These bowl-shaped mesh strainers come in
various sizes, the largest of which is often called a colander. Sieves are
used for everything from draining pasta and straining stock to dusting
desserts with cocoa or confectioners' sugar.
If buying a colander, choose a metal one
with strong handles. Plastic ones are more likely to break. When buying a
mesh sieve, look for a sturdy frame and handle. Dishwasher-safe sieves can
save on cleaning time.
Wash sieves as soon as you are finished with
using them. Otherwise, food dries up in the holes, making cleaning even
more difficult. To clean a clogged sieve, soak it in hot, soapy water,
then scrub it with a vegetable brush. To use a large-holed colander as a
fine sieve, just line the colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth.
If you need to quickly remove liquid from a
pot of solids and liquids, insert a sieve into the pot (a cone shaped
sieve works best). The solids will remain on the outside of the sieve so
that the liquid can be quickly removed with a ladle. This technique is
useful for removing stock from a pot without straining the whole pot, or
for removing excess water from an ice-water bath in which the ice has
melted too much.