Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Colander in Tagalog? History and Difference from Strainer

The colander in Tagalog is called “salaan,” where “sala” here means “to filter”. As a kitchen utensil, a colander is a bowl-shaped strainer that is used for draining liquids from foods. Typically made of aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, or ceramic, colanders have evenly spaced holes to allow liquids to drain away. Most of them have handles while others also have legs for easier handling and stability.

Colanders in the Philippines

The term “colander” is believed to have originated from the Latin word “colare,” which means “to strain” or “to filter.” Aside from separating liquids, such as water or oil, from solid foods like vegetables or fruits, colanders are also used for draining pasta. The origin of the colander is not exactly known, but evidence suggests that sieves in ancient Egypt were made from reeds. 

On the other hand, ancient Romans used colanders made from materials like bronze or copper. These early colanders often had relatively large holes and were used not only for straining liquids from food but also for washing produce. During the Middle Ages in Europe, colanders were often made from wicker or wood. They had a simple design and larger holes.

As metalworking techniques improved, colanders started to be made from metals like brass, copper, and tin. These materials allowed for more intricate perforation designs. By the Renaissance period, colanders had become more common in European kitchens. They were used for various culinary tasks and became more widely accessible.

With the advent of mass production techniques during the Industrial Revolution, colanders came in a wide range of sizes and shapes. The availability of stainless steel in the 20th century further improved their durability and hygiene. This made the colanders a staple in modern kitchens and suited different cooking needs. And as the kitchen continues to evolve, the colander will still play an important role.

While there is no strict standardization for colander sizes, they can be categorized into four sizes – small, medium, large, and extra large. Small colanders are typically 6 to 8 inches in diameter and are suitable for rinsing small quantities of fruits, berries, or vegetables. Medium-sized colanders usually have a diameter of around 9 to 10 inches and are ideal for straining a few servings of pasta or grains.

Large colanders can have diameters ranging from 11 to 13 inches, and are great for draining larger batches of pasta. They can also be useful when making bigger quantities of stews that need to be strained. On the other hand, extra-large colanders have diameters exceeding 14 inches and are usually used in commercial kitchens. Colander spoons have long handles and look like huge spoons with an open basket.

Meanwhile, strainers are also called “salaan” in Filipino. But unlike colanders, strainers have fine mesh construction instead of large holes. They are designed for greater filtration and are mostly used for rinsing rice before cooking, straining tea leaves, and catching sprigs of soup bones. Vegetables and pasta are also sometimes cooked by placing them in a strainer basket and dipping them into boiling water.

In the Philippines, the term “colander” is not so popular and most Filipinos refer to it as a strainer. This is also why both of them are called “salaan,” and Filipinos only categorize them depending on their usage. For instance, they say “salaan ng gata” when referring to a coconut milk strainer. Kitchen food waste strainers and colanders placed upside down and used for covering food are also called “salaan.”

Use colander in a sentence.


Huwag mo kalimutang linisin yung salaan pagkatapos mong gamitin sa pagluto ng spaghetti.


Don’t forget to clean the colander after using it for cooking spaghetti.

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