|The french press in its natural habitat|
10. Squeeze excess water out of veggies. Thawing out frozen spinach for a lasagna recipe? Just put it in your french press and let the plunger wring out all that extra water! All you have to do is press down and pour out.
9. Rehydrate dried foods. Whether it's plumping raisins for a cake or making that instant soup, simply put the dried goodies into the press and cover with water. When your food is rehydrated to the desired level, pour off the extra water and you're good to go!
8. Juice berries. Berries are the easiest fruits to juice with the most intense flavor packed into them. The only problem is those tiny dang seeds! Try throwing a handful of berries into your press and the fine mesh of the plunger will hold all the seeds back while letting the super tasty juice flow forth to enhance your smoothies, cocktails, or sparkling water. This one is a bit of a pain to clean up, so make sure you have a french press that allows you to take it apart fully for proper cleanup.
7. Whip cream. No, not even kidding. You can honestly put heavy cream in your french press with a bit of sugar and vanilla and just pump the heck outta that plunger until you have a pitcher of tasty fresh whipped cream! Again, a bit messy to clean up, but so worth it if you just need to make a little batch for dessert. I recommend removing the mesh part of the plunger if possible for best efficiency and ease of cleaning.
6. Rinse and sprout grains. Rinsing grains is a snap, but if you don't have a fine-mesh strainer, you will definitely lose grains down the drain. No good. Using your french press saves you the worry AND is an ideal vessel for sprouting your grains and legumes! Put a handful of whatever it is you'd like to sprout (wheat, quinoa, chickpea, whatever) into your press with enough water to cover, give them a good swirl to rinse, pour off the water and leave the cap on (with the plunger up so your little buddies have room to breathe)! Leave the press on your countertop overnight and be ready to snack on some tasty sprouts in no time.
5. DIY coffee creamer. This is a great one if you like to play with flavors in your coffee but want to avoid the nasty chemicals present in a lot of commercial creamers. Fill your press with warm half&half and whatever flavor you're feeling that day. Strawberry, cinnamon, vanilla, maybe chocolate? Let it chill in the fridge for a few hours, then press down the plunger and enjoy!
4. Infuse oils, vinegars and spirits. While we're on the subject of surprising infusions you can make at home, the same basic principals apply with oils, vinegars and spirits! These can all be done cold, though oils will absorb flavors more efficiently when warm. Fill with the desired liquid and whatever herbs, alliums, citrus or spices you'd like. Try infusing your gin with black tea for a fun twist on the classic G&T! Infuse your olive oil with roasted garlic and chili! Maybe you want to make a fab salad dressing by infusing mushrooms into champagne vinegar? The possibilities are endless and will make you look super fancy at your next dinner party.
3. Froth milk. Similar to our approach with whipped cream, you can froth your own milk for easy at-home cappuccinos by filling your press about 1/3 full of hot milk and rapidly working the plunger (again, without the mesh screen if your press allows) until you get a nice, stiff froth. Easy! Works great for hot cocoa, too. Throw a chunk of dark chocolate in with your hot milk and take the same approach for an easy and decadent cocoa experience!
2. Hot or cold-brew coffee. Ok, we obviously know the classic use for a french press. Coffee. But did you think to cold-brew this way? Leave your press with ground coffee and cool water in the fridge overnight and depress the plunger in the morning! Bam. Cold-brew so easy you don't even have to use your brain first thing in the AM. Bonus, cold-brew is much smoother and less bitter than hot-brewed coffee. It's definitely getting toward cold-brew weather, so remember this one!
1. Loose leaf tea, obvi! I mean. What blog did you think you were reading? Our number one choice for Best French Press Use was always going to be tea! I'm constantly amazed by how many folks are surprised to see me use a french press for loose tea. It's my go-to brewing device (yeah, I'm not the most traditional...) and I stand by it. Hot or cold-brew, a french press just makes good dang tea. Plenty of space for the leaves to open up and get their best flavors out, plus a handy reservoir for holding onto those leaves that you know you'll want to re-infuse? Yes please.
So there you have it. Our ten favorite uses for the common french press. Did we miss anything? Do you have a fun and unusual application? Have you tried any of these before? Let me know!