Must-have Kitchen Gadgets

Must-have Kitchen Gadgets

I don’t have the largest kitchen in the world, so cupboard space is at a premium; but I have some must-have kitchen gadgets that I absolutely refuse to do without.
Herb Mincer
herb mincer
This is a rolling herb mincer. You can also get other types of herb grinders, but this little guy takes up very little space in my kitchen, cost around $12, and does the job even with rosemary and thyme. I buy fresh herbs, mince the whole bunch, then freeze whatever’s left by either putting the herbs in small jars or containers, or, if they’re wet, patting them as dry as possible with clean tea towels, then freezing the minced herbs in a ziploc bag with a paper towel for a few days to soak up some of the moisture, then transferring them to a container. This helps prevent freezer burn and helps to preserve the true flavour of the herbs.
Mini Food Processor
slap chop
This is a hand-powered mini food processor, but I managed to find a 2-cup electric food processor that I use for almost every meal. This saves time and tears when chopping onions. Yes, you can use a conventional food processor to pulse the onions until small but not pulped, but there’s a lot more cleanup involved with using my regular-sized food processor vs my small one, and it’s not worth it just to chop onions.
 
Food Processor
food processor
A food processor takes up a lot of cupboard space, but it’s well worth it in any kitchen. I chop nuts, carrots, celery, and other vegetables, make pizza dough, shred cheese and carrots, process tomatoes for my tomatoe sauce, and so much more, and it is such a huge time-saver for me. While I don’t use it more than once a week (because the mini version deals with my onions when no other veg is required) it’s such an incredible time-saver for me, I bring it out whenever I have multiple veggies or other items to process. Look for one with as many blades as possible; mine has a mixer (for pizza dough and other doughs) two sizes of shredding blades (for cheese and carrots, etc) two sizes of slicing blades for cucumbers, celery, carrots, etc., and the regular blade for liquifying tomatoes, bisques, and other produce.
Forget the Traditional Blender 
magic bullet
I found traditional blenders never really did the job they said they would, then broke down within the year. I’ve been using my Magic Bullet since my first son was born, and it’s still running strong! (that means it’s about 25 years old!). These are great for making smoothies, and I use the small cup to grind coffee, nuts, flax seed, and so on into fine particles. My food processors pretty much do the rest. Buy one that comes with multiple blades and a wide variety of cup sizes (check Costco who often have a great package for around $39!).
Garlic Mincer
Garlic Mincer
This is hands-down the BEST garlic mincer out there. There is literally NO waste using this mincer, compared to presses and other mincers that leave a lot of the clove behind. Simply put two garlic cloves in the mincer (one on either side of the piece to the right in the image) put the top on, and twist back and forth a few times. Then, the piece on the right has a pop-up flat disc that covers the prongs, and you simply scrape the minced garlic into your pan or recipe with a flat knife. Presto Mince-o! These are so cheap, you can sometimes find them for between $5 and $10. They take up very little room and are quick and easy to clean.
Rice Cooker
Rice Cooker
A rice cooker takes all the pain out of making rice. You simply load in your rice, add the water, cover, and turn on. They usually have a ‘warm’ feature so that once the rice is done, it stays warm in the pot until the rest of your meal is done. You don’t have to stir it, watch it, and worry if it’s REALLY going to be done in the time the recipe claims for stove-top cooking, nor worry about it sticking or burning to the bottom of the pot. This one is a 3-cup, and retails for around $14 at Walmart. 3 cups is plenty for my family, with some left over. It’s also small, so it won’t take up much room in your cupboards.
Mandolin Slicer
mandolin
Mandolin slicers are great for slicing tomatoes for sandwiches or burgers, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, and so much more. An easy-to-clean alternative to breaking out the food processor, this little guy makes short work of your slicing. Choose one that comes with different blades, and has either an adjustment for the thickness of the slices you want, or attachment blades that give you a choice in the thickness of your slices. I also strongly prefer having one with a food catcher, such as the one pictured here.
Microplane
microlane
A Microplane is fabulous for zesting citrus, grating whole spices, grating chocolate flakes, chilis and peppers, and hard cheeses such as parmesan and romano. It’s also grate (see what I did there?) for grating ginger. So much easier to use than the tiny section on your multi-purpose grater, and it costs very little (under $10) and takes up less room than a traditional grater in your kitchen.
 
 
Kitchen Scale
kitchen scale
A kitchen scale with some kind of bowl or container may not get used very often in your kitchen, but I’m betting you’ve come across recipes that call for so many pounds of something and wondered how the heck to figure out the weight. Someone gave me a small kitchen scale years ago, and every time I wonder if I need to keep it, I end up needing it! This puppy comes in very handy if you do any canning at all (weighing tomatoes, berries, and other fruit) and while I don’t use mine for meat, it’s definitely a plus for those meat-eaters out there to weigh ground meats!
The Rock Cookware
TheRock_generic
The Rock makes the most durable non-stick cookware around. From frying pans to dutch ovens, they have an extensive line of cookware that will last. These pots and pans are heavy, but extremely durable, don’t lose their non-stick properties, and never warp. Yes, they’re expensive, but you can almost always find them on sale for a deep discount if you keep your eye out. I only use their frying pans and a dutch oven, as I have great pots already, but I wouldn’t trade them for another brand if you paid me.
Having an organized and functional kitchen means making sure you conserve space, and have time-saving kitchen tools to help get the job done. It’s the difference between ‘just eating’ and eating healthy, sparing cupboard space, and opening up new worlds in your recipe repertoire. Of course there may be other kitchen items that are super-useful, but these should give you a great start to keeping cooking simple.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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