Calling all colanders

I’m searching for a new colander.  One would think this would not require much more than a quick trip to the nearest *Mart, Target or kitchen store, but it is turning out to be a far more challenging task.

I’m replacing the Star colander shown at left.  It was my mother’s, and it is a perfect marriage of form and function — or was, having been manufactured before automatic dishwashers were a twinkle in some engineer’s eye.  It is a Comet brand aluminum colander, and it cannot go in automatic dishwashers as the detergent reacts with the aluminum.  This colander is attractive, a good size, drains quickly and thoroughly, yet has holes small enough that most items will not slip out.It also has loop handles for hanging, and looks good hanging next to the sink.  I love it.

I bought a new colander.  It was not my ideal, being kind of clunky looking, but it was stainless and a bit larger, which seemed ok.  Until I used it, I didn’t realize that the ring base left a depression in the bottom of the colander that collects water.  In other words, it doesn’t drain thoroughly without a whole lot of shaking going on.  Arghh.

Now that I am aware of this flaw, I am amazed at the number of colanders I see with this same design flaw.  Form follows function, people!  Looks are second to function, in this case draining liquid.  In a perfect world, my mother’s old colander will be re-issued, only in stainless.  As it is, I’m still hunting for second best.

The upside to the story?  Yesterday, while searching on E-bay for a colander, I found a strainer insert that will fit my 8 quart stockpot. (It looks just like the insert for my big blanching pot, which is 12 quart, and just too big for pasta for Dan and I, but perfect for blanching chard.)  If I win the auction, maybe I can use that as a colander!

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5 Responses to “Calling all colanders”

  1. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    Okay, I’m going to ask the obvious question here. Why are you replacing that old colander that you love? My mother had that one, handed down from her mother. I loved it too, but she tossed it out at some point and got a shiny new one. I would love one of those. I had a sucky colander for many years, and I used it until the base fell off, and then for a while after that too. I eventually replaced it with an RSVP Endurance Punch colander. You should be able to google that. It drains very well despite the slightly flattened bowl phenomenon you mention. My only complaint is that it has so many holes that it creates optical illusions. When cleaning it, it’s hard to see where the residue is. Oh, and little bits of things cling to the inside and require sweeping with the hand to get out. So many holes!

  2. Ali Says:

    Kate, I’m replacing it because using it in the dishwasher has caused it to corrode, and aluminum salts and food don’t mix.
    Thanks for the tip on your colander!

  3. Tracy Says:

    Ali – My mom had that colander, too! What a memory from growing up.

    My colanders are these mesh colanders from Williams Sonoma:

    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cw024/index.cfm?pkey=xsrd0m1|16|||0|||||||colander&cm_src=SCH.

    When I bought them at least 15 years ago they didn’t make them with handles. I’m not sure how much I would like the handles, but I know Bill would like at least one with handles for when he’s brewing beer and needs to let things strain into his very large brew kettle. I actually didn’t think the mesh would hold up, but here it is 15 years later and they look as good as new (and they go in the bottom rack of the dishwasher).

    What I like is that they’re very light and that there are three sizes. I like having multiple colanders. I mostly use the middle size, but it’s nice to have the largest size for lots of pasta, and the smallest size for draining a can or two of black beans. What I don’t like is hand-washing them – it can sometimes be difficult to get all the little bits out of the mesh. But that’s where a nice sink sprayer comes in handy.

    I’ve occasionally looked at non-mesh colanders, but have never been convinced that I’ve found one that’s so much better that I’d spend the money. Wait, maybe I spoke too soon – I might look at these from Williams Sonoma:

    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cw023/index.cfm?pkey=xsrd0m1|16|||0|||||||colander&cm_src=SCH

    Non-mesh, no flat bottom like you describe, three sizes – yes, I think would accept those as a birthday present!

  4. Amanda Says:

    I have, instead of coladers, a set of 3 stainless steel mesh strainers that have a support on the bottom rather than arms- basically, work-alike colanders. I love them. That largest is not as big as the usual colander, but it’s plenty big enough for me, and its smaller size makes it easier to store. I think I got the set for about $20 at Target.

    They also make great containers in which to store tomatoes in the summer!

  5. Ali Says:

    Hey Tracy, great to hear from you! And thanks for the links, those colanders all look pretty good. Now I just have to decide which set…mesh or pierced

    Ali

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