When I boil potatoes, beans, or other vegetables, I often have issues with the water boiling over. Here’s a household hint in a hundred-year-old cookbook about how to prevent a pan from boiling over:
To Keep the Lid on a Boiling Pot – A teaspoonful of butter dropped into the water in which you are boiling dry beans, or other starchy vegetables will stop the annoyance of having the lid on the pot jump off, as it will otherwise do. The butter acts the same as oil on troubled waters and keeps it calm and manageable.
Cook Book (Published by Bethany Shrine Patrol No. 1, Rochester N.Y., 1923)
23 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Tip to Prevent Pots from Boiling Over”
I knew that trick but then the closer one gets to 100 ….
🙂 I’m constantly rediscovering “new” things that I’d forgotten.
I never heard of that.
I’d previously heard about using butter to reduce foaming when making jams and jellies, but don’t remember hearing this tip to keep pans from boiling over.
That’s one of those things I’ve heard about but never seem to remember to do in the moment.
Like you, I never seem to remember helpful tips when I need them.
Oooh, I learnt this as a child, but had forgotten. I have a hunch it didn’t work all that well?
I also wondered about that. I’m bettter at attending to my cooking now than when I was was young, so maybe pans boiling over are less of a problem.
Haha! I’m worse. Forgetfulness is my middle name.
My mother also said putting wooden spoon over the pot would stop boil overs, but I’ve never tried it!
I wonder why. One thought – Maybe the wooden spoon would cool the boiling liquid a little.
I got really curious after exercising my brain, so I looked it up, and it does appear to be based on science: https://www.simplemost.com/why-wooden-spoon-stops-pot-boiling-over/
Now, I doubt anyone’s great-grandmother was thinking about surface tension when she figured this out!
I had not heard that butter would keep a pot from boiling over, but I did read about putting a wooden spoon over it. I have never remembered to try that.
I’ll have to give it a try.
I’m sure the same goes for boiling pasta.
Yes, I think that it should also help when boiling pasta.
It doesn’t always work… especially for rice.
This is good to know.
I haven’t heard of that tip but I use a wooden spoon and it works 🙂
I’m going to have to try the wooden spoon tip.
Thanks so much for the helpful hint. I’ll have to give this a try. 🙂
Duh, now why didn’t I think of that! I use butter in jelly and jam making every time to keep it from boiling over!