Moisture and contaminants make powdered foods or spices lumpy and difficult to use. Some people even throw away powdered foods that have formed rocks, such as cocoa powder, sugar, powdered milk, and ready-to-eat meals. Before you end up doing this, try breaking up the stones with a blender or food processor, sifting, or using other preventative measures.
Method 1 of 3: Using a Blender or Food Processor
Step 1. Place the powdered food that is lumped into a blender or food processor
If the food is too full of rocks, use your fingers, a wooden spoon or an ice tongs to break the rocks into pieces that will fit easier in a blender or food processor. After breaking the stones, the food is ready to be beaten.
- If the food is not so lumpy, it can be difficult to pour it into the body of a blender or food processor without spilling it. Use a funnel to avoid losing food on the way.
- Use an ordinary or wooden spoon to take the food out of the pot it is in and take it to the blender or food processor.
Step 2. Blend the powdered food in a blender or food processor
Place lid on blender or food processor bowl and seal tightly; if you don't, the powder will fly out of the kitchen! Afterwards, you will have to select the best way of functioning for the food.
- If the food is very lumpy, start with a slow speed first. In some blenders and processors, this mode may be called "Stir".
- Powdered food will need no more than medium speed and little time to return to its original rock-free shape.
- It is recommended to keep one hand above the lid of the blender or processor while they are running to prevent it from coming off.
Step 3. Place the powdered food in a clean container
Ideally, the container should be airtight, as they prevent moisture from causing stones to form in the food. If you live in a humid climate or your food is always lumpy, it's also a good idea to store powdered foods in the freezer.
The cold temperatures of the freezers create a dry environment, which reduces the formation of stones in food
Step 4. Use powdered food
You can dust the freezer and use it right away. However, if you're making sweet recipes, it's best to let the powdered ingredients come to room temperature before using. Often, these recipes are formulated based on the belief that all ingredients are at their normal temperature (milk stored in the fridge, chilled eggs, sugar or flour at room temperature, etc.).
The temperature of the ingredients you use will influence the result of the recipe. If you're concerned about how the temperature of powdered foods might affect the recipe, it's best to let them come to room temperature before using them
Method 2 of 3: Sieving Powdered Foods
Step 1. Break the powdered food
If moisture has formed stones in a powdered food, you will first have to break it into smaller pieces. Use something to help, such as a wooden spoon, metal spoon, or an ice tong.
Try to keep the stones as small as possible. Your goal should be not to leave any stone bigger than a marble. This will facilitate the process of sifting the food
Step 2. Take a clean, dry pot to drop the food after sifting
Take a strong, thick sieve and place it in a clean, dry pot. Put the lumped food in the sieve little by little. Push the pebbles through the sieve using a clean, dry utensil such as a wooden spoon.
- Do not use too much force when pushing food through the sieve or you will damage the sieve.
- Some pieces will not come off so easily. Sometimes, there's nothing to do and you have to throw them away.
- A few pebbles small enough to pass through the sieve will fall into the pot. No problem!
- You may have to sift the food a few times before the food has a smooth texture. When you get this, go ahead.
Step 3. Sift again with a finer sieve
Take a finer sieve and place in a clean, dry pot. Pour the powdered food into it gradually and stir so that the loose powder falls into the pot below. Then take a wooden spoon and push the rest of the food through the sieve to loosen it.
- Fine sieves are usually more delicate than coarse ones like the one you used in the previous step. Use less force so as not to break the sieve.
- If you notice that there are stones that are resisting the process, take them out and throw them away.
- You may have to sift the food a few times with the fine sieve before you can get the texture all the same and break all the stones.
- Depending on the thickness of the sieve, there may still be small stones left in the food. In this case, you can repeat the process with an even finer sieve until you get everything even.
Step 4. Store powdered food in a clean, dry pot
Moisture is the biggest culprit in the formation of stones in powdered foods, so it is best to use an airtight pot. Now you can use the powdered food in question.
Method 3 of 3: Preventing lumping
Step 1. Put something to absorb moisture into the mixture
Since moisture causes most stone formation in powdered foods, adding something that absorbs moisture, such as dried rice or beans, prevents stone formation in the food. Both rice and beans are relatively large, which allows them to be easily separated from the food using a sieve.
While beans and rice are often used to absorb moisture, you can also use other things like popcorn
Step 2. Sift the powdered food regularly
Don't wait for the stones to form before you start sifting through the food. Sifting aerates the food and releases moisture that may be trapped inside it. Sifting the food once a month and placing it in a clean, dry airtight pot will reduce lumping.
If the powdered food has not yet started to lump, passing it through the sieve and placing it in another clean and dry airtight pot will prevent the stones from forming
Step 3. Do not leave powdered food near pans with hot food
Cooking things in pots usually releases steam, which is a form of moisture that stays in the air. This moisture will rise from the pan and reach nearby pots, getting trapped inside and causing rocks in the food.
Avoid this by putting powdered food on a spoon or in your hand and then pouring it into the pan along with the food you are cooking
- Sugar maintains its texture better if you put something shaped like a terracotta inside the sugar jar. These objects are sold at home appliance stores.
- Try to keep food away from moisture. If you leave the spices above the stove, the hot air will draw moisture into your spices and make them full of pebbles.