Straining Herb-Infused Liquids

I was straining the latest batch of my hair rinse yesterday and had a “duh” moment.

I usually strain any herb-infused liquid by balancing a mesh strainer over a measuring cup (or jar) and lining the strainer with a coffee filter. (Yes, I know those aren’t reusable but they do degrade nicely in my compost bin. They have the added benefit of catching all but the tiniest particles of ground herb – something even an old nylon stocking doesn’t do.)

I wanted to strain directly into the jug I was going to store it in but I can’t do that with the strainer (too large a permeable area) and lining a funnel is a real PITA. Since I was in the kitchen and not down in the shop, the “duh” moment came rather quickly – an old, single-cup coffee doohickey I haven’t used in years sitting, with a box of its filters, on one of the top shelves of my cupboards. One of these (image from Amazon):Single CupThis has the added benefit of sitting squarely on top of whatever you put it on – my mesh strainer has a tendency to slew to one side or another because it’s rounded.

I wouldn’t recommend using this for straining oils. The hole at the bottom is tiny and it would take forever to get oil through first the filter then that small opening. But for infused vinegars, like my hair rinse, or tinctures, it works great. It only took about 10 minutes to cleanly strain a half-gallon of vinegar.