Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Paleo Review Extra Large Straining Cloth

If you saw my Slow Cooker Ghee post yesterday, you may have noted I used an extra large straining cloth.  You may have wondered, where can I get one of those?  Right here or more exactly, at my Etsy store, Cavegirl Couture.  

Everyone could use one of these!
Whenever I’m in the kitchen, I’m always looking for easier, quicker and safer ways to do things.  One thing that always seemed to frustrate me was the process of straining.  I started out with a hand held strainer, like this one.  Don’t get me wrong, its still useful for certain jobs, but for things like broth straining and ghee making where you are having to balance the strainer while paying attention to a large pot of hot if not boiling liquid, it’s not ideal.  

The second issue I had was keeping my straining cloth in place while holding the strainer and minding the hot/boiling liquid.  If the cloth wasn’t centered exactly, the edges would fall or sag and I’d end up having to restrain my product.  I don’t use cheesecloth because it is expensive and falls apart before it can be reused many times over.  I have found men’s cotton handkerchiefs useful and sometimes I still use them, but they are too small.  

My first step was to find a better strainer.  I found this basket strainer that has removed my need to use one hand to hold the strainer.  Now even with this strainer, you are still dealing with hot/boiling liquids so you need to be careful as if you start dumping bones and vegetable matter with wild abandon it can splatter and or tip, but so long as you are using reasonable care, its easier and seems safer to me.  

A better strainer.  I highly recommend this one. 
My next step was to go into my sewing room and develop an extra large straining cloth.  The cloth is large enough that it will not fall over into the strainer and if it sags there’s enough overlay that it won’t lead to needing to restrain anything.  

The extra large straining cloth and straining basket in action!

No sagging!   No restraining!
Its machine washable and has a pretty rolled hem.  

A nice rolled hem.
So you don’t use a straining cloth when making your broth?  Why the heck not?  Even if you don’t buy one of mine, I highly recommend using a straining cloth of some kind in conjunction with whatever strainer you use.  Why?  It makes for a very clear and shippable broth that will taste better in the recipes you make with your homemade broth.  When I started making broth I didn’t use a cloth, but now that I have, I wont go back.  

Beautiful strained clear sippable broth.
I call the combination of these two my Broth Straining System (can you hear the infomercial now?) Certainly, you can make your own, but I’ve made a few of these and listed them at Cavegirl Couture in case any of you would like to make your life a little easier in the kitchen and support the blog while your at it - Win-Win!