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Soup Skimmer

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I'm a follow directions kind of guy, so when a soup recipe states, "... skim ..." I want to skim, but with what? What do you use to skim your soup? Do I need a perforated spoon kind of thing or a wire mesh kind of thing, or what?

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  1. I would use a ladle and just submerge it the slightest amount allowing you to get any floating oil or sludge. A very fine mesh spider would also work but we are talking pretty fine mesh. Typically the ladle method is sufficient.

    1 Reply
    1. If you are not in a hurry, the easiest is to let the whole thing cool in the fridge. You'll be able to remove the disc of solidified fat with a spoon. If it's something like chicken fat, you can and should save it in the fridge/freezer for frying potatoes.

      For immediate results, swish a cold leaf of lettuce or cabbage on the surface of the soup. The fat will solidify on the leaf. Or do the same with a frozen container of water. Or lay a paper towel gently on the hot surface, lift off, discard, repeat with fresh towels as necessary to remove the fat.

      1. Exactly what TeRReT said. You can use a spoon or ladle to skim. Or you can use a very fine wire mesh spoon, which also works. Ice cubes in a towel also work.

        1. If you're skimming the fat off the top of the soup, a ladle or some other non-perforated spoon should be used. I took an inexpensive large spoon and bent the handle up to make it easier to skim. I prefer using a spoon rather than a ladle because of the spoon's more shallow profile.

          If you need to skim off foam/scum and other impurities, then a fine-meshed skimmer is used to allow the soup/broth/stock to flow out of the spoon, leaving the impurities in the mesh skimmer.

          1. I've used paper towels, believe it or not. Let HOT soup sit a bit till oil/grease is pretty much all on the surface. I usually fold paper towel in quarters, lay on surface for a short time... you'll see the grease getting absorbed. Then I lift off with tongs.

            1. Thank you everyone, I've been using a large shallow spoon, just thought there might be an easier way. I did a search for soup skimmers, but I wasn't sure some of what I saw would actually do what I wanted. Thanks again.

              3 Replies
                1. re: seamunky

                  Yes, that is one of the things I saw that came up in the search. But from the amazon listing, I couldn't really tell if it was fine enough to capture the "stuff" that sits ontop of the soup as it is cooking and cooling. Most of what I saw, where I could get a close-up view were like this: http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant... intended more for scooping larger things out of liquid. So I really wasn't sure about this whole skimmer thing, if any of them were fine enough to hold the things I didn't want while letting the things I did want to fall through.

                  Seems like this should be easier than a large shallow spoon, right?

                  1. re: mikie

                    It's a pretty fine mesh and is good at picking up "scum" (gross word but I couldn't think of a better one....albumen?) I find it easier than a shallow spoon because of its large size.
                    But if you're trying to skim fat off the top, then it is not the right tool.

                1. re: flourgirl

                  I have a similar one (not the same), but I have not used it for skimming soup yet. I have used it for many other things like sifter to get finely ground powder through (what I want go through, and what I don't want stay on the top), and I have use it the opposite, especially for getting items from water (what I want stay on the top, and what I don't want go through).

                  It is pretty useful.

                2. I'm guessing your soup recipe is referring to the scum or impurities that float to the top. I use a fine mesh skimmer:


                  I also own one of those perforated spoon thingies but prefer the fine mesh (it works better for making a cleaner soup.)

                  1. I just use a large spoon to skim off the foam in soups. I have a round, flat perforated ladle from WMF that is great for removing dumplings and such, but I don't use it to skim - too messy. The large spoon just skims across and grabs the foam/scum and I dump into into the sink. A couple of sweeps around and it is all clear.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: laraffinee

                      And that's what I've been doing, just thought there might be a better or easier way. I think I'll stick to the spoon at this point.

                      Thanks to all for their replys.

                    2. I find it funny so many people skim with a ladle, I find it impossible. You have to cock the ladle so far over you can't even see what your skimming. This would only work if you had a flat edge type ladle and would still run into the same problem. Just use a large preferably shallow spoon that you can use around the pot just under the surface. I use a mug to spoon into, then you can leave your spoon in the mug as soup simmers a while longer and you can keep coming back to skim if need be.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: daislander

                        You don't tip it over to get the edge in you submerge the whole ladle almost completely flat, and push it down until the edge is only slightly submerged below the fat or scum without getting into the soup. The scum/fat will fill the ladle. This is much easier than a spoon which can't be put completely horizontal in the pot.

                        The idea is you don't want to disrupt or push the scum around which will make it mix into the liquid again so the ladle can be pushed straight in rather than raking the top.

                        In practice it is very practical and easy.


                        1. re: TeRReT

                          You just described exactly what I do (learned it in school, perfected at work over many, many pots of stock). A ladle holds a lot more than a spoon, too.

                          1. re: Sooeygun

                            I'm convinced, I've got to try this method next soup session.

                            Thanks to TeRReT and Sooeygun.

                          2. re: TeRReT

                            I find because the ladle is so deep by the time the ladle edge is almost at the soup top there is this pressure and the soup just want to go whooshing into the ladle.

                            1. re: daislander

                              It does take some practice and may depend on the ladle. Restaurants for instance use thin stainless steel ones, a plastic one might be thicker and cause more problems, not sure. Just keep trying and it'll work.

                              1. re: TeRReT

                                By the way, everyone. How good are these?



                                I kept thinking that they may be good because fat float to top and water stay on the bottom. I also kept thinking that they may suck because it takes some time for the fat and water layers to get separated. So it may takes tens of minutes or even longer for the two layers to separate, and every time I pour the stock into these, I will have to wait...

                                I don't know.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Works good for gravy where there is only a small amount of liquid, wouldn't use it for a large volume of stock

                                2. re: TeRReT

                                  nope mine is a thin stainless. i will give ONE more try lol

                          3. I find it a bit easier (if using a ladle) to prop the pot up on some towels or potholders, then skim from the "shallow" side.

                            1. I like to use 4 or 5 layers of cheese cloth that I have rinsed in cold water & wrung-out; place over a colander & pour stock through it. It will drain slow & you might have to change it a few times but the broth wil be fat & skum free & clear. Try it you'll like it!