In my cooking life I’ve had all these markers of recipes to avoid and when I stop avoiding them they become cooking milestones. At first it was recipes that called for a food processor, double boiler, chilling in the fridge for too long before moving onto the next steps, basically all these things that seemed like extra steps/time till I took the plunge. When you’re in a hurry, sure, these extra steps are impossible but when you’ve got time and something looks good go for it. It makes us better cooks and once I make the jump I’ll do it again until sometimes it becomes second nature!

One of the hurdles I overcame recently was cheesecloth. I seriously would get to points in amazing recipes and see the cheesecloth and just turn the page. Now though it seems like I use it at least once a week. Making that tomato water on Monday I could have used my juicer but it doesn’t have the same effect as the finer and more delicate cheesecloth straining. Last winter I made Paneer, the very simple Indian cheese that is no more than 2 steps, the second one involves straining through cheese cloth.

Here’s the thing about cheese cloth: it is cheap, it is super handy and it is reusable you can just throw it in the wash. So here are the ways I tend to use it:

Cheese making
Juicing (you don’t need a juicer really, just a blender and cheese cloth for most fruits)
Spice packets for pickles, soups, syrups
General straining
Cold brewing coffee (tie up your 1lb of coffee in a big piece of cheese cloth and seep in 2 quarts of cold water for 24 hours)

I’m sure there are many, many more uses for cheese cloth that I have yet to explore. If you have a special use send it on over. And even if you don’t go this direction, try something new in the kitchen!