We’ve all had the same experience – some form of liquid (like a just-cooked stock) into a strainer and the first bit works like a charm before getting bogged down by ‘little bits’ of stuff which clog the strainer. It’s frustrating.
My solution? I use 3 strainers in succession:
- My first ‘straining’ uses a spaghetti Colander. It’s big enough to hold a lot of ‘stuff’ and sturdy enough that you can press down on that stuff to release all the goodness locked inside. Most of the liquid pours right through.
- The next level of straining is a medium-fine sieve. It captures larger items but generally doesn’t clog as easily as something fine – and, when it does, it’s easy to do a quick sweep of a spoon to re-open the mesh and let the finer sediment strain through. Mine is slightly larger than a rice strainer.
- The final stage is a fine sieve (almost like you’d use for tea or straining yogurt but not quite as tight). Although it can clog up, the removal of larger sediment in stage 2 really helps avoid clogging.
I’ve learned that if stage 3 continues to clog, you can repeat stage 2 and remove items multiple times with minimal clogging.
I always pour stage 3 from a spoon after reading a tip by Chef Thomas Keller. Dumping it from the bowl can cause such force that the sentiment is pushed through the sieve (or clogs it) compared to spooning a ladle at a time into the sieve.
What are your tricks for straining?
Thanks to Joel S for inspiring this post through twitter.