I must have a bazillion measuring devices—spoons, cups, beakers, jars, pitchers, and, of course, a scale. But the measuring colander from Chef's Planet ($10 for 2-cup; $13 for 3-cup) is unique among its brethren because it has holes. Lots and lots of holes. The idea is that you can use the colander to measure, drain, and rinse foods, like when you've got berries. Or cherry tomatoes. Or olives. Or canned goods where you don't need the liquid.
A measuring colander may not be the most revolutionary product ever, but I've never seen anything quite like it, and it makes a lot of sense. Even if you don't need to measure, it makes a nice colander. At home I use a big colander when I've got a lot of stuff to drain or rinse, but I usually use a strainer for smaller batches. That works well enough, but sometimes I lose a few bits that sail over the edge of the strainer. Since this is shaped like a cup, I'm less likely to lose those canned beans as I drain and rinse them.
I wish it were easier to read the measurements—which are marked at the holes in the colander—but like any measuring cup, after I use it a few times, I'll know which mark is the one I'm looking for. It measures in half-cup increments, which is good enough for lumpy-bumpy foods like strawberries. You can certainly eyeball quarter-cups if you need to.
My only slight quibble is that I wish the holes were a bit smaller so I could use this for rinsing rice or other grains. On the other hand, that would make it less efficient for rinsing dirty strawberries and getting rid of all the grit. In that regard, the hole size makes sense.
As a little bonus, the bottom of the colander is designed to fit a standard tuna can so you can use it to drain tuna. I usually just use the tuna can lid, but I can see how this might be a little more efficient if you're draining a lot of cans.
Overall, this is a pretty useful item. Not essential, but handy to have.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.