Everyone's got some kitchen task that makes them say, ugh, no, I don't want to. For some people, it's peeling potatoes. Or frying an egg.
For me, it's when I'm supposed to tie herbs in a bundle or a square of cheesecloth. I have no idea why this task irks me as much as it does. I just don't want to do it. Nope. Let's either chop those herbs and leave them in the soup, or skip 'em.
I've seen Jacque Pepin tie herbs in bundles. It looks simple. Mine don't stay tied and then not only am I fishing for sprigs of thyme and rosemary, but I'm also fishing for the stupid string.
I've tried using tea balls, with some success. But trying to stuff several sprigs of thyme into a tea ball is almost as annoying as tying them in a bundle. Too fiddly.
Enter the Mastrad (Orka) Herb and Spice Infuser, a long, slender tube of silicone, with holes in it. How much more simple could it be? You can stuff whole sprigs of herbs in there, along with garlic or even a hot pepper. Then just plop the thing in the soup or stew or whatever it is you want to infuse with the herbs.
My one concern was whether the top might pop off if I was stirring the soup and mashed the infuser in the process. So I tried. I poked, mashed, and prodded the thing and the top stayed on. I suppose if I really, really tried, I could torment the thing enough that the top would pop, but it's pretty likely to stay on in normal soup-stirring conditions.
Not to mention that even if the top stayed on, the chances of a sprig of parsley or oregano wafting out of the infuser is pretty unlikely. It's a pot of soup, not a tornado.
I'm pretty darned pleased with this thing.
Who's it for: Me. Or people like me. People who often want to infuse the flavor of herbs into foods without actually having the herbs in the finished dish.
Pros: It does exactly what it's supposed to do. Made from silicone, so it's dishwasher safe.
Cons: Okay, it's a unitasker. But if you're not using it for soup, you could also use it for mulling spices in wine or cider.
Wishes: Sell 'em in a two-pack, so perhaps one could be used for sweet and the other for savory? I don't know how much flavor silicone might pick up, but if you used it for something with hot peppers one day, you might not want to use it to contain cinnamon sticks and ginger for your custard the next day. Or for those days when you've got several things going at once.
Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.