I just had to strain a lot of thick liquid and had to place a container on the table and then a metal strainer on the container's "neck" or "entrance". Then I had to pour the liquid onto the strainer and wait/stir periodically as it would clog and slow its dripping to a crawl.

So I wondered - has some mad genius, far beyond our times, invented some sort of a device where you can pour all your liquid into and, it having a strainer on the bottom, you could leave it to strain for longer or at least make it easier by eliminating the need to constantly pour additional liquid?

Maybe something like a cylinder or similar container, that had the strainer on the bottom, so you could affix it to a jar or whatever, pour the entire liquid in it and not bother with the whole pour-put down-pour again jig.

For bonus points it might even have some sort of built-in stirrer.

6 Answers 6


Of course there is. You might consider the different uses of a food mill - if you want to pass the softened material through it to produce a liquid/paste. Can also be used to remove some objects, such as seeds from tomatoes:

food mill

Rickwakenyc at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A mechanical sifter might work - these are a drum shape with a handle working a mechanism inside the drum to pass (usually fine) ingredients, like flour, through the sieve on the bottom - it might work to stir the mixture enough so that the liquid passes through:

flour sifter

Donovan Govan., CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

As per the comment from @Brian, sifters often come with a squeeze handle, which might not work so well for this application; you'd certainly get a forearm workout using this type to strain a thick soup.

A tamis is a series of graduated sieves, often used to sort things by size, but works well in the kitchen too, the coarsest sieve holds the largest lumps, this allows finer stuff to pass through and still be filtered out and allows liquid to come out the bottom:


João Carvalho, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Depending on your needs and the stuff you want to strain, you can also use something as simple as cheesecloth - these are meshed cloths that allow separation of liquid and solid, often by draining for an extended time. Named for their use in cheese making originally, where they were used to separate curds from whey. You usually tie these up and hang to drain, but you can also squeeze things through them.


Sounds like you're looking for a jelly strainer. I remember my mother and grandmother using them to make jams and jellies when I was a kid. It is conical in shape, and would allow the liquid portion to seep through and run down into a collector. Cheesecloth could be used for really fine filtering. It had a wooden stirrer to help squeeze out extra liquid.

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  • I have one of these - I use it for example to put cooked tomato in and press the desirable solids from the "skins" when making tomato juice. You can "roll" the wooden part around to quickly get the job done. When I was a kid we made hundreds of gallons of tomato juice every year this way. Commented Jun 26 at 20:47

There are all sorts of strainers of different shapes, sizes, and, probably in your case, most importantly, mesh size. It sounds like you had too fine a mesh size for the job. Get a strainer with a larger mesh size (or larger holes), you can always re-strain through a finer sieve.

  • 2
    Prefiltering through a coarse strainer helps a lot, but so does allowing settling before pouring off the liquid, until you get down to the thick bit at the bottom.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 24 at 5:45

i think they are called chinois strainers and can be found on Amazon


I believe this item, sometimes referred to as a hopper, would do the trick depending on how big it is. It is basically a funnel with an insert that has colander-like holes in it and covers the entire opening of the bottom of the funnel. You can also use a finer mesh insert for smaller particles. 1 Or a proper colander usually has a base that can fit over certain size containers to keep it steady, however they do not have a strictly bottom straining function. They generally have uniform holes throughout the entire piece. 2


Sometimes these are called "strainer" and sometimes "colander" or "colander strainer" even.

The difference is "colander" has larger holes - and you may wish to put a colander above/inside a strainer to avoid your speed/liquid drain issue to catch the larger solids then the smaller ones.

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