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The $7 Kitchen Tool That Practically Does It All

Southern Living logo Southern Living 9/14/2018 Hannah Hayes
© Etienne Girardet/ Getty Images

From the stand mixer to the high-power blender, there are plenty of expensive kitchen devices that earn their keep on your counters. But in a world that continues to invent appliances and tools like butter spreaders ergonomically shaped for corn on the cob or quesadilla irons, we like to adopt the ethos that less is more when it comes to adding anything more to our cupboards and drawers.

It’s also how we’ve found that the best tools are almost always the simplest from this perfectly shaped spatula to the trusty cast iron skillet. But there might be one ultra-affordable, low-profile tool missing from your utensil crock, and you also might wonder how you ever cooked without it.

Kitchen Strainer at a market © Getty / GOLFX Kitchen Strainer at a market

It’s called the spider strainer, and it looks like a miniature basket on a stick. Fancier versions in stainless steel are available but this metal mesh and bamboo one for $7 is all you need to reach culinary enlightenment. Here are only a few of the ways you can use it:

  • Turn and retrieve okra, chicken, shrimp, or any other number of foods from frying oil without any splatters.
  • Fish out one or two pasta noodles to test whether they’ve become al dente. Or use it to pull out delicate noodles without smashing them in a colander.
  • Remove herb sprigs, garlic cloves, bones, or other items needed to make stock.
  • Quickly take boiled or poached eggs out of hot water and plunge them in an ice bath.
  • Blanch vegetables like carrots or green beans.

The best part of the spider strainer? After doing all that, there’s no crazy clean up involved. Just scrub it down or pop it in the dishwasher. Add to cart, and you’ll thank yourself during next week’s pasta night.

Related video: Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce over Pappardelle Pasta

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