This Tiny $9 Storage Find Is the Unsung Hero of My Kitchen
I’ve written a love letter to my double-decker fruit basket before, detailing just how functional it is. It coordinates with lots of other pieces in my kitchen, frees up counter space by stacking items vertically, and keeps fruits and vegetables separate. But I was remiss to not detail the extremely crucial item that makes the whole setup work: a little ceramic berry box.
See, while the double-decker fruit basket certainly has a lot of merits, it does have one drawback in that the holes in the basket allow some smaller pieces of produce to fall through. That’s where the berry box comes in. I keep this little item on the bottom shelf of the basket to corral half-used heads and loose cloves of garlic, roly-poly cherry tomatoes, and particularly tiny shallots so they don’t fall through the cracks, and it works like a charm. I used to store these smaller pieces in a bowl on the counter, but I love that this little box tucks neatly into my existing fruit basket, freeing up space and keeping things tidy.
This ceramic colander is modeled after classic farmers market berry boxes, the ones that hold plump strawberries, shiny cherries, and late summer gooseberries all in a row. It comes in three different shiny glazes (a mint green, a pastel blue, and a creamy white), as well as two different sizes, a 5-inch and a 9-inch version. While the 5-inch one easily holds a standard clamshell box of berries or a handful of small alliums, the 9-inch version could be a fruit or produce basket all on its own, holding a variety of apples, citrus, onions, avocados, and more.
It does double duty as well; because it’s waterproof and has holes on the bottom, it’s a convenient place to wash and drain your berries before placing them in the fridge. When perusing the reviews, I noticed some people like to line the bottom of the box with a paper towel to catch any drips or lingering moisture, and presumably to act as a barrier for fruit or vegetables that might burst or go bad. Luckily, it’s also dishwasher-safe, so even the most stuck-on bits of papery garlic skin and long-burst cherry tomatoes can get lifted away without a ton of scrubbing by hand.
If I were the type to have an aesthetically-pleasing refrigerator, I would surely invest in a number of these miniature beauties to hold lemons and limes, string cheeses, and of course, berries. My fridge is usually a cluttered, chaotic zone full of leftovers and loose produce, but since I love to store a box of berries in the fridge at all times as easy-to-grab treats for my dog, keeping them in an open box like this is both easier and better-looking.
And, at less than $10, this adorable little basket is the perfect gift, whether as a sweet hostess present, grab-bag item, or a reusable “wrapping” itself, holding fresh berries or any number of things like a mini Harry & David basket (think: beeswax wraps, condiments, or bars of chocolate). Coincidentally, I actually received it as a gift from an observant friend who had noticed I’d saved a similar ceramic colander to my Pinterest board, and even though I didn’t think to buy it for myself, it’s become an invaluable piece in my kitchen that I’ll surely save for years to come.
Want to go all in on the berry box? Here’s another option that comes in a set of four: