paper bags (just ask the cat!). Click here to find out just how versatile these recycled wonders really are.

1. Mushroom Keeper: I learned early on that the best way to keep mushrooms fresh and stop them from getting slimy was to place them in a paper bag. This way the excess moisture is absorbed while offering enough protection to prevent them from drying out too quickly.

2. Onion/Garlic Bag: It is best to store these culinary staples in a cool dry place. There is no need to keep them in the fridge, just toss them in a paper bag in a cupboard!

3. Instant Gift Wrap: By scalloping the top edge and adding a bit of tissue-paper, brown bags make for charming gift wrap.

4. Cleaning Windows: Reuse old paper bags to clean windows. Tear them open and use these new "sheets" along with white vinegar for a streak free shine.

5. Rehydrate Stale Bread: Place stale buns in a paper bag, run it under a bit of water then stick it in the oven. The bag will help the bread become moist once again by creating a steaming affect.

6. Ripen Fruits: If you are growing impatient with those unripe mangoes, avocados or any other fruit, put them in a paper bag atop of your fridge and speed up the process!

7. Flower Pot cozy: If you receive a small potted plant as a gift and don’t have a vessel for it (and loathe the plastic pot it arrived in) just cut a brown bag to size, or roll the top of the bag over and stick the plant inside. Add a bow with some twine for a sweet natural look.

Remember, you can recycle the bags when you are done with them, or tear them up and use them in your compost. And don’t forget to reuse the paper bags that came with your Chianti or that formerly housed your baguettes!

(Image: Flickr member Stevendepolo licensed for use under Creative Commons)