Which mesh strainers are best?
A kitchen colander is an excellent tool for large jobs, like draining pasta or blanched vegetables. But what do you reach for when you require a smooth, velvety texture for a soup, puree or sauce? In these cases, a mesh strainer is the choice of both professional chefs and amateur home cooks alike. This tool is also great for cooks working in small spaces.
The best mesh strainers are sturdy and work expertly to elevate your cooking. To strain like a professional chef with a kitchen tool that is guaranteed for life, choose the LiveFresh Large Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer.
What to know before you buy a mesh strainer
Food strainers make short work of separating what you want (for example, pasta) from what you don’t want (the pasta water). But they have a variety of uses, and there are a few things you need to know before choosing the one that’s best for you.
Strainers are made of thin stainless steel wire. The best mesh strainer will use a firmer wire, not a floppy one. It can be very difficult to press a thick set jam through a floppy mesh strainer. Stiff mesh also holds a better shape and is more durable.
Size of the mesh
The size of the mash is also crucial. Too small and it can be difficult to strain anything through, but too large and big particles that you don’t want may end up in your food. Consider what you’ll use the strainer for and choose the appropriate mesh size based on that.
Depth and width of the basket
The depth of the basket matters. A shallow basket means that you won’t be able to strain as much at one time, but a basket that is too deep can make it difficult to reach all the way to the bottom.
A good, all-purpose basket width is around 8 inches. Smaller fine mesh strainers work well for more delicate tasks, such as sifting powdered sugar. But for most larger straining jobs, an 8-inch basket is best.
What to look for in a quality mesh strainer
The handle should be comfortable to hold and feel stable. Some handles will be metal, while others might be plastic, rubber or wood. Regardless of which type of handle you prefer, it should not get slippery when wet.
Fine mesh that is tightly woven and stiff is going to be the most durable choice for a mesh strainer. This mesh will keep its shape after many months of use and will produce smooth purées and light, fluffy flour.
Look for a mesh strainer that comes with wide hooks to allow it to sit on a bowl or a pot. The hooks will go over one side of the pot, while the handle rests on the other side. This allows you to use a ladle or spoon to press or sift the food through the mesh.
Some strainers come in sets of two or three. They might have different sizes of mesh, or they may simply have different-sized baskets. Having more than one mesh strainer offers cooks the flexibility and the opportunity to tailor the strainer to the task at hand.
How much you can expect to spend on a mesh strainer
Expect to spend between $12-$20 on a mesh strainer. Although it is possible to spend $50 or more, you can get a high-quality strainer within this price range.
Mesh strainer FAQ
What do you use a mesh strainer for?
A. Mesh strainers have a variety of uses, including:
- Rinsing rice
- Cleaning herbs, vegetables and fruit
- Sifting flour or powdered sugar
- Straining sauces and purees
You can also strain homemade medicinal tinctures, rinse dried beans (and remove tiny stones) and make seedless jams and jellies.
How do you care for a mesh strainer?
A. The finer the mesh of the strainer, the more challenging it will be to clean. Even if you won’t wash it right away, rinse immediately after use to prevent food from sticking.
When you are ready to clean your mesh strainer, soak in hot, soapy water before completely rinsing the mesh with a sprayer.
Add detergent to a sponge, and carefully scrub the mesh. Rinse completely, and check to make sure you’ve removed all of the food. Dry with a dish towel, and then let dry completely before storage.
What’s the best mesh strainer to buy?
Top mesh strainer
What you need to know: This is a strainer for professionals or home cooks who are tough on kitchen equipment.
What you’ll love: Designed with the commercial kitchen in mind, this large strainer is reinforced to handle large batches of food. The handle is easy to grip, and the hooks on the bowl of the strainer are perfect for resting on the edge of a bowl or pot. This strainer is backed by a 100% Lifetime Manufacturer’s Warranty.
What you should consider: Some cooks wanted larger hooks and found that the strainer did not fit in their prep sinks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top mesh strainer for the money
What you need to know: This set of three mesh strainers fits all of your kitchen jobs perfectly.
What you’ll love: The fine mesh is held in place with a durable metal rim. Construction is sturdy, and the handle is comfortable to hold and easy to grip. The strainers are dishwasher safe.
What you should consider: The mesh is so fine that cleaning can be tricky.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This hands-free strainer is great for straining large batches of sauce and can also be used to drain water for pasta or blanched veggies.
What you’ll love: The handles are great for moving the strainer, but their primary function is to expand over the edges of the sink for hands-free use. The strainer also has feet, and the whole strainer features sturdy stainless steel construction. It is large enough to replace your kitchen colander.
What you should consider: Watch out for sharp metal underneath the strainer in the middle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.