A colander is essential in any well-equipped kitchen. It can be used to drain pasta noodles, wash vegetables, rinse rice and grains, or even use in conjunction with cheesecloth for straining yogurt or stock. You should get at least one colander or even two or three depending on how you cook. There are many colanders available, each with different capacities and draining holes. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of colanders and which one might work best for your needs.
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What is the best material and design for colander?
Stainless steel is the most popular colander material because it is lightweight and strong. There are many sizes and shapes of metal colanders, so make sure to consider your preferences.
Using a stainless steel colander, you don’t need to worry about it getting rusted. And the smooth pierced surface is very easy and safe to clean with hands and cloth. It is also dishwasher safe.
The stainless steel colander allows you to drain and hold all kinds of foods without falling through, such as cooked noodles, pasta, chicken, grains, and beans, as long as you choose the right hole size.
Stainless Steel Colander with Feet or a Rim
Most colanders come with feet or a rim to support them, which should be held at least an inch above the sink’s bottom to allow water to drain easily. You can wash vegetables in the sink with squat models. And taller versions can catch large quantities of lasagna sheets.
Stainless steel colander with extendable arms
A colander that has extendable arms can be adjusted to fit completely over the sink.
Fine mesh colanders can be used to drain or rinse small-grained foods like rice, quinoa, or orzo. The fine mesh makes it possible to strain solids from stock and particles out of liquids. However, they can be hard to clean.
If you are looking for the best colander for kids, tough BPA-free plastic is an excellent choice. They won’t get hotter than those stainless-steel ones. Plastic colanders are lightweight and cheap. They usually have larger holes which means liquids can drain quickly. and are suitable for washing cold food. Because plastic colanders will melt if they are in direct contact with hot pans or pots. Even if the model you choose is heat-safe to at most 225°F(107℃), please avoid using them with hot or acidic foods regularly, otherwise, they may deform and release toxic ingredients.
Two-in-one plastic colander
Some colanders have more innovative features. A 2-in-1 colander set has a wider solid bowl outside for containing water, and a fitting colander inside for straining. There is also a 360-degree rotating design for easy pouring wastewater.
This allows you to easily use produce- rinsing water for watering plants. You can finish washing vegetables or grains directly inside the colander without having to pour or collect them into another bowl. The larger hole set is great for veggies and berries while the smaller holes version allows you to wash grains and beans.
Collapsible plastic colander over the sink
Colanders made of powder-coated or enameled metal can come in a variety of pretty colors. Some even have holes punched in decorative patterns.
The enamel or stoneware colander is beautiful enough to be used as a fruit bowl or basket on the countertop or refrigerator. Because these holes help with airflow and prevent fruits from rotting quickly. They can also be used to immediately activate duties on the sink side.
However, they can take some time to drain. Make sure there are lots of holes in the colander, especially near the base.
Aluminum is lightweight, durable, and heat-conductive. Similar to stainless steel colander, an aluminum colander usually comes with handles for good grip, a smooth surface that is safe and easy to clean, and a rim on the base for sturdy holding food. It is a great alternative to stainless steel colander.
However, the aluminum colander must avoid direct contact with acidic foods such as tomatoes, vinegar, and citrus. Because aluminum may react with and leach into acidic food.
Silicone is lightweight but durable, heat-safe, stick-resistant, easy to use, and clean. It is dishwasher safe.
A collapsible silicone colander may be the best choice for you if space is limited in your kitchen. It can be folded down to the same width as a cutting board and stored in a cabinet, drawer, or drying tray. You will find them made of entire silicone or has a silicone panel that allows you to flatten them significantly for storage. The silicone colander can hold its shape while pouring food into it.
Collapsible silicone colander and strainer set
Large holes are best for fast water drainage, such as when pasta is being prepared. These colanders are great for washing vegetables to remove any dirt or debris. However, these large holes won’t work well for rinsing raw rice or draining small pasta shapes.
A small mesh colander with a diameter of 4 to 5 inches is also useful. It can be used to rinse berries or strain beans, or as a stand-in for catching tea leaves while you make your cup of tea.
Make sure it is the same size as the pot you use to boil potatoes or pasta.
How to use a colander?
Use your colander for more than just cooking. These are some other uses for your colander.
Berry keeper: Rinse the berries and place them in a colander suspended over a bowl, or on a plate. This will allow air circulation around the fruit, which will prevent it from molding.
To make Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese, line a colander with damp cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl and spread plain yogurt on the cheesecloth. Let drain and then refrigerate for between 30 minutes and an hour for thicker Greek-style yogurt or several hours or overnight for yogurt cheese. This is a spreadable, tangy cheese that’s similar to cream cheese.
You can use it as a bug shield at an outdoor meal. To keep the flies away, place a large colander on top of a plate of food until you are ready to eat.
Make a kitchen herb garden. Line a used metal colander or an old colander from a yard sale or thrift store with moss. Fill the colander with dirt, and then plant some culinary herbs such as basil, parsley, mint, mint, or other herbs. You can place it on a sunny windowsill. Water often.
Make an ad-hock salsini spinner. Place the colander in a bowl. Add lettuce or other greens. Cool water should be added to the bowl until the greens are fully submerged. The greens should be tossed in the cool water. Next, take the colander out. To remove any excess water from the greens, place a plate or towel on top of the colander.
What is the difference between a strainer and a colander?
A strainer is usually made of stainless steel fine mesh. Its shape and size are similar to a bowl. It is smaller than a colander, usually with a handle for draining pasta, removing fried food from hot oil, rinsing pints of berries, catching seeds when squeezing lemons, etc.
A colander usually has a short or tall rim or feet so it is able to sit on its own base and not require a handle. It holds more weight than a strainer. Colanders can be made of various materials and colors, such as stainless steel, enamel or powder-coated metal, plastic, aluminum, or silicone. Even if they are bowl-shaped, but usually with larger holes. They can be used to drain cooking water from food, and wash vegetables and fruits.