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Filtering Unrefined Shea Butter

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KristaY

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I recently got 5 lbs of unrefined shea butter. While I love the smell & the way it feels on my skin, I don't like all the debris. I hope it's just plant material? Anyway, I want to filter all that stuff out. In various online articles they say to use a fine strainer or cheesecloth. I don't think the strainer will be fine enough and I don't happen to have any cheesecloth. Will coffee filters work? TIA!
 

Obsidian

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I think a paper coffee filter will get clogged way too fast. One of those reusable coffee filters would probably work better and they won't soak up a bunch of oil like cheese cloth would.

 

shunt2011

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I agree that the paper filters won't work. I have a heck of a time just getting regular liquid to go through them. I would get a mesh basket or some cheese cloth. Would probably make it much much easier.
 

KristaY

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Ah-ha! A mesh basket - brilliant! Thanks Shunt and Obsidian.:razz: I'm off to wally world to pick one up. I appreciate it, you 2! :thumbup:
 

cmzaha

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I recently got 5 lbs of unrefined shea butter. While I love the smell & the way it feels on my skin, I don't like all the debris. I hope it's just plant material? Anyway, I want to filter all that stuff out. In various online articles they say to use a fine strainer or cheesecloth. I don't think the strainer will be fine enough and I don't happen to have any cheesecloth. Will coffee filters work? TIA!
Nope it is not always plant material. I have found crickets, bees, hot pepper pod and who knows what else in mine at times. I purchase 25# blocks of unrefined from Ghana. I went to a Daiso market, a Japanese $1.50 store, and purchased a fine stainer for $1.50 to strain my shea. Coffee filters like the one above or the paper ones do not work, and cheesecloth is messy. A strainer , with the finest mesh you can get with a handle, works best. You can drape it across a bucket or whatever container you are using and have both hands free for pouring
 

KristaY

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Nope it is not always plant material. I have found crickets, bees, hot pepper pod and who knows what else in mine at times. I purchase 25# blocks of unrefined from Ghana. I went to a Daiso market, a Japanese $1.50 store, and purchased a fine stainer for $1.50 to strain my shea. Coffee filters like the one above or the paper ones do not work, and cheesecloth is messy. A strainer , with the finest mesh you can get with a handle, works best. You can drape it across a bucket or whatever container you are using and have both hands free for pouring
Oh my! Bugs and other types of stuff? Interesting.... I got the coffee basket and strained about 10 oz to see how it would go. It got the largest particles out but there's still quite a bit of tiny, dark stuff. I don't have access to a Japanese market to get a strainer like you described, Carolyn. Is there another source that may sell them? If you have a brand name I can search online, or just pick up some cheesecloth and deal with the mess, lol. Thanks for the info Carolyn!

Here's a pic of the goodies that came out of my shea. I'm really happy to see no bugs! At least recognizable ones anyway. Some of the dark bits may be body parts..... Ick.

Strained Shea 01.jpg
 

IrishLass

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You might want to try out a nylon nut milk bag. I recently bought 2 from Wholefoods a couple of days ago to strain my homemade nut milks on the advice of others, and oh my goodness- they work awesome at straining out even the finest particles easy-peasy. Before that, I was using butter muslin, which is a close relative of cheesecloth, but has a much finer weave to it, but the nut milk bags blow it out of the water like nobody's business. With the cloth, I needed to strain 2 or 3 times to get a smooth milk, but with the nut milk bag, I only need to strain once and it's much less messy. They even work better than those paint strainer bags that you can find at the hardware store. The nut milk bags were 10 bucks a pop, but they work much better than anything I've ever tried, and they look and feel like they'll last me for years. If I sound real enthusiastic about them, it's because I am. They are that awesome to me. I can't see why they wouldn't work to strain melted shea.


IrishLass :)
 

cmzaha

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You might want to try out a nylon nut milk bag. I recently bought 2 from Wholefoods a couple of days ago to strain my homemade nut milks on the advice of others, and oh my goodness- they work awesome at straining out even the finest particles easy-peasy. Before that, I was using butter muslin, which is a close relative of cheesecloth, but has a much finer weave to it, but the nut milk bags blow it out of the water like nobody's business. With the cloth, I needed to strain 2 or 3 times to get a smooth milk, but with the nut milk bag, I only need to strain once and it's much less messy. They even work better than those paint strainer bags that you can find at the hardware store. The nut milk bags were 10 bucks a pop, but they work much better than anything I've ever tried, and they look and feel like they'll last me for years. If I sound real enthusiastic about them, it's because I am. They are that awesome to me. I can't see why they wouldn't work to strain melted shea.


IrishLass :)[/QUOTE
Not sure the shea is going to be easy to get out of the Nut Milk Bag and may render it useless in a short time. Strainers can be bought anywhere including Wal Mart, Target, Kmart etc. I just mentioned the Asian store because the price was so cheap and the mesh was quite fine. Strainers are not always cheap. I have even found crickets in my lard from Smart & Final.
 

KristaY

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I've never heard of a nut milk bag so have no idea what it might look like! But it leads me to wonder about nylon panty hose. Is that remotely similar? Because of the stuff left behind with my fine mesh strainer, I wonder if the weave in panty hose might be similar to the bag you described, Irishlass. I'm totally shooting in the dark here so may be really off base but I know I'll need something finer than the coffee basket I got. Also, I'm in a rural area so my shopping options are limited without driving about 100 miles.
 

IrishLass

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A nut milk bag would be very similar to panty hose, only they don't have a lot of 'stretch' to them like panty hose, so the mesh/holes pretty much remain uniformly tiny when squeezing to strain your desired liquid through. Amazon sells them, too.


IrishLass :)
 

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