9 Strange Things You Can Do With a Strainer Besides Drain Food

strainerHow often do you use your strainer? You know, that sieve thing, the wire mesh scoopy thing with the handle. That! Maybe you ended up with one as a wedding gift, maybe you bought it yourself, but it has many great uses. Basically, you can use it to separate larger objects from any liquid or powder/sand substance. And not all of those uses are in the kitchen! Here's nine creative ways to use your strainer/sieve. Note: Most of these ideas are for the larger style sieves, around six inches in diameter.

  1. Steam veggies. Place strainer over a pot of water (shallow enough that the water doesn't touch the strainer). Place chopped veggies in "basket" and cover with a lid. Check on the water level to make sure the water doesn't evaporate before your veggies finish steaming.
  2. Sift dry ingredients. You know how in cake recipes they say "sift dry ingredients..." Well, there's actually a tool for that, but you don't need it. Put the strainer over your mixing bowl. Measure your dry ingredients directly into the strainer. And then lift over the bowl and gently shake and tap the strainer until all the ingredients filter out. Everything will be more or less mixed up, and you'll have gotten rid of any lumps. (This also works great if all you want to do is get rid of the clumps in powdered sugar.)
  3. Splatter guard. If you don't have a wire mesh splatter guard, and you like cooking things like bacon, you can use a strainer over your pan as long as it's wide enough and any plastic on the handle is far, far away from the flame. You did not hear this tip from me.
  4. De-lump your gravy. Maybe you're not an expert gravy-maker. Maybe you don't want people to know. Just pour that gravy through a strainer and the lumps will stay behind.
  5. Strain chicken stock. After you've simmered a chicken carcass with some veggies and pepper you'll need to strain it. Here's your tool.
  6. Make Greek yogurt. Place the strainer over a bowl, scoop yogurt into strainer, and let drain overnight.
  7. Sand box toy. If yours is getting old, but there aren't any loose and dangerous wires, this makes a great sand toy. Also, you can use it to find your earring when it falls out as you lean over the sand box.
  8. Scoop poo out of the bathtub. WTF?!? Some of you are saying. Welcome to parenthood! At some point, your DS or DD is going to poo in the tub. And then you'll have to get the poo out of there. But how, without using your bare hands? You're going to miss that strainer when you throw it away after scooping out the poo.

More from The Stir: 9 Great Things You Can Do With a Grater -- Besides Shredding Cheese

Can you think of any other uses for a strainer?


Image via Phil Gradwell/Flickr


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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I always thought they were meant for sifting ingredients. I'd never seen one used for anything else in people's homes or in home economics class until I went to college and saw someone using one to drain pasta. Struck me as a good idea since there wasn't a colander in the kitchen.

nonmember avatar Karri

I grew up using our strainers for most of these. . . except ewwww the last one. I guess they're really handy to have around.

LadyM... LadyMinni

You can also use one to make spaetzle instead of buying a spaetzle press.

dekumama dekumama

I used to have a special cup I kept under the bathroom sink just for scooping poop out of the tub. Ah, the joys of motherhood. I use my strainer to rinse canned beans, and that's pretty much it.

Rhodin Rhodin

I use plastic shopping bags for errant turds.

corri... corrinacs

I strain peaches in there.  My younger son would make a huge mess otherwise :)

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