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uses for wood ash

 
Posts: 93
Location: out in the woods of Maine
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My wife makes soap. We keep most of our ash for the lye.
 
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I use wood ash to cover anything stinky: sometimes our own kitchen buckets that have sit for a while or sometimes the bucket I (used to) get from the local bakery.

It pretty much kills the smell on contact
 
Posts: 51
Location: North-Central Minnesota
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I seem to recall hearing of ashes being used to clean a cast iron skillet.  Anyone know anything on that?
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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It was still light out and I needed to empty an ash bucket so here is the procedure. I use a fine screen to separate the biochar and nails. pick out the nails with a magnet. I am burning a lot of pallet fencing that is falling apart and much of it is oak. use a drop spreader to put it on mossy areas. Notice most of it is brown from an application a few days ago.  The coarse biochar serves as mulch around my tomato plants for the first year..
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Garbage can, screen, hoe, magnet seperation
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fill spreader with ashes, save biochar in bucket
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Spread on mossy areas ofthe lawn [second aplication]
 
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Nothing new here, I also have used ashes on driveways to melt snow/ice and provide traction.  Also, My Grandparents had a bucket of ashes in the outhouse to "sprinkle after you tinkle".  Helped to soak up liquid and cut down on the smell.  One caveat that I have learned the hard way.  Even metal buckets are not the safest to hold ashes.  My wife cleaned out the stove and left the metal bucket sitting on the carpet next to the tiled floor. Came back to find a scorch hole in the carpet and melted padding underneath.  We got lucky the ashes weren't hotter.
Michael
 
pollinator
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Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
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A few answers I didn't see posted:

1. Welding flux - it can be used to forge-weld steel and wrought iron. Straw ash is better than wood for this, and horsetails are even better.

2. Ceramic flux. If you can't seem to get your kiln or pit firing hot enough to vitrify the clay, you can mix in sifted ash in +5% increments in test tiles and get it to vitrify that way. - Another use is to make glaze. A mixture of ashes, clay, and ochre should yield a medium-high firing glaze. Add brown bottle glass to make it low firing.

3.
 
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My husband gave me the coolest book as a (belated) birthday gift; The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen.  The author Sean Sherman says;

"Culinary ash seasoning dates back thousands of years.  Just as smoke was an important, primal flavor that cues our original use of fire to transform raw ingredients into delicious foods, burning trees and the hard, inedible parts of plants is an ancient method of creating flavorful spices....
Corn ash is slightly sweet, dark, and a bit creamy.
Sage ash is peppery and assertive.
Juniper ash will turn the foods it seasons a dark, inky blue and add an earthy, piney, peppery note."

Culinary ash was probably an important source of minerals as well as flavor.
 
Posts: 42
Location: Aroostook county maine
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paul wheaton wrote:researching ...

Using it for a polishing solution:  "polishing plow bottoms"

tanning hides.

rubbing on your face for camouflage (it takes the shine off).

Making lye:  and with lye you can make soap and lots of other things.

to unclog drains

I read something about dipping the cut part of a potato in ash before planting the potato.

preserving fish?

a dust bath for chickens - killing lice and mites

traction on ice.

apparently, when used right, it can act a bit like a bleach with clothes.

Here is an article that talks about ash vs. lime on soils: http://www.tbars.net/lime.pdf

Some people put wood ash on fresh wood when pruning trees - to help the tree heal.





You're not kidding about the ice , we got hit HARD this winter and the ash is perfect for driveways, steps anything icey you may fall on. It was a huge lifesaver. Word to the wise, make sure you wipe dogs paws off before they enter the house.... trust me .
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
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I forgot to add last time that if creosote is built up on the inside of the glass in the door of your wood stove dip a wet cloth or sponge in fine white ash [ ma,e sure no scratching grit is in it] and rub it on the creosote to dissolve it, then rince it clean.
 
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Location: in the country in southeastern US
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:Seems like I've heard of ash being used as part of the process for making hominy?

Kathleen



Yes, hardwood ash can be used for making hominy because mixed with water it creates lye which is the hominy ingredient that processes the corn.  I have made it with lye, not ashes though, because I did not have access to hardwood ashes to try it.  Here are the directions I keep on hand in case I get my hands on some clean hardwood ashes.

Make your own lye water by dripping rain water (distilled for those with no rain catching system) through hardwood ashes. You might have trouble finding a barrel to make the drip system. Don’t worry, plastic pails that stack work just as well. (Better yet if you can get the baker at the local grocery store to give you a couple for free.) Proceed to make lye water in the usual manner and remember, if it not strong enough to suit you or to float the egg, you can simply run the weak lye water through another pail of fresh ashes to make it stronger, or boil it down to concentrate it.

To use the lye water to make hominy, put 2 gallons of lye water, 2 gallons of dry corn, and 2 additional gallons of plain potable water in a large non-reactive pot (that enamel canner works just fine!). Simmer until the corn kernel skins start to slip off. Drain, rinse and rub the corn through 4 cycles to get the lye out. Boil in the cleaned pot in water to cover until the skins finish coming off completely and the hominy rises top of the water. Scoop the hominy out and cook it as desired.

You can even skip the lye making step and make hominy with wood ash directly. Put two double handfuls of clean ashes (meaning you did not burn anything but just the wood) from oak, maple or poplar wood fires into 2 to 3 quarts of clean water. Boil for 1 hour, and then let it set all night for the ashes to settle. In the morning, boil dried corn in the water (strained if you like) until the skins come off and the corn color brightens, about 1-2 hours). Rinse and rub in 3 changes of water. Use the fresh hominy right away or preserve for later.

I like home made hominy much better than store stuff.  To preserve it, you can can it, freeze it, or dehydrate it.
 
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pollinator
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If you're gonna buy things, buy this thing and I get a fat kickback:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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