Bet You Didn’t Know Your Kitchen Colander Could Do This!

If you’re only using your colander to drain pasta, you’re tapping just a fraction of its potential.

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Colander held upside-down
Photo: Africa Studio /

Use colanders to prevent grease splatters

Sick of cleaning grease splatters off the stovetop after cooking your famous burgers? Prevent them altogether by inverting a large metal colander over the frying pan. The holes will let heat escape, but the colander will trap the splatters. Exercise caution, as the metal colander will be hot—use an oven mitt or tea towel to remove it.

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Serving pasta at dining table
Photo: Drazen Zigic /

Keep cooked pasta warm

Does your pasta get cold too fast after it’s been served up? To keep it warmer longer, heat the serving bowl first. Place a colander in the bowl, pour the pasta and water into the colander and let the hot water stand in the bowl for a few seconds to heat it. Pour out the water, add the pasta and sauce, and you’re ready to serve.

Try these tricks to make store-bought pasta sauce taste homemade.

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Use Colanders to Organize Bath Toys
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Organize bathtub toys

Don’t let the bathtub look like another messy toy box. After each bath, collect your child’s small bath toys in a large colander and store it on the edge of the tub. The water will drain from the toys, and they’ll be neatly stowed away for next time.

Find out 30 more home organizing hacks to declutter your space.

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Sand castles on beach
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Bring them to the beach

Forget spending money on expensive sand toys for your budding archaeologist. A simple, inexpensive plastic colander is perfect for digging at the beach or in the sandpit.

Here are 50 more things worth repurposing.

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Photo: Shutterstock

Keep berries and grapes fresh

Do your berries and grapes get moldy before you’ve had the chance to enjoy them? To keep them fresh for longer, store them in a colander—not a closed plastic container—in the refrigerator. The cold air will circulate through the holes in the colander, keeping them fresh for days.

Here’s how to pick the best fresh fruit in the produce aisle.

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Fluffy rice in bowl
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Steam rice

For perfect fluffy rice every time, use a colander. Rinse the rice in a metal colander until the water runs clear, then boil the rice in a pot of salted water for five minutes. Next, put the rice back in the colander to drain. Refill the pot with an inch of water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and then place the colander full of rice on top of the simmering pot. Cover the colander with foil and let steam for 10 minutes.

Discover more brilliant cooking shortcuts that save time and effort in the kitchen.

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Cook sifting flour on countertop
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Sift flour

Sifting helps break up clumps and aerate the flour, resulting in a smoother dough. A flour sifter or a fine mesh strainer work best, but if you’re in a pinch, you can use a colander. Hold the handle with one hand, then gently tap the colander full of flour with the other.

These flour hacks will also come in handy.

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Potatoes in basket being peeled
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Rice potatoes

A potato ricer makes the creamiest mashed potatoes; but if you don’t have a ricer, use a colander. It’s a little more labour-intensive, but will get the job done. Press cooked potatoes through the holes of the colander using a spatula.

Find out the trick for peeling potatoes that’s taking over the Internet.

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Washing produce in colander in sink
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Wash produce

This one is a no-brainer, but in case you haven’t tried it—our favourite way to wash produce is in a colander. Place your fruits or vegetables in the colander and hold it under running water; gently shake the colander so each piece gets fully rinsed.

Make sure you never store these fresh foods together.

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Assorted fresh herbs
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Strip herbs

Removing the leaves of fresh parsley, thyme or cilantro can be a tedious task. To make the job easier, thread the stems of the herbs through the colander’s holes and pull. Done! The leaves will stay inside the colander, and the stem will neatly tear away.

Psst—here’s the real difference between herbs and spices.

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Dining outdoors
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Keep flies away

Going on a picnic or eating on the patio? Bring a colander or two. Invert a colander and place it over each dish to keep flies and other bugs away.

Discover the best mosquito repellent plants to add to your landscaping this spring.

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German Spaetzle
Photo: Shutterstock

Make Spaetzle

German Spaetzle are delicious, tender dumplings that can be made with a Spaetzle maker—or a colander. With a wooden spoon, press dough through the colander holes until small pieces drop into boiling water. Cook for two minutes or until the dumplings float.

Now that you’ve got these clever colander hacks under your belt, discover 20 brilliant uses for baking soda.

Originally Published in Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

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