Reader's Digest wants you to know that the box of baking soda sitting in your pantry has many other uses beyond that batch of cookies. In a video uploaded on Oct. 15, 2010, the renowned publication's YouTube channel describes five unusual ways to use the ingredient around the house as part of its Extraordinary Uses For Ordinary Things series. From tenderizing pieces of steak to freshening breath, this white substance is surprisingly multifaceted — and already in so many of our kitchens.
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Just what is baking soda? Typically used in baking, the substance is also known as sodium bicarbonate. Food.com describes baking soda as "a leavening agent which reacts when combined with an acid such as buttermilk, yogurt or molasses producing carbon dioxide bubbles which cause a dough to rise." All You adds that baking soda can also be used to help treat dandruff, kill pesky backyard weeds, make tea less bitter and even make fluffier omelets. 

When it comes to tenderizing steak as seen in this particular kitchen hack, LiveStrong.com explains that baking soda acts as an antacid, "making the outside of the meat more alkaline," and therefore less tough. LiveStrong.com also mentions the chemical reaction's time-saving benefits: baking soda works faster than brining — and requires less physical exertion than whacking the meat with a tool.

With nifty tips like these, we no longer need to use our orange boxes of Arm & Hammer one teaspoon at a time for baking recipes. After all, what's more satisfying than using the items we already have in our pantries to do everything from preparing food to cleaning the house to freshening up our hygiene when we're finished?