10 Things You Can Do With a French Press
One hit wonder? No way! Your French press has many unique uses.
The French coffee press: Although small and unassuming, it is an extremely convenient device in any kitchen. Little did Italian designers Giulio Moneta and Attilio Calimani know that the device they patented in 1929 would become one of the most important portable devices among coffee lovers around the world. Simple to operate, one can enjoy a fantastic brew with very little effort in a matter of minutes. As simple as the design of the French press may be, it has plenty of uses beyond brewing coffee. If you are at a loss as to what other functions you can expect from this unpretentious coffee-making wonder, then read on. Here are 10 amazing uses for the French press coffee maker.
1. Make Tea
It’s not coffee that’s the most popular drink in the world—it’s tea! And the same device you use to brew your coffee—the French press—works just as well for brewing loose leaf tea. Place the tea leaves in the French press, just as you would coffee grounds, and let it steep. Then press down the plunger to engage the mesh strainer that should function like a tea bag and keep the tea leaves out of your cup. You get to enjoy the full-bodied freshness of tea leaves without the worrisome bits of leaves.
2. Cold Brew Coffee
There is a growing fan base for cold brew coffee. And why not? Cold brew coffee provides a richer and smoother coffee than regular hot brew. Its greatest advantage is in its lower levels of acidity. Cold brew coffee is about two-thirds less acidic than traditional brewed coffee. In other words, it is friendlier to the tummy.
Using a French press to make your own cold brew coffee makes perfect sense. There is only one thing you have to understand: While hot coffee brewing methods can deliver great-tasting cups of joe within minutes, you have to wait 18 to 24 hours to complete the cold brewing process. So, the coffee you prepare today will be ready to drink tomorrow.
3. Froth Milk
Folks who love lattés and cappuccinos will also love the French press. No longer do you have to buy a steam wand or boil milk and whisk it until it becomes frothy. Not only is whisking time consuming and messy, but it can put a strain on your wrists. A French press coffee maker can produce rich, frothy milk for your cappuccino in no time.
Pour your chosen milk in the French press. Warm it a bit in the microwave, but do not let it boil. Take it out of the microwave and put the lid, filter, and plunger mechanism in the French press. Now give it several brisk pumps. You will notice the milk becoming frothier. Get your cup of coffee and pour the frothy milk like a barista.
4. Make Whipped Cream
If you are into baked goodies and want a rich and fluffy whipped topping, then the French press can be a handy tool. Forget the wire whisk and trying to whisk cream until light and fluffy. Take a shortcut to a sweet treat by employing your French press.
Fill about half of the carafe with heavy cream and mix in the desired amount of sugar or vanilla. Now put on the lid assembly and start pumping. This is a lot easier and faster than using a traditional wire whisk.
5. Rinse Grains
Rinsing grains such as farro, quinoa, and rice can be a tedious process and often requires a strainer to help separate the grains from the water, inevitably resulting in some of the grains getting stuck in the small holes of the strainer.
An alternative way to rinse grains is by using a French press. This is as easy as pouring the grains in the carafe. Pour water and put the French press lid assembly. Push the plunger all the way down and watch as the grains separate from the water. Keep the plunger in its position and turn the carafe upside down. Empty the rinsed grains in your pot and get cooking.
6. Drain Defrosted Foods
One of the inadvertent consequences of draining frozen food items is that they tend to form condensates. This leaves a lot of moisture in thawed food items, so when it’s time to cook, you may have a soggy dish. However, there’s an easy way to draw out excess moisture from thawed frozen ingredients.
The French press can be a worthy moisture extractor for thawed vegetables. Put your shredded potatoes, spinach, or any other thawed food item in the carafe. Press on the plunger to squeeze the excess moisture from the food item. Drain the water and you can get ready to cook. The downside is that you can only do this with food items that are small enough to fit in the French press carafe.
7. Mix Drinks
If you fancy a cocktail, the French press can be an invaluable tool, with no need for a cocktail mixer that can slip from your grasp. The French press is a great tool to concoct instant drinks to serve your guests during cocktail hours.
Mixing your drinks using a French press is similar to frothing milk or making whipped cream: Put all of the cocktail ingredients in the French press carafe and close the lid. Next, pump the plunger up and down. Watch as your ingredients get mixed into a fancy drink. Pour the contents into a cocktail glass and you’re done. If you prefer having the pulp in your cocktail, you can remove the lid of the French press before pouring in a glass.
8. Infuse Oils
Are you a fan of flavored oils? Well, infusing spices and herbs into your favorite cooking oil can be easier than ever with the French press.
Put your favorite spices or herbs in the carafe. Add olive oil or any other oil you like for cooking, put on the lid and let it sit. Every now and then, press on the plunger to help extract more flavor from the herbs and spices. This allows them to infuse into the oil. Once you’re satisfied with the concentration of the infused oil, press the plunger one last time, then pour the oil into its container.
9. Rehydrate Dried Food Items
Dried food items are affordable and flavorful. Dried mushrooms, for instance, can have more robust and concentrated flavors than fresh ones. The only drawback to using dried foods in your recipes is that you will have to soak them for quite some time to reintroduce moisture into them before cooking.
With the French press, you can simplify the process of rehydrating dried foods. Put the food product in the carafe. Fill it with hot water and put on the lid assembly. Give it about 3 to 5 minutes to rehydrate. Once done, push down on the plunger and drain the water. This is a fast and easy way to rehydrate your dried ingredients.
10. Infuse Water
For health-conscious folks, a delicious way to stay hydrated is by drinking infused water, which is simply plain drinking water to which herbs or fruit have been added. The natural nutrient goodness of the herbs or fruit gets infused into the water when left overnight in the refrigerator.
Using a French press, you don’t need to buy an expensive infuser water bottle. The French press can serve as your infuser. Put your chosen fruit or herbs in the French press. Cover it with filtered water and place the lid on top. Place the French press in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, take it out of the refrigerator, press down on the plunger, and enjoy your healthy, refreshing infused water.
There are scores of possible uses of a French press other than making coffee, of course. You only need to unleash your imagination to further expand its versatility.
A version of this content was originally published at Kitchenistic.com.