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Jun 2, 2010 10:43 AM

Extracurricular cooling rack uses

Recently I related a tip from Cooks' Country about using a (roughly) 12"x18" size wire grid cooking rack to make the classic cross-hatch pattern on a whole pan of peanut butter cookies "in one swell foop", as a late friend used to say.

Other uses for this inexpensive piece of equipment include:
- an extra dish-draining rack after a party
- for drying small clothing items that need to be dried flat
- lay over plastic containers/glasses in the dishwasher, to weigh them down
- press halved eggs or pitted avocado into the grid to cube them
- lay the grid over the rims of your kitchen sink when dusting foods with flour or powdered sugar. What falls into the sink rinses away.
- use the spray hose to wash produce placed on the rack over the sink, where it will air-dry better than if you used a colander. (Before I threw away a burned-out oscillating fan, I removed the front cage and use it as a produce washing/drying basket too)

Any other ideas for mesh racks?

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  1. I've never used a cooling rack for the above uses, but I'm impressed!

    I use it for cooking more than I do for its actual purpose. I love "dry aging" beef in the fridge with it, or drying breaded chicken etc. so that the breading adheres. I also use it when baking my favorite baked jalapeno poppers; tastes like it was fried.

    1 Reply
    1. re: krisrishere

      Similarly, we just used the crosshatched racks to dehydrate many quarts of strawberries.

    2. Stack a cooling rack over a sheet tray and use to bake breaded items...chicken, eggplant slices, zucchini rounds. The air circulates around the bottom.. very crispy .

      1. Used mine as dish draining racks over the sink countless times, I also use them to do batches of PW's bacon wrapped jalapeno thingies, and to glaze pound cakes - slide a rimmed cookie sheet under the cooling rack the cakes are already sitting on and glaze, the excess falls onto the cookie sheets instead of the counter.

        I'm going to have to start using them to hold down plastics in the dishwasher too I have three kids, ikea snack bowls/cups can sometimes fill the top rack - fantastic idea thanks!

        1. I have just two big racks, one actually the grid for an electric grill I never use anymore, that for the most part serve to keep wet or flour-dredged meats up off the tray's surface. However, I have a bunch of round and oval wire racks that fit into various pots, gratin pans, roasters and baking sheets to keep items up off the "floor" for roasting or braising. When I've coated fish or chops with a mustard or mayonnaise compound, with or without crumbs, the rack allows the pieces to cook without the coating's becoming glued to the pan, or the meat's drowning in its own juices.

          The only time I use these for cooling is when I've baked biscuits or re-baked a par-baked loaf of bread, neither of which I do very often.

          1. I am using an older, smaller (10.5 " x 14") cooling rack right now. I have my laptop sitting on it to keep it cool by allowing air to flow underneath. I've seen special laptop cooling fans and other devices that cost upwards of $40 bucks and this thing has been in the kitchen for years before I usurped it for my home office.

            2 Replies
            1. re: John E.

              I use an old vinyl-coated sink-rack for that - no slipping.

              1. re: John E.

                We have our 1st gen Xbox 360 (known for the red circle of death) sitting on one for the same reason.

                I use a small round one in a large stock pot when canning, too, since I don't have a canner.

                I also use a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet instead of a roasting pan for chicken or whatever.