The Reason You Should Always Have Cheesecloth On Hand

If you've ever created homemade cheese such as mozzarella or soft cheese like ricotta, then you know the important role that cheesecloth plays in removing excess moisture. Even if you've never made cheese at home, there's a good chance you know what cheesecloth is, but you're not aware of how useful it can be to have in your home, since this piece of fine cloth can be used for multiple things. 

As reported by Food Network, cheesecloth is a cotton fabric that comes in a variety of weaves, and a weave is a way of measuring the number of threads used per inch of cloth. The tighter the weave, the more threads used, and the finer the cheesecloth. And although some of the more delicate weaves are best for single use, according to America's Test Kitchen, certain types of cheesecloth can be washed and reused again. Although we often think of using it for the straining process in cheese making, cheesecloth can be a versatile cooking tool with a number of other uses in the kitchen.

Cheesecloth's many uses

Cheesecloth can strain a number of liquids, from cold brew coffee to using it to draping over a colander to keep bits of herbs or root vegetables out of your broths and stocks, as detailed by Simply Homecooked. Besides straining, cheesecloth can also contain things, such as when using it for holding herbs in a bouquet garni or using it to contain a parmesan rind to add flavor while a soup simmers (via Kitchn). It's also useful for soaking and wrapping around foods.

MasterClass reports that cheesecloth is an ideal device for making fruitcake, since this classic holiday staple traditionally calls for rum-soaked cake, by soaking cheesecloth in rum, then wrapping it around the fruitcake. This process infuses flavor, as well as helps preserve the cake. And the wrapping technique is also a way to keep oven-cooked chicken or turkey moist. Epicurious describes wrapping cheesecloth that's been soaked in a neutral-tasting oil around poultry to keep your bird from drying out while cooking. 

And, if you like to bake, you may be happy to learn that the fine weave makes a natural sifter. Per Taste of Home, just place some cheesecloth over a canning jar, and hold it in place by screwing on the metal band you use when home canning, and you're ready to top your baked goods with a fine dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder.