Top tool: RSVP Precision-Perforated Stainless Steel Five-Quart Colander

A colander is an essential part of any kitchen arsenal. I use one several times a week, sometimes several times a day. Over the years, I’ve probably owned a half dozen of them and this is the best by far. Like many of my favourite tools, it does only one job but does it supremely well.

What makes it great?

  • The many holes mean the liquid drains instantly and there are no areas where it pools.
  • The holes are small enough that even spaghettini and angel hair don’t escape. Ditto rice and Israeli couscous. There is some loss with quinoa, however, which is best drained in a fine-mesh strainer.
  • The five-quart size is perfect. As the holes go right up to the rim, so can whatever you pour into it. Unless you make, say, pasta for more than 10 people at a seating, it’s big enough.
  • Construction is first rate. Good gauge of steel – lightweight but sturdy. Welds are numerous and solid.
  • Stainless steel, so no rusting.
  • Both sides have been been polished after drilling, making it easy on the hands and sponge safe (no cheese grater effect as with some drilled or punched colanders).
  • Clean-up is easy. To my surprise, the holes don’t get clogged.
  • It’s broader than it’s deep, a good thing (faster draining, less crushing of soft ingredients).
  • It’s good looking. It could even serve as a fruit bowl or as classy headgear at pastafairan meet-ups.
  • It’s solid enough to withstand forceful pressing (for example, when you want to extract as much juice as possible from the solids of the stock you’ve made).

Any nits to pick?

  • The base could be higher (the liquid drains faster than the sink drain can handle, so the food may end up sitting in potentially contaminated water – though it’s easy enough to pour half the pot, let the liquid drain from the sink and then pour the rest).
  • I’d prefer that the handles and base be riveted on, not welded (not that they’ve loosened in four years of use).
  • It ain’t cheap (I paid a little under C$40 for mine four years ago).

I bought mine at an kitchen supply store in Ottawa, at the time the only place in Canada that stocked it. These days, it’s more widely available, including via, though I’ve not run across it in a Montreal store.

(Photo credit: Click to enlarge.)