Today’s Tip is in response to a request from a reader asking for ways for a Mom with limitations in her hands to have an easier and safer way of lifting and draining pasta. Great question. Pasta can be the starting point for an endless variety of easy meals. Lifting, carrying and draining hot liquid can be extremely difficult for some and there can also be a safety concern.
Here are some ways to approach the task of draining pasta to limit the strain and heavy lifting:
• If using short pasta (penne, rotini, maccaroni) use a Spider (see below) or a Large Slotted spoon. Remove pasta directly from the water to the pan with the sauce or bowl or however you wish to use it.
• If using long pasta (spaghetti, linguini) remove pasta strands from water using tongs and put directly into sauce or bowl. I use lightweight spring loaded aluminum tongs as shown below.
- After using one of these removal methods leave the water in the pot on the stove. You can then ask for someone to help at a later time or, wait until water has cooled down so you can more readily handle without an immediate sense of urgency or risk of burns.
• Lighten the load – if not wanting to use one of the removal methods above you can scoop out some of the water from the pot before lifting so it won’t be so heavy. Using a 2 cup plastic measuring cup and wearing oven mitts makes short work of this task. Once you have removed most of the water, take the now much lighter pot to the sink to drain.
• I do not recommend the metal inserts that can be lifted out of a pot to drain pasta. I find these still to be awkward to deal with and dangerous with the hot water and steam.
Spider Kitchen Utensil – a spider is one of my more frequently used kitchen tools. It is a light weight large shallow wire-mesh basket with a long handle, usually made of wood. The wire basket is woven in a loose pattern that resembles a spider’s web, hence the name. Unlike a strainer the design and open weave of a spider allows it to be used with one hand to lift items out of hot liquid or oil instantly and with little effort. It’s low shallow shape allows you to get right to the bottom of a deep pot and remove all of the pasta. I always use this method for scooping out pasta, or perogies etc.
Kitchen Tongs – a must have. I have a few pair so that If one is in the dishwasher I’ve got another pair on the ready. I use this style of lightweight aluminum with the closed tips. Easily picks up anything and holds it in a firm grip. Ideal for lifting strands of pasta out of a pot. I find this style preferable to a pasta fork as you can get a better grip and have more control.
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