Pouring coffee out of a French press

It's Time to Get Creative

If your French press is sitting on your kitchen shelf gathering dust, these surprising hacks will put it to good use in no time.

1. Steeping Loose Leaf Tea

If you are more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker, there is no reason to replace your French press with a teapot. Unlike traditional tea strainers, a French press has holes that are so small that you do not run the risk of tea leaves pouring into your cup with your tea.

2. Frothing Milk

If your kids love frothy milk and hot chocolate they will love you when you try this simple hack. Fill your French press three-quarters full with warm milk and gently pump the plunger for 30 seconds or until your milk is at your desired consistency. Once you have tried this you will no longer feel the need to head to expensive coffee shops.

3. Rinsing Grains

In effect, a French press is simply a strainer which means it is the ideal utensil for rinsing grains, such as quinoa and barley. Uncooked grains can be added to the glass canister; then after a few pumps of the plunger, you can drain and cook as desired.

4. Mixing Drinks

Whether you are making homemade lemonade or a fruity summer punch, a French press is an ideal vessel for mixing drinks. All of the ingredients in your recipe can be put into the pot at once and left for as long as required. The mesh strainer can be used to filter out unwanted pulp so you are left with a perfectly smooth drink.

This hack is particularly good in summer when cocktails and Pimms are on the menu.

5. Infusing Oil

Flavored oils can be expensive in the grocery store but they are really easy to make yourself. Ingredients such as chili, garlic, lemon and rosemary can be placed in your French press pot with the desired amount of oil and left to infuse for a couple of days (or you can pour hot oil onto the fresh ingredients and the infusion time can be reduced to a couple of hours).

Once infused, the oil can be strained and poured into bottles for use on pasta and salads.

6. Emulsifying Vinaigrettes

If you find that your homemade vinaigrettes are runny and tend to split, you can pop them in your French press and plunge away! After around 20 seconds of plunging you will have a perfectly blended combination of oil and vinegar, rather than all of the vinegar sinking to the bottom.

7. Draining Defrosted Vegetables

If you freeze leftover vegetables so they do not go off, you will find there is a lot of excess water when you defrost them. Allowing vegetables, such as spinach, to defrost in your French press means you can easily drain the excess water so you are left with perfect vegetables.

8. Rehydrating Dried Foods

Dried vegetables are a great cupboard ingredients as they can easily be added to stews and curries when you are out of fresh vegetables. Instead of putting them into a bowl and spilling half of them in the sink when you drain them, dried vegetables can be put into a French press and lightly plunged and drained once they have rehydrated.

9. Draining Stock

Homemade chicken stock is a great way to use up a leftover chicken carcass, but nobody likes the oily residue or floating bits of bone in their gravy. Chicken stock can be placed in the French press and the plunger is used as you would with coffee to leave a smooth stock to be used in casseroles.

10. Take Lumps out of Sauces

Hands up if no matter how hard you try you still get lumps in your custard. For times when our sauce-making skills leave a lot to be desired, use a French press to remove any lumps in your sauce and your guests will be none the wiser.

11. Whipping Cream

Only have double cream in the refrigerator when you really should have bought whipped? No worries — after 30 seconds of gentle plunging in your French press, your double cream will be dessert-ready.

12. Infusing Herbal Tea

Making your own herbal tea is the perfect way to relax and unwind after a hard week at work. You can add your desired ingredients and leave them to steep in your French press as per your chosen recipe. The plunger can be used when you need to drain and then you can sit back and enjoy.

13. Make a Broth

Herbs and spices can be added to your French press along with stock or water to infuse your own broth. Allowing the flavors to steep for a long time will add extra flavor to your curries and stews as your broth will pack a punch.

14. Cold Brew Coffee

We know we said we were listing ways to use your French press other than for making coffee, but how many of you have tried a cold brew? This type of coffee is made similarly to your usual French press, but cold water is used and the brew takes a lot longer. Once brewed you will enjoy a fresher, more flavorful blend that is refreshing in warm weather.