Everyone needs a strainer, right? Whether it's to drain the water from potatoes or rinse some berries, it's a handy thing to have. Sure, there are ways to work around it. For years, I just tilted a pot lid to restrain the contents and used that to drain liquid from pots. It wasn't the best way to do things, but it worked. Most of the time.
Today, I have more strainers than I should admit to. Small, large, fine mesh large holes...and now there's one more. The collapsible silicone strainer ($30) from Core Kitchen has a few features that make it more useful than the typical metal strainer.
First, the collapsible feature is nice. Anything that can compress itself for storage gets a thumbs-up from me.
But this also works well as a steamer basket, which gets an even bigger thumbs-up. I've used the metal steamers that sit in the bottom of a pot, but they're sort of awkward to use. This is simpler, and it's not an extra thing I need to find space for. And if you want to fill the pot with water and boil in the strainer, you can do that, too—it's safe in boiling water and in the dishwasher.
Overall, I think this is a great idea, particularly for people who don't have a lot of storage space. Earthshaking, no. Useful and practical, yes.
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.