What is the Difference Between Colander and Strainer?

We use kitchen gadgets daily to simplify and speed up our work. A strainer and colander are the most common tools that are used for filtration. These multifunctional kits are cleverly designed to save time. Many people are unsure of the difference between a colander and a strainer as they work similarly.

Stainer and colander are used to separate liquid from solid materials. Colanders are commonly bowl-shaped kitchen appliances with holes for straining foods, such as pasta. A strainer is a filtering form that relates to strain water.

This article explains the difference between a strainer and a colander. Stay tuned till the end.

Difference Between a Colander and a Strainer

A colander and strainer are pieces of cookware that you regularly use in the kitchen. Both have their own benefits. After observing them carefully, you can find some technical differences. Such as:

  • Typically, colanders come in a larger size than strainers.
  • Colanders feature a base that allows them to stand individually, whereas stainers have one or two sides handled without any base.
  • Colanders have bigger holes throughout the body, offering an adequate level of filtration. Strainers have mesh bodies for a high level of filtration.

What is Colander Used For?

women holding a colander filled with noodles.

A colander is a large and deep bowl with drainage holes. It is available mainly in metal, silicon, plastic, and aluminum options. Typically, home cooks or chefs use the tool to remove liquids from solids. People use it for large pieces of foods such as draining pasta, rinsing vegetables, or meats.

A colander is useful when you bring a pack of green leafy vegetables or fruits from the market, and they need to wash. Put veggies on the colander and wash them under the tap water. It ensures water keeps out while veggies are inside the bowl and become dirt-free. The colander has a base so it can independently stand under the tap.

You can relate colanders to a large cooking bowl that can accommodate family-sized portions of foods. Many use the cookware in more decorative ways. You can keep it in the countertop containers for washed products.

What is A Strainer Used For?

When it comes to domestic employment, a strainer is the most necessary arrangement. You can use it to eliminate unwanted particles and impurities from the liquid streams. For the strainer material, we have seen the usage of stainless steel technology around the world.

However, stainless steel strainers have different styles and aspects and you can choose based on your individual needs. You can get it in a teacup to bowl size. Typically, the strainer has a wire-mesh body that is often used to separate small solid pieces. When you require finer filtration, a strainer is the only solution. You can use the strainer for multi-purpose.

Often a small strainer is used to strain out a fine piece of sediments like tea leaves, fruit purees, or lemon seeds. The bigger one is used for sifting flour, powdering sugar, and straining soup, or sauces. The big strainer comes with a handle or hooks so that you can rest over the top of the bowl.

How do You Drain Spaghetti with a Colander?

Drain spaghetti with a colander is the most common usage. Go through these below instructions for draining spaghetti with a colander:

  • Choose a large bowl-shaped colander with a base so that it can stand on the sink individually.
  • Place the colander flat and steady in an empty sink. Also, ensure there is no standing water in the sink as you don’t want dirty water toches your spaghetti.
  • Now carry the pot of spaghetti over the sink and gently pour all the things into the colander. Be careful and not splash yourself with hot water.
  • Through the holes of the colander, the excess water will drain out, leaving perfectly cooked spaghetti.

Now enjoy your warm spaghetti with some sauce, parmesan, and veggies.

Can You Steam Food in a Colander?

Kitchen gadgets make your work easier but some tools cost you expensive. But if you follow some hacks, you can save big bucks. Steam basket is such a tool that you don’t use frequently. Here you can apply a simple trick and save your already-crowded shelves. All you need is a metal colander.

  • Fill a large pot with a half-inch of water.
  • Place the metal colander inside the pot. You need a two-side handled colander so that you can rest it easily over the pot.
  • Keep enough space between the pot and colander so that boiling water doesn’t touch the colander.
  • Give a single layer of food and bring the water to boiling.
  • Cover the pot so that steam doesn’t escape.
  • Now, leave the food until it is cooked perfectly.

How do You Clean a Colander?

After using a colander, sometimes residue sticks to its body and blocks the holes. Once it gets dried becomes more difficult to clean. However, it is not impossible to clean. Here are the steps of cleaning a colander.

  • Block the drain plug of the sink and fill it with water.
  • Mix some dishwashing soap in the water.
  • Put the colander into the soapy water and soak it for 15 minutes. It will loosen the residue.
  • Take a scrubbing sponge, soak it in soapy water, and scrub the colander.
  • Hold the colander upside down and hold it under a running faucet.
  • If you still don’t remove residue, you can use a bristle brush to remove the debris.
  • Rinse the colander thoroughly and dry it.

Why is a Colander Called a Strainer?

The action of a colander and strainer is quite similar, but their usage makes them different cookware. People call the colander a strainer for their similar action. Moreover, a colander is widely used to drain pasta, which is why it is also called a pasta strainer. However, there are many differences, as we have mentioned earlier. These two types of cookware will serve you in different ways and make your cooking task faster.

Can You Cook Pasta in a Colander?

Cooking pasta in a colander is supposed to make the draining process much easier than the regular process. You just need the right size of the metal colander that perfectly rests over the cooking pot.

  • Put your cooking pot on the stove and place a slightly smaller colander inside it. The colander handle should rest over the rim of the pot.
  • Fill the pasta pot with water as the direction on the package. Pour enough water to ensure the colander is submerged completely and there is enough water. In this way, your pasta doesn’t stick to the colander as it cooks.
  • Now, turn on the burner, boil the water, and cook your pasta.
  • When your pasta is cooked perfectly, turn off the stove.
  • Hold the colander’s handles carefully and simply lift it up.
  • To drain excess droplets, shake the colander a little bit.
  • Then transfer the pasta to a bowl for serving.

Final Words

A colander and strainer are two must-have kitchen equipment. Though they both work for filtration, people use them for different purposes. In the article, you must know the overall perspective of these cookware pieces and their usage. So you shouldn’t be confused about them and shop according to your needs.

Related post: What is the difference between strainer and sieve?

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