Kitchen gadgets are a great help when cooking. Sometimes they are even required to make certain dishes. Over the past few years, I have built up a small collection of useful gadgets that I use often. These items can help you make dishes you have never made before or save you time.
A mandoline is a kitchen utensil used to slice fruits or vegetables. To use a mandoline you slide your ingredient over a flat surface with a raised blade at the end. Mandolines also give consistency by cutting everything the same size. They are really helpful for cutting extremely thin slices for vegetable chips. Some come with multiple blades so you can cut more shapes or julienne vegetables with it. I remember slicing fresh zucchini and cucumber on my Mom’s mandoline when I was young. A mandoline can save so much time in the kitchen. It comes at a risk, though. Never use a mandoline carelessly or you will likely slice your finger on the razor-sharp blades. Use a mandoline to slice cabbage for slaw, slice potatoes for homemade chips, or cut your favorite veggies (especially carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions) into slices. I use a Mueller 5- blade adjustable mandolin slicer.
Steaming your vegetables allows them to keep the most amount of their nutrients. They also cook faster and have more flavor than boiling. I highly suggest getting a steamer basket so you can discover how easy and delicious steaming is. Many people love the collapsible metal steamers. I prefer bamboo steamer baskets, like the one picture above (found at Asian supermarkets, or online). These baskets fit together so they are stackable. That means you can steam several things at the same time while only using one burner. It is good to keep in mind that the bottom basket will cook the fastest since it is getting the full brunt of the steam. Many vegetables only take a few minutes to become tender when you using the steaming method. Another tip when using a steamer is to make sure you aren’t checking your food too often. Each time you uncover the steamer you will notice a huge cloud of steam roll out. It will take some time once you cover it back up till everything will be cooking again, prolonging the cooking time.
Immersion blenders are fantastic for creating smooth soups, silky sauces, and perfect smoothies. The best part about the immersion blender is that it can greatly reduce the number of dishes you do. No more will you be pulling out the blender every time you need purée something. An immersion blender can be put directly into whatever bowl, pot or cup (if it’s large enough) that you are already using. Use your immersion blender to create delicious Butternut Squash Soup, or use it in place of a regular blender. I love to use mine for smoothies because you have so much more control. You can move the immersion blender throughout the smoothie to make sure everything has blended evenly. I use an Epica 4-in-1 hand immersion blender and I love it!
It’s true that I try to sneak vegetables into our diet anywhere possible. A spiralizer gives you the ability to easily substitute in fresh vegetables for pasta. This device works by turning or spinning a vegetable through a series of blades that cut it into the shape of spaghetti. These vegetable “noodles” can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. There are many varieties of spiralizers that cater to different vegetables. If you would like to spiralize sweet potatoes or beets, make sure to buy a spiralizer wide enough to accommodate them. I use the OXO Handheld Spiralizer which works well and doesn’t take much room to store.
A tofu press is a handy little item that helps you get your tofu extra firm. This device works by squeezing out any extra water that has absorbed into the tofu. Although you can press tofu without it, you can get more water out faster when you use one. A tofu press can also come in handy when you are making your own tofu. You will need something that you can put the fresh tofu curds in to form a block shape. I like this tofu press.
I hope this list helps you find items that will save you time in the kitchen and allow you to make a wider variety of meals. Comment and share what your favorite kitchen gadgets are. Subscribe below to receive weekly tips and recipes to your inbox. Thanks for reading!
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