Bean foot warmers: A great use for out-of-date dried beans

I know that I’ve mentioned before that my wife knows how to do many things well.  She’s very handy.  And today, she managed to put something together that not only got rid of some dried beans that were a bit past their use-by date — OK, over three years past — but made some money in the process!

A friend of ours had had these corn warmers for years.  They were flannel strips a bit under two feet long that were filled with dried corn and sewn together.  Pop them in the microwave, zap them for a bit, and the corn inside gets warm and holds the heat for quite a while.  They had finally become so threadbare that they broke and spilled the corn all over the place.

So, our friend had a proposition.  She had priced them already on Etsy ($15 each), and asked my wife if she could make three of them for that price each.  She’d rather pay someone she knows than someone she doesn’t.

Apparently word has gotten around that she can do these kinds of things.  This is definitely a Very Good Thing.

 Beans work as well, or better, than other alternatives

It turns out that dried corn is just one thing that can be put into the fabric tube.  Rice works, and beans work, too.  Rice can get a bit “pokey” after a while because of the form factor.  Bean foot warmers don’t suffer from this problem.

We had a few bags of pinto beans and some other smaller beans that were well past their use-by date.  But, since these wouldn’t be eaten, no problem!  She put the beans into a bowl and mixed in a small amount of lavender essential oil.  (It doesn’t take much!)  She had already triple-stitched the tubes from remnant pieces of flannel first with a serger, and then with a sewing machine.  (The goal:  Make sure that the fabric wears out before the stitching!)

Each one of the tubes held eight cups of beans, which was about $5 worth or so.  After filling the tubes up, she hand-sewed the open ends shut for prettiness.  It was easy, and quick, enough for next-day delivery!

My wife used remnant fabric.  She has a lot around because she loves to sew.  But an old winter shirt sleeve or a pair of tube socks would do the same thing — and would use yet another item that might otherwise get discarded.

There’s probably a use for something that you’d throw away.  Finding that use can be fun, practical, and even profitable!

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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