If you are a chef who enjoys camping, knowing what you need to bring to cook food out in the wild can be a big decision. Will there be a grill at the campsite? Should...
Stocking your kitchen with the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets can be a massive undertaking. If you aren’t careful you could end up buying every manner of kitchen gadget just to ensure that when the time comes you have what you need to cook any meal.
The good news is that not all kitchen gadgets are created equal and there are those that should be in your kitchen no matter what you are cooking. To help you out, here are the five best kitchen gadgets you should definitely have in your kitchen.
It may not be surprising that making sure your kitchen is stocked with a good strainer is a no brainer. The only conflict comes with finding the one that works for you and your cooking needs.
Size. If you only plan on purchasing one strainer or colander for your kitchen, a good rule of thumb is to find one that is roughly the same size as the pot you will be cooking in. This will ensure that the contents of the pot will also fit inside your strainer without issue.
Even if you do only purchase one large colander it is still recommended that you purchase a smaller sized, roughly four to five inches in diameter, mesh strainer for smaller ingredients.
Material. You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to the material of strainers you have a few options.
Plastic colanders are lightweight, low-cost, and come in a variety of sizes. Though they tend to not drain as fast due to their holes being larger and widely separated. Another concern is when they come into contact with heat. Plastic melts, so be sure that if you do purchase plastic that you only use it for cooler meal prep.
Silicone colanders are another cheaper option, but with more durability. Silicone tends to handle higher temperatures better and can be used with more versatility. Not to mention that an added feature is the ability to collapse a silicone colander for easier storage.
Metal colanders are usually the most durable being able to withstand harsh kitchen temperatures. Stainless steel is best as it won’t rust easily. Keep in mind to avoid any decorative hold designs. While these look cool, it will make the colander drain slower and may even let certain foods spill out. A good thing to look for is how far spread the holes are. You’ll want to find a metal colander that at least has densely packed holes at the base.
Mesh strainers are the best option when wanting to strainer smaller foods such as rice, beans, or quinoa. They are also the best way to separate solids from liquids. They usually don’t come in larger sizes, though there are some that can handle medium quantities of ingredients. Another thing to keep in mind is that they can be rather difficult to clean due to the mesh being so fine.
Add-ons. No matter the type or size of strainer you settle on it is also best to find one with feet at the base. This will hold the base above your sink by an inch or two to let the water drain away freely. Another option is finding one with a good long handle so you can hold onto it while it drains without risk of splashing.
Who knew there were so many ways to cut up vegetables? While you can easily purchase a simple mandoline for your kitchen, you also have the option of finding one that has all the bells and whistles. It really just depends on how you want to cut your vegetables.
Simple. There is nothing wrong with going simple and the best way is to purchase a mandoline that has the kind of cut you are looking for. Even the simplest of mandolines will also adjust the thickness of the cut. This is the kind of mandoline that would be perfect for cutting carrots, zucchini, and more for stir-fries.
Multi-Function. Being able to cut your vegetables in every conceivable way all while using one gadget in the kitchen can be a chef’s dream. When looking into a multi-function mandoline be sure that it can produce all the cuts you are looking for as well as adjust thickness. Some even come with the option of fine and coarse grating. The only downside is that you will want to be diligent in hand washing your mandoline to make sure all the nooks and crannies stay clean.
Add-ons. While you can find both mandolines as handheld or countertop it is best to know which is best. For a simple mandoline, a handheld will work, but perhaps for the more cumbersome multi-function mandoline, you’ll want to go countertop.
When it comes to finding the right whisk for your kitchen you don’t want to settle for the first one you find. That could end up leaving you with a whisk that is not the right fit for your cooking. After all the primary function of a whisk is to combine ingredients smoothly or to incorporate air into a mixture.
Size. While there are some sizing choices when it comes to whisks the most important thing to remember is finding the right size for you. As long as it won’t fall into or out of the mixing bowl easily then I would say that is a winner.
Weight. It may not seem possible, but there are whisks that can be too heavy. The risk here is you don’t want to tire yourself out when using your whisk to whip up the perfect cookie batter. Make sure you test out the weight of any whisk you are considering.
Material. Like many other kitchen gadgets, the choice of materials comes down to plastic, silicone, or metal. With whisks, it’s important to be aware of the other kitchen gadgets you will use with your whisk when deciding on material. You don’t want something so flimsy as to not be able to handle your mixtures. Conversely, you don’t want something so hard that it scraps non-stick cookware.
A silicone whisk is a good option for both ease of use and gentleness when used on other cookware. Though sometimes they can be a little flimsy with more dense mixtures. Metal is a solid go-to as well as being able to whip up any number of mixtures with little to no issues. However, you’ll want to watch out for scraps on any non-stick cookware.
Add-ons. The best shape to look for in a whisk is a balloon shape. Not only does this shape allow your whisk to whip up just about anything when used at different speeds it can produce different consistency, which is a nice feature.
When it comes to spatulas you'll find all manner of type, function, and size available. When purchasing this gadget for your kitchen it will really depend on what you intend to cook with your spatula. While it is an option to simply buy a nice set of different spatulas if you are looking for just one there are some things to consider.
Size/Shape. When it comes to the different sizes and shapes of spatulas the list can get rather long. However, if you are looking for just a single spatula be sure to find one with an angled or off-set handle for better maneuverability. A longer blade is also recommended in order to have the best control of your cooking. Though fish is in the name, a fish spatula can actually be used for any number of foods and is frequently the most popular spatula amongst chefs.
Material. Again, the two materials that you will find when looking for a spatula are silicone and metal. While you will find many different shapes of silicone spatulas you won’t find all are made of metal. This depends on what you are using them for. If you do end up choosing metal a thinner metal is best as it is more versatile.
Sure, a zester and a grater can be two different tools, but to get the most out of your kitchen gadgets it is best to use them together. While most zesters can be graters, not all graters can be zesters so to cover your bases it is probably best to simply get a zester that can double as a grater.
Function. The design of the zester has changed over the years moving away from just being used for citrus. Now there are zesters that can be used for all manner of foods and some even come with additional tools.
For the chef that still only wants a zester for citrus, a five-hole design is what you want to look for. These simple zesters are designed to give the most flavorful zest to any of your meals. They also usually include built-in channel knives.
If you are looking for a zester that can double as a grater you will want to look for a zester with bigger holes. Zesters with bigger holes are designed to handle more difficult foods such as cheeses and fruits. They will also not clog as easily preventing your food from turning to mush.
Usability/Safety. While zesters are safe to use do be aware that they are sharp. Many come with protective sleeves for storage purposes, but caution is still necessary. Most zesters are made with stainless steel to avoid rusting or becoming dull. To avoid any accidents it is best to learn the safest way to use your zester prior to using it in your kitchen.
Add-ons. If cleaning up the blades of your zester is something you want to avoid you can find a zester that comes with a built-in cup for easy collection.
While there are many more kitchen gadgets to choose from the ones listed tend to be the best go-to's in any chef’s kitchen.