Photo by Annie MuellerCreative Commons License.

To drain something is to remove the excess liquid from it. Draining can be accomplished all at once, or by a more gradual process.


Difficulty to learn: Easy/Medium

Some Thoughts For You:

Draining is a vital step in many recipes. Sometimes draining is easy, where the liquid freely separates from the solid. Other times it can take a little more effort, such as draining excess fat from meat after cooking.

Straining and draining are very similar terms, and are often used interchangeably. However, there is a slight technical difference. Straining involves separating liquids and solids, but often the liquid is saved for later. Draining implies that the liquid will be discarded after, almost like when you drain a sink you have no need for the dirty sink water.

Don’t fret though, you do not encounter these exact technical differences often, and recipes will usually specify what to do with the liquid after separating it from the solid.

What You Will Need:

Draining is a messy preparation step, but luckily it requires little setup.

You will need a few sheets of paper towels if you are draining most foods, such as meat after cooking it on the stove top. You can also use clean kitchen towels, but you might mess up the color since the drained liquid will be hot and greasy.

Basic Steps:

The following steps apply for draining browned meat after cooking on the stove, but can apply for most similar recipes.

  1. Lay a plate down on your kitchen surface, and cover it with several sheets of paper towels.
  2. Carefully begin to pour the meat and fat onto the plate. Be careful, hot fat can cause serious injury if it contacts skin.
  3. Take a few more paper towels and blot the top of the meat, soaking up any extra fat.
  4. Spoon the meat back into the empty pan.
  5. Dispose of the paper towels in a trash can once it cools and hardens. Never pour fat down the sink, or pour hot fat into a garbage. Always wait until it cools and then throw away into the garbage. 

Tips For You:

  • If you want to save your fat from the meat, consider carefully holding the meat with a wooden spoon and tilting the pan to the side over a bowl. The fat should begin to pour out, leaving your meat in the pan.
  • For draining tofu, lay thin rows of it on a towel. Cover the tofu with another towel on top, and then place a weighted object on top. After an hour, the liquid should have drained out!

Some Links To Help With Preparation: