How to CookCoffeeTips & Techniques

Coffee Filters Belong in Your Kitchen, Even If You Don’t Drink Coffee

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I keep a package of large basket type coffee filters on hand even though I use a different, smaller filter for my morning coffee. Why? They’re a lot more versatile than you think.

What to Do If You've Run Out of Coffee Filters
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What to Do If You've Run Out of Coffee Filters

Here’s what I do with coffee filters:

  • Drain yogurt for labneh or yogurt cheese.

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  • Drain cottage cheese to make it thicker and less watery.

  • Remove oil from natural nut or seed butters—the ones you have to stir, made only with the nuts or seeds and optional salt. I do this when I want a thicker nut or seed butter to flavor frostings or fillings without making them runny. You can fold bits of partially defatted nut butter into meringue for decadent melt-in-your-mouth cookies, or mix with coconut butter and spread on toast. To remove excess oil, spread nut or seed butter over a double layer of coffee filters. When filters become saturated , scrape the nut/seed butter onto a set of fresh filters to hasten extraction. Stop when the desired consistency is reached.

  • Bundle and tie herbs and spices (bouquet garni), or even loose tea leaves for soups and stews.

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  • Clarify simple syrups that have been infused with puréed or crushed fruits or vegetables.

  • Absent a juicer, strain herbs, petals, or leaves liquefied in your blender/food processor. This works for small quantities, perhaps for cocktail making.

Do you have a use for coffee filters? Tell us about it in the comments!

Alice Medrich is a Berkeley, California-based pastry chef, chocolatier, and cookbook author. You can read more about what she's up to here.