The Many Functions Of Cheesecloth
By Ann Marier
Cheesecloth is a fabric designed out of loosely woven cotton fiber. It can come in a variety of grades, which indicates how open the weave of the fabric is. It was originally designed to help in the manufacturing of cheese by pressing the cheese curds together. The curds would be placed into the cheesecloth, where it would be molded by hand to create a ten pound ball that would be tied together.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, cheesecloth became a popular choice in fabric for shirts and blouses. Today, this fabric sees a variety of uses and functions, from cooking to crafts. It is a good product to have on hand in your home, since you never know when it might come in handy.
Uses for Cheesecloth in the Kitchen
This is a popular item in many kitchens today, and can prove useful in a variety of ways. Cheesecloth is a good tool to use when you need to strain broth or other liquid through a fine sieve. Simply stretch the fabric across your sink area, and have someone pour the liquid out into a bowl or pot underneath. The cloth will catch the residue and leave you with a clean liquid for cooking or drinking.
Cheesecloth can also be useful in creating bags of herbs and seasonings to use for soups and other dishes. Place the herbs of choice into the cloth and tie it up with twine or string. You can then drop this bag into your pot for the perfect seasoning every time.
The same method can be employed to make homemade teabags using loose tea and home grown herbs. Fill your cloth with the tea and choices like mint or chamomile, and brew in a cup of hot water for a delicious beverage. Cheesecloth can also be useful in stuffing poultry. If you line the inside of your bird with the cloth before inserting the stuffing, it will be much easier to pull the stuffing back out after the bird is cooked. The loose weave of the fabric will allow all of the delicious juices from the bird to season the stuffing as it cooks.
Other Uses for Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth can be an equally useful supply in the craft room as it is in the kitchen. Because of the loose weave of the fabric, liquids can be easily absorbed, making this material a great choice for fabric stiffening. In its original state and color, cheesecloth can make adorable ghost decorations for Halloween.
Simply soak the cloth in a fabric stiffening solution and dry over a mold like a glass or Styrofoam cone. Shape the fabric to look like a ghost floating in the air. Once the fabric is dry, you can embellish your ghosts using felt, google eyes, or any other material that will personalize your project.