Is it a sieve or a strainer? Whatever you call it, it definitely has seen you through good food and bad. A kitchen is never without a mesh strainer. You can get rid of your blender, your cheesecloth, your colander, or your spinning vegetable dryer because a strainer can do everything and more that these four can. Mesh strainers save you so much time, money, space, and tears, fortunately. But did you know that mesh strainers are not limited to the kitchen? And I don’t mean taking them to the dining room because that does not count. Some of these uses are so ingenious, we’re a bit mad we didn’t think of them first. We’ll get into that later because for now, I will be giving a round-up of the five best mesh strainers you can buy anywhere.
Cuisinart Fine Mesh Strainers
Coming as a set of three with a lifetime warranty by Cuisinart is a premium deal. It works well with both dry and wet ingredients without any mess or waste. It can support heavy water weight and multiple cans of food. The mesh strainer will not give when submerged or dipped in hot water and oil. It is dishwasher safe and still easy to clean even by hand. Having a Cuisinart strainer is like having a kitchen porter on-call that you paid less than 15 dollars once.
HIC Double-Ear Fine Mesh Strainer
Seven inches for all your eating pleasures. The food-grade, non-reactive, fine nylon mesh is the best material for straining or pureeing your acidic ingredients like lemons and tomatoes. With a very fine weave, only liquids and impurities escape when draining food with this strainer, it guarantees no waste of money. You can eat better and healthier. It’s the perfect companion in the kitchen, allowing you to multi-task. It makes a good job of sifting through dry ingredients such as flour, baking soda, and sugar, allowing air to fluff them. Imagine following a complicated recipe, you would need a strainer that can sit and drain atop a bowl while you rinse whisk some eggs and measure your liquids. While waiting for your cake to bake, you can go ahead and rinse it and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
LiveFresh Food Strainer Set
For a set of three, you get FDA approved premium stainless steel strainers that come in 3 convenient sizes (7-5/8”, 5-1/2” and 3”). It has a black non-slip rubber handles making it easier to strain hot materials with no accidents. You can easily, submerge this trainer in boiling water to scoop up pasta, eggs or root vegetables. With the super fine mesh, food does not escape through the sift, no wastes! it has double ears to be able to sit on top of bowls and pots, leaving your food to strain while you do other things. Cleaning can be done by the dishwasher with no fear of rusting or tearing in the mesh.
Winco MS3A-8D Strainer
Wondering about which strainers do professional and celebrity chefs use? Wonder no more as it is made known that Winco is one of the most used brands at restaurants, hotels, and home kitchens across America. So what can we expect from this 20-year-old brand? one, it can meet any of your demands, no matter how high and heavy. Two, it is so reliable and sturdy you can pass it down to the next generation. The stainless steel mesh can take the heat of your newly cooked food and the grip on the distinct steel and wooden handle is excellent. It is so easy to clean and store. With a diameter of 8 inches, it can also be used to measure a healthy serving of pasta and similar food items.
Culina Nylon Mesh Strainer
Basing off looks, the Culina strainer might not hold up compared to the aforementioned strainers. But one thing is for sure, this Culina will last you for years! Made from durable non-reactive nylon, it will not easily tear or build up any rust and does not transfer any odor, flavors or color to the food or substance being strained. The ten-inch diameter is convenient enough for constant usage. With, hooks on the rim of the strainer, it can be placed on top of a bowl and used one-handed or hands-free while pouring or mashing a food item onto it. The handle has an eyelet hole on so it can be hanged for storage to retain its form and dry out after use. It can also be bought in sets of three that ranges from 3 inches up to 7 inches in diameter. According to online reviews, this strainer is the top choice for straining kefir and yogurt and separating residue and sediment from liquids without affecting its temperature.
Basically, the main thing you need to look for in a strainer is the mesh quality. It has to be strong enough to hold enough volume without tearing from the rim or breaking from the handle. It must be properly and securely attached to the rim. The mesh must be stain-proof and rust-free because you will be using this on food. There are two types of mesh, stainless and nylon. Stainless strainers can withstand heat and be submerged in hot liquids, including oil. Nylons, on the other hand, are best used for acidic or reactive ingredients to prevent spoilage or changing the taste. Finding the right size or getting a whole set is a personal preference based on needs.
Now for the fun part, I will go ahead and tell you about some of the unconventional ways that mesh strainers are used in and out of the kitchen.
- You can place a strainer over a saucepan with little water. Once it starts to heat up, you can toss our chopped vegetables in the mesh. Once they steam up, remove and serve.
- Thick sauces can get lumpy if the bechamel or base is not thoroughly mixed. To remedy this, pour the sauce into the strainer and push out the lumps through the mesh to break them down and reheat.
- Make your own coconut milk from freshly grated coconut meat. Pour warm water on the meat and squeeze it over a strainer and bowl. Save the virgin milk. Pour a little warm water again on the shreds and place them on the strainer and squeeze them against the mesh to completely drain them of the juice. Now you have two squeezes of coconut milk that you can make to thicken your curry.
- If you don’t have a bartending kit, you can use the smallest strainer to strain the juice out of fresh ingredients, to mash some soft fruit, and to separate the cocktail from pulp, leaves, and ice.
- Store fruits and berries in a strainer instead of a bowl for air to circulate through them when placing them inside the fridge. The soft mesh won’t bruise the fruit and they will stay fresh for longer.
- Use large strainers to cover cooked food placed at counter tops and tables. The strainer can keep flies and other insects away. Depending on the fineness of the mesh, it can also keep dust and dirt away. You no longer have to worry about contamination.
- Place it over the frying pan to keep hot oil from splattering everywhere. This is very useful when you are frying bacon. Or you could use the strainer to scoop up tempura and frittatas from hot bubbling oil.
- A cheesecloth is traditionally used to make cheese and yogurt but if have a fine double mesh strainer, you can use it instead. A big plus is the easy clean-up after.
- Old strainers can be re-purposed as planters for herbs and sprouts. It holds soil well and lets excess water drain. The strainer can especially look good as hanging planters.
- Another use for old strainers is to give them to children to play with in the sandbox or to sift through soil. Kids can pretend to be archaeologists or treasure hunters given the right tools.
- Strainers can be used to pick up floating debris or dirt from aquariums, tubs and tiny pools. You can even keep accessories and toys in a strainer as a caddy while taking a bath or on a swim.
- Strainers can be tied to an end of a pole to pick fruit from trees and prevent it from splattering into the ground.
Now that we have the determined that the mesh strainer is one of the most useful tools in the kitchen that can also be used elsewhere, what is stopping you from getting one? It can replace a variety of kitchen tools, so it would be best to buy a mesh strainer before anything else. Mesh strainers of high quality will last you years but you don’t have to throw them away when you are looking for a replacement. Old strainers can retire from the kitchen but can be repurposed into something else like planters and caddies.