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What is a Grocery Store Loss Leader? How Does it Save Money on Groceries?

When I got on out on my own in the big bad world, I quickly learned that things cost money.  Shocking, I know.  I wanted to learn how to save money and eagerly dove in to read what everyone considers the epic and all time frugal living and money saving guidebook The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (you can learn more about it here.) ( Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience .)  Despite the preachy tone in the later chapters of the book (when you can tell she admitted to be burned out on writing her newsletter in the 90’s) and a few of the now outdated tips (floppy disks!) there are still some decent frugal hacks in her book that are useful today.  For example, Dacyczyn’s  (she pronounces it like Decision )  greatest money saving tip is how to save money on groceries by only buying the Loss Leaders.  Only problem is Dacyczyn doesn’t tell you what  a loss leader is and how to find them in the  store.   Save this money saving idea to your Pinterest boards f

How to Keep Brown Sugar Soft and 3 Ways to Soften Rock Hard Brown Sugar

Depending upon his mood, Husband sweetens his coffee with either brown sugar or straight up molasses. We go through spells when the super dark molasses filled brown sugar he prefers sits in its bag in the pantry and loses moisture. The result? Rock hard brown sugar you have to hack with a spoon.

howtokeepbrownsugarfromdryingoutand3waystosoftenbrownsugar What's this and why can't I open it? You should pin Lisa's post for later!

Terra cotta brown sugar savers (get more info about them here) are great for keeping brown sugar soft. I use them to keep fresh baked cookies soft too.

I like this brown sugar saver better than my disk because he is a little chef! 
You can take him home here. 
 (I included big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Unfortunately they do not work as well when you forget to seal the brown sugar bag – oops!

I tried folding over the top of the bag, clipping it with a chip clip (that I use for everything and on rare occasions to keep chips fresh) and sealing it in a zipper baggie. I also tried sealing my brown sugar in a BPA free plastic container. Both worked to varying degrees of success.

Do you know what keeps my brown sugar from hardening? Storing it in a glass jar.

If I tap the bottom of the jars onto the counter, 
I can fit one bag of brown sugar into two pint mason jars.

Instead of taking 5 steps to my left to grab a zipper bag or plastic container, I took one step to my right, pulled an empty mason jar from the cupboard, and dumped a new bag of brown sugar in it. The glass jar doesn't let the moisture in the brown sugar escape so it stays perfectly soft. My laziness comes to my rescue  again.

My stainless steel canning funnel (I bought mine here) makes the job less messy.
I use it more for pouring stuff to store in glass jars than I do for canning!

Three Ways to Soften Hard Brown Sugar

Brown sugar turns rock hard when the moisture in the brown sugar evaporates. You can soften hard brown sugar if you put the moisture back. Here are three ways to add moisture to hard brown sugar.

  1. Dump the brown sugar into an airtight container and seal either a damp terra cotta brown sugar keeper, or a piece of bread, an apple slice, or a damp paper towel in the container for a few days. The brown sugar will draw the moisture out and soften. Fresh citrus peels will also work but they may add an extra lemon or orange flavor to the brown sugar.

  2. If you are in a hurry, you can microwave the brown sugar for approximately 30 seconds (or more if you need to) to replace the moisture. I tried it with setting a small dish of water next to my brown sugar in the microwave and by microwaving the brown sugar by itself. Both methods work but how well may depend upon the amount of brown sugar you are trying to soften at the time.

  3. For overnight success, dump the brown sugar into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel overnight. In the morning you will have soft brown sugar for your oatmeal! 
Lacey takes the prize for best dog photobomb on the Internet. 

That’s how I keep brown sugar soft and soften hard brown sugar the lazy way. If you want more ideas how to keep brown sugar soft check out the following options - and more! - below!

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Thanks for the glass jar tip! Definitely going to change over immediately.
Melinda said…
Thanks for sharing!!
Unknown said…
Suggestion #1 works best - I always use a half slice of damp bread and in one day, sugar is soft enough to scoop.
Melissa said…
Thanks for sharing with us at Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop, your post will be one of my features at this week's hop. Be sure to stop by to see your feature and say hi!
Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead