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A kitchen utensil that is used to strain liquid or to sift dry ingredients, such as flour or powdered sugar. Also referred to as a "stainer" the sieve has a perforated mesh basket and is available in many different shapes and sizes. Sieves are made of a variety of materials including stainless steel, tinned steel, aluminum, nylon, and cloth. Some have strong, heat-resistant handles and frames containing hooks, which allow the sieve to rest easily on top of pots or bowls. When selecting a sieve, consider the different sized mesh screens on the basket that are necessary for the intended preparation process. The mesh screens range from medium to fine and superfine in the width of the holes woven in the mesh. Sieves with a medium mesh contain a coarse screen with a hole that is approximately 1/16 inch in size. This mesh works well for straining liquids away from pasta, vegetables, hearty sauces, and all types of larger sized foods. Sieves with a fine mesh have a mesh hole that is approximately 1/32 inch in size. This sieve works well for draining lighter fluids and retaining particles such as fruit seeds that may be able to run through larger sized mesh sieves. The finest of screens is the superfine sieve that almost appears to have no holes, due to their tiny size. This sieve works best for very fine particles or very clear liquids such as straining tea or dusting powders on baked goods.

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