Properly using food strainers can make your cooking easier and tastier. There are a few tricks to using your food strainer, and we’ll cover some of those in this post. Also, I want to touch on the differences between a colander and a food strainer since many people confuse the two, and their purposes.
Semantics are what confuse people when the topic of food strainers is brought up. Technically, a colander strains food very well, but it is not a food strainer. Colanders are what you use to drain pasta noodles from its water, and a strainer is what you use for making pasta sauce and jam. Food mills are also considered strainers since they do the same job, just more efficiently.
Recipes that use food strainers are generally sauces and desserts. Bell peppers that have been diced finely can be pressed into the strainer to get a delicious juice out of them. Blackberries and raspberries can be used the same way for flavouring ganaches, icings, and other sweets. The best thing is that you get the entire flavour in the liquid, while separating the pulp and skin so you can throw it away.
The biggest time saving comes when you are making jams and tomato sauce. Fruit that is seedy can be processed in just a few minutes by running it through a food mill. This includes strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and grapes. For pasta sauce, trying to skin a lot of tomatoes can become very annoying, so after they have been blanched, just toss them into a strainer or food mill and run them through. Inside the strainer you have pulp (or crushed tomatoes) and outside you have the sauce.
Using the right food strainer for the recipe is important, and now that you know the difference between the types and how to use them, you are well on your way!