My readers opened my eyes to the world of kitchen gadgets.
I had originally thought I was biased against single-purpose kitchen. If I need to peel, cut & de-pit an avocado, I just use a knife. Or my fingers. Or a spoon! My parents loved to use their apple wedgers, but I’ve always found them difficult to press into the apple and they always left chewy core on many of the wedges. So yes, I was kind of biased.
Out of curiosity, I challenged my readers to change my mind and they shared their favorite kitchen gadgets that make their lives easier and more fun. I was surprised to find I didn’t even know many of these tools even existed. Anything that makes cooking enjoyable for someone has value. For now, I’ll continue to rip apart lettuce leaves by hand and remove corn kernels from a cob with my knife, but if I need to pit lots of cherries for a pie or make curly noodles out of vegetables, I know where to turn.
First, here are my favorite tools (besides my faithful knives):
- Salad Spinner: Jake gave me a salad spinner for Valentine’s Day one year and it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools ever. Soggy salad is the worst and this is a must have if you break down whole heads of lettuce. I also use the spinner to dry cabbage or farmers market spinach.
- Microplane: I use these all of the time for finely grating garlic and ginger into pastes and making delicate showers of parmesan cheese.
- Handheld Immersion Blender: We received this blender as a wedding gift and I use it to make soups. I used to carefully ladle hot soup into our blender and hope the liquid wouldn’t explode everywhere. Now, I can quickly puree soups right in the pot. I also love that this blender is easy to assemble and clean.
- Vegetable Peelers: I find myself peeling a lot of carrots. A Y-Peeler allows you to make thin strips of a vegetable without a mandolin.
- Spice Grinder: Indian food is one of our favorite cuisine’s. I kept wondering why the Indian dishes I made were so bland until I prepared a coconut chickpea curry from Raghaven Iyer’s 660 Curries. His recipe instructed me to toast and grind the spices and I can’t tell you how much of a difference this made. My curry was intense and spicy. Now that I’m not intimidated by this grinder, I’ll use it more often. It’s also easy to clean and the grinder container contains a lid for storage.
- Box Grater: I use this frequently to grate cheese and vegetables.
- Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler: This tool makes long shreds of vegetables. I only use it when I want to make the cucumber-tomato salad that we eat with laab, but it’s inexpensive and worth it for this purpose. I bought mine at an Asian market.
Here are my readers’ favorite kitchen tools:
- Lemon Zester – Josh Steiner, Food Writer for Fargo-Moorhead’s High Plains Reader uses his zester makes delicate strands of citrus zest and parmesan cheese.
- Vegetable Spiraler – Elise
- Tomato Slicing Knife – Beth of Rhubarb & Venison
- Citrus Press: Kate of Kate In The Kitchen says this tool makes squeezing lemons and limes easier on her wrists.
- OXO Cherry Pitter: Amanda of Heartbeet Kitchen adds, “It’s one of the best kitchen tools I have ever bought.
- Joie Kitchen Oven Gadgets Devil Oven Pull: Beth of It’s Just Life: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary says,”This little buddy is now my new best friend.” It makes it easy to pull out hot oven racks and avoid arm burns. She even wrote a whole post about this devil.
- Progressive International Fruit Scoop & Mix N Chop – Katy of Learning as I Go uses the fruit scoop to separate watermelon from the rind and the Mix N Chop to brown ground beef. Shannon, Vice President of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds also recommends the the Mix N Chop.
- Pampered Chef Pineapple Wedger – Janette
- Tupperware Orange Peeler – Michelle, the “Crazy Tupperware Lady“
- Toast Tongs – Nominated by Ronda & Phyllis: Rhonda adds, “I thought they were silly until I used them.”
- Potato Masher – Melissa uses the masher for potatoes and cooking ground beef.
- Handheld Mushroom Slicer: Julie appreciates how this tool makes prepping big quantities of mushrooms for Beef Stroganoff easier.
- Pastry Cutter: Katie of On The Banks Of Squaw Creek uses this to crumble butter into flour when making pie crust.
- Cookie scoop: Kristen of Make The Best of Everything finds herself using the scoop for more than just cookies. It’s a great portioning tool for almost anything.
- Strawberry Top Remover – Amy of Modern Rural Living enjoys cooking and canning, so I can see how this would be helpful.
- Cookie Scoop With Jagged Edges: Marilyn uses this scoop to remove cantaloupe seeds.