Soups and gravies -- typically moderate to high-fat foods -- often have large amounts of fat interspersed throughout the liquid. Several devices facilitate the degreasing of soups and gravies, most notably fat separators, fat mops and fat-separating ladles. However, the most ideal method of fat removal is allowing it rise to the surface and then chilling it, which allows it to congeal for easy removal.
Fat separators resemble plant-watering pitchers, and have a spout that reaches into the base of the separator. Fat separators work on the principle that fat and water do not mix. Soup or gravy is poured into the separator, where the fat rises to the top. The separator's design -- commonly clear food-grade plastic -- allows a cook to pour off the soup and stop just short of pouring the fat out, effectively removing a large portion of it with little waste.
Fat mops have plastic fibres that absorb the surface fat of soups and gravies. A cook passes the mop over the surface of the liquid, where it picks up and wicks away grease. The fat mops have limited uses, however; they are not intended for large quantities of soup or gravy and require frequent cleaning.
A cook places one side of a fat-separating ladle at an angle in the fat on the surface of a soup. The fat, being heavier and more viscous than the liquid, passes through a series of slots where it collects in the bowl of the ladle to be poured off.
Chilling soups, sauces and gravies facilitates fat removal and easy skimming. As the liquid cools, fat rises to the surface and congeals, where it can be easily removed with a slotted spoon.
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