When selecting a Sieve, consider the different sized mesh screens or perforated surfaces and the shape of the Sieve that is necessary for the intended preparation process. The mesh screens or perforated holes 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.
Several similar kitchen tools that may be used as a Sieve are a Chinois or a Colander. The Chinois is a cone shaped strainer that can be placed in a Chinois stand to hold it while food ingredients are filtered through its mesh or steel holed strainer. The Chinois is typically used to make very clear sauces, stocks and vegetable juices. A Colander typically is formed as an oval or round shaped utensil with two handles and may also contain a base with legs. Most often used for draining water off of boiled foods such as larger pasta shapes and potatoes, Colanders are also useful for cleaning bunches of fruits and vegetables, allowing water to be drained as it is washed over the food.