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What We Mean By: Medium or Fine Sieve

Fine Cooking Issue 66
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Bowl-shaped metal sieves are among the kitchen’s most versatile tools. They’re used to drain liquids from solids, refine the texture of sauces, and sift dry ingredients. We have about fifteen different sieves in the test kitchen, but only three of them get used regularly, and these are the ones you should have in your kitchen, too.

Look for sieves with handles made of heatproof rubber or metal; avoid plastic handles. The metal mesh has to be able to handle some pressure without pulling loose from its frame, so press on it a few times to be sure it’s sturdily constructed. Hooks on the sieve frame opposite the handle should have a slight curve to help the sieve stay hooked over a bowl or pot.

Medium sieve: mesh size = 1/16 inch. Used most for sifting, draining small batches of cooked vegetables, or straining out the lumps in thick sauces.

Fine sieve: mesh size = 1/32 inch. Used most for refining texture and separating fine particles or seeds, such as for a fresh berry sauce
Superfine sieve, a.k.a. tea strainer: Mesh size is so small you can barely see through it, let alone measure it. Used most for dusting desserts with cocoa or confectioners’ sugar.


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