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Straining Stocks and Sauces

Cooking tips for the caring cook.


You can use your food strainer to process much more than stocks and soups; however, we have a mess-free means for you to strain those two foods. As a side note, foods such as tomatoes, apples, apricots, avocados, carrots, cherries, cooked dried beans, cranberries, peaches and potatoes are great foods for straining.

Straining through a cloth

  • When you need to strain stocks or sauces, line a mesh strainer or colander with a paper coffee filter. The liquid goes through and all the solids from the stocks or sauces are left on the paper.
  • Gold coffee filters are perfect for small batches.
  • Change your filter when fats and suspended particulates clog them.
  • Cheese cloth has always been the medium of choice for straining soups and stocks. Do note that cheesecloth needs to be tossed after each batch.
  • Buy your cheesecloth in a hardware store rather than kitchen supply place. It is less expensive.
  • You can also use a clean terry cloth towel for straining soups and stocks. Note the key word "clean" - it is important to make sure your cloth towel is washed prior to using. You would also want to use white - as in no dyes used in the cloth.
  • Loose weave muslin is another choice for the cloth.
  • The best results will come from a stainless wire seive as a strainer, lined with your cloth or filter.

Cleaning up the Straining Cloth:

  • Rinse the cloth under the tap, then place it in a pan with water, a little salt and a dash of vinegar.
  • Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring now and then.
  • Rinse it several times with warm water and hang out to dry.
  • If a sauce or gravy has become lumpy you can transfer it to a food processor and process until smooth, or press through a sieve.


Strained food should be used immediately or preserved through canning, freezing or dehydrating.

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