Cheesecloths are made of cotton, and it resembles gauze because of how loosely woven it is. It comes in seven different variations. You can choose one that’s ultra-fine or open weave to every other variation in between. The primary use for a cheesecloth is to make cheese. However, most people no longer use it for cheese making. Now, it’s become mostly a strainer, but it does have various other uses too. A few of them don’t even require food! If this has you sold, here’s where you can buy a cheesecloth:
- Strainer or Spice Bag
You might have a strainer for your spaghetti but not your tea or coffee. Maybe your regular big strainer is all tied up with other items. This is where a cheesecloth could become your lifesaver. You can wrap tea in a cheesecloth with some space for the leaves to expand and seep it in your hot water.
You can also do a similar practice with your coffee powder. You might have forgotten to buy filters or maybe you want to make a cold brew. Fine mesh strainers don’t work well, and you can end up with clumps of coffee beans in your cup. Cheesecloths have thicker material than fine mesh strainers to block them from falling through when you squeeze or steep.
When you make stews or stocks, the recipes often call for ingredients like bay leaves or sticks of cinnamon. If you’ve ever made stew or stock before, you’ll know it’s almost like a chase to try to find and catch a bay leaf or cinnamon stick. You basically waste time trying to scoop it out when you can just use a cheesecloth. Take whatever loose ingredients you need to add. Tie them up with a piece of string and toss them into your stew or stock. This still releases all the flavors you need without the search for the ingredient.
- Flavoring Soup and Thickening Yogurt
Cheesecloths will work with any type of soup you’re making because you fill it with what you want. Some people use it for parmesan rinds to stop them from leaving any stringy bits in the soup. You can similarly do this to the chicken to keep it extra moist or to infuse it with flavors like garlic cloves. It can help you when you need to strain your soup too.
When you get the craving for a thick sauce like tzatziki or labneh, you might not have any Greek yogurt on hand. Most people would skip the sauce and wait until they get to the store to buy it. However, if you have regular yogurt, you can turn it into Greek yogurt with a cheesecloth. All you have to do is strain it to make it thicker!
- Non-food Uses
Surprisingly, cheesecloths have multipurpose uses for non-food items. You can clean with cheesecloth when you’re in a pinch or just because it works great! Cheesecloths are lint-free. This makes them great for cleaning windows, streaky surfaces, or your easily fingerprinted appliances like your mixer, fridge, or toaster.
You can use a cheesecloth for medical emergencies too. Sometimes accidents happen in the kitchen, especially when you use a knife. If you can’t find a band-aid or medical gauze quickly enough, you can use a cheesecloth for a short period. First, wash your wound and cover with any antibiotic creams like Neosporin. Then, wrap your wound with a clean piece of cheesecloth only. This saves you from bleeding all over the place until you can find a proper wrap.
Cheesecloths make great food coverings. When you have a party outside insects sometimes get into the food and ruin everyone’s appetite. Likewise, you might have a pesky insect inside the house that won’t stop buzzing around the food. You can use cheesecloths to cover the food, so they can’t get at it. You might have to set something on top, type of band, or tape to keep it in place in case of wind.
- Dusting Powders
When you bake, you sometimes need toppings to make it even more delicious. Powder toppings can sometimes make a big mess if you aren’t careful. It’s even messier if you don’t have a sifter. If you don’t own a sifter, use cheesecloth instead. Take a layer of the cheesecloth and place it over a jar or container that has powdered sugar or cocoa powders. Secure the cheesecloth with a rubber band to hold it in place when you tip it over. Then, dust away!
- Blasting Meat
Meat lovers want their meat tender and moist. No one wants a dry turkey or steak. However, it’s hard when you don’t use marinades to get the same effect unless you cook it perfectly each time. To keep the moisture in your meat, use a cheesecloth. Soak the cheesecloth in a mixture with white wine, butter, olive oil, or anything else you can think of. Wrap the cloth around your meat while it’s cooking. This process seems like it wouldn’t do anything but make the food take longer to cook. Instead, it keeps the meat moist and tender while infusing the flavors into the meat.
Cheesecloths are typically inexpensive and provide you with multipurpose use. It can clean your appliances, strain, thicken yogurts, provide flavoring, help you in a minor medical emergency, or cover your food. It has many more uses, and some are unconventional, but it only adds to its charm. You can even reuse it with a simple wash!