What Even Is a “Cheesecloth”….

{Insert Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression}

I fully understand the intended purpose of cheesecloth, and that it’s made of cotton, but seriously, though. What is cheesecloth? I bought some recently after months of intending to make a purchase. The problem is that I couldn’t find it in my local grocery store, or in any other “non-natural” store so I went to Sprout’s and asked someone where the cheesecloth is because I couldn’t find it on my own. Apparently, I’m just bad at finding cheesecloth. After that associate (who was also trying to help me find rendered animal fat) asked a different associate to find the cheesecloth, the other associate came swiftly around the corner, cheesecloth a blazin’ ever so proudly in her hand. The following is a series of thoughts that went through my head during my first exposure to cheesecloth:

“Hmm, well, it looks like what I thought it would. I’ll go home now”.

I went home, and I began to think of all the times over the last several months that I have thought, “Man, I could really use cheesecloth for this”. Or the recipes that said, “Wrap in cheesecloth” or “Strain through cheesecloth” or “Rinse before cooking” (thanks, quinoa and steel cut oats). All the while, I had none to wrap or strain with. Not anymore…I was so excited that I finally had some. My first thought after opening the package was:

“How do I wash this once I’m done using it? Is it reusable? It was $2.99, I guess that’s cheap enough that I could buy more if it’s single-use only, but still more money than I would like to spend on a single-use item. Would I want to reuse this? Will it stain? Should I wash it before I use it? Hmmm…oh well, I’ll figure that out once I use it.”

The packaging said that it was 2 yards long….

“Wow. That’s, umm, quite a bit more cloth for cheese than I had anticipated. Let’s see what this looks like if I unfold it.”

So, I started to unwrap it, and unwrap it, and got it tangled, and unwrapped it some more until I was left with a very long (2 yards to be exact) gauzy piece of thin, meshed cloth that made me think to myself, “Self, this wouldn’t make a bad scarf”. But then I started inspecting it…

“The packaging says “Durable”, but this is too thin to seem like I could wrap cheese in it without ripping the cloth, and it’s shedding. A lot. Why is it shedding? Let me check the packaging again. Oh, it says right here, “Lint Free” …. well, that’s a lie. Look at these holes, they are huge. These holes aren’t really any smaller than my mesh strainer. Let me refold it to make more layers and see if that helps”.

I decided to wrap it back up, but any bit of folding it to create more material to strain through just seemed to make the workable area of fabric too small to be useful. I quickly decided that my mesh strainer will suffice.

What say you? Did I get a bad batch of cheesecloth? Is there such a thing as a superior and inferior cheesecloths? Give me your cheesecloth tips!FullSizeRender 9.jpg

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