My dad's parents were teenagers during the Great Depression. They met and got married during World War 2. Since grandpa was an NCO in the Army Air Forces/US Air Force, they were far from wealthy. They learned how to "make do".
Grandpa kept anything that might someday be somehow useful. My dad does the same thing. Can't throw that away, I might need that some day! I do the same thing, albeit to a lesser degree than the two of them.
Tonight, though--tonight I made myself worthy of the family name!
In a couple days it will be time to filter and bottle Quattro, my fourth batch of homemade limoncello. Primero and Due were both 100 proof, but I made those with 151 proof Everclear as a base, and getting the final product to 100 proof was very easy. Tre and Quattro used 190 proof Everclear as a base, and Tre ended up about 126 proof because I didn't adjust the recipe to account for the stronger Everclear. Tre was a bit too strong, though, so I adjusted the recipe so that Quattro should be 100 proof.
My limoncello takes 90 days to make, and Tuesday is the 90th day--time to start filtering and bottling. I have to filter out all the lemon zest that's been soaking for all that time! For the first 3 batches I used a coffee filter and a pasta strainer, but the process was slow, inconvenient, and messy (the bottom of the strainer was bigger than the opening of my gallon-plus Mason "soaking jars", causing much waste). I toyed with the idea of making some sort of custom filtering device that would fit the Mason jars exactly, but that's a little beyond my capabilities. I don't have a press or milling machine!
I do, however, have a plastic peanut jar and a gallon milk jug that I haven't taken out to the recycling can yet. I was toying with how I might cut, puncture and modify these to better serve my filtering purposes, but then an idea came into my head.
I have a plastic (former) soup container in my cupboard. It's a nifty size, I couldn't just throw it away, I might need it to transport some liquid or something some day! So it's been in my cupboard for years now. Literally, years. Just taking up space.
I thought, I should use that soup container! I don't need the lid--toss it!--but I could puncture the bottom of the container, put the paper coffee filter inside the container, and pour the limoncello with lemon zest into this jerry-rigged filter--all I'd need was a way to keep this container over the opening in my second gallon-plus Mason jar. If I solve that problem, my filtering and bottling process becomes significantly easier.
So I pulled the secondary Mason jar out of the closet and got the plastic soup container out of the cupboard. As luck would have it, the bottom 3/4 inch or so of the soup container fits inside the opening of the soaking jar--it'll just sit there, wedged in! All I have to do is put some holes in the bottom of that container and put in the paper coffee filter and I have a flawless (and efficient!) filtering system!
My grandfather and dad were very creative, resourceful men. When I even get in the same ball park as those two, I feel pretty darn good about myself.
And it all happened because I didn't throw away a plastic soup container years ago.