Some foods give more bang for their buck than simply being part of lunch or dinner. Some ingredients go far beyond being store-cupboard items, and here are 10 examples of versatile foodstuffs.

1. Mayonnaise

Eat: make a potato or pasta salad or use it on a chicken sandwich.

Use: Mayo makes a great piano polishing agent, due to its ability to give a brilliant white shine on the keys. Mayonnaise with added water is also great to remove stubborn adhesive sticker marks on windows etc. Mix it with olive oil, yogurt and egg yolk for a great leave-in hair mask.

2. Yogurt

Eat: Use yogurt to make raita or as a cooling accompaniment to hot curries.

Use: Yogurt is a powerful sunburn reliever, and can also be smoothed on over other rashes due to its cooling properties. Yogurt can also be used in a facial to even skin tone and cleanse pores.

3. Honey


Eat: Use to glaze meats such as ham and chicken, or try as part of a hot toddy.

Use: Honey has been used for centuries as a soothing sore throat remedy, particularly Manuka honey from New Zealand.

4. Chicken

Eat: Chicken is versatile in many dishes, from roast chicken sandwiches to coq au vin.

Use: There’s more to chicken soup than nourishment, although doctors might argue that there isn’t anything medicinal about it. A hot bowl of chicken soup can provide a huge comfort factor when you’re sick or down.

5. Lemon

Eat: Add a slice to your gin and tonic, or enjoy a lemon meringue pie.

Use: Lemon is a great natural air-freshener. Cut open a lemon, squeeze it and leave it. The smell is much nicer than those fake lemon deodorizers you can buy (and cheaper). Lemon is also great as a natural worktop sanitizer and degreaser.

6. Sugar

Eat: Add it to a cake recipe, or pop a lump or two in your coffee.

Use: Sugar can relieve a burnt tongue. Sprinkle some over the burnt area, and press your tongue hard against the roof of the mouth for a few seconds.

7. Salt

Eat: Sprinkle over your fish and chips or add a pinch to your baking

Use: Salt can remove stains, or quickly bring relief from bee stings.

8. White Wine

Pour: Enjoy a glass or two with dinner, or add to cooking as an ingredient.

Use: on red wine stains. Pour white wine over the stain and blot it lightly with a towel.

9. Beer

Pour: Enjoy a pint with a curry, or use it in steak and ale stew.

Use: A beer hair conditioner will give your hair a treat. If the idea of the smell bothers you, the water from the shower will wash it away, so don’t worry. Pour lukewarm beer over your hair once you’ve shampooed, and you’ll have a shiny, bouncy head of hair.

10. Olive Oil

Eat: Olive oil is an essential ingredient in aioli, the garlic, egg yolk and olive oil accompaniment and dip. Olive oil is also great drizzled over salads.

Use: It’s a good moisturizer for your body. Some people put a few drops into a hot bath before soaking, but you can also simply rub it on dry skin.