We should probably clarify that those handkerchiefs should be clean and preferably un-used! But yes, large-sized inexpensive cotton handkerchiefs make a great substitute for the cheesecloth and muslin we use around the kitchen. Here's why:
We got this idea from Michael Ruhlman in his book Ratio, and we really think it's one of the best ones we've heard in a long time!
Cotton handkerchiefs have a finer weave than most cheesecloth, so we don't have to fuss with doubling up layers of cloth when we're straining or pressing the liquid out of something. We can also just throw the handkerchiefs in the wash when we're done and then re-use them, conserving resources and money.
Ruhlman recommends designating a few handkerchiefs just for the kitchen and marking those handkerchiefs so they don't accidentally get used for...er...other purposes. We'd also suggest washing new handkerchiefs a few times before using them since the fabric has sometimes been treated before packaging.
Do you think this is a good idea, or will you stick with cheesecloth?
Related: Recipe: DIY Ricotta Cheese