As a busy mom that loves to provide nutritious meals, there are certain tools I rely on in the kitchen. My sister is turning 18 this summer & getting ready to move out onto her own, so I decided to help her put together a list of “must-have” kitchen gadgets for her and anyone else just getting started with their own kitchen. It took me a few years to accumulate most of these and I learned that shortcuts aren't always a good thing, the hard way.
A can opener is a necessity in every kitchen. Some people prefer a manual can opener, while others use an automatic. I have one similar to the above that is attached to the bottom of my kitchen cabinet. I love that its easy enough for the the kids to operate and there are no sore hands from cranking it.
A box grater typically has four sides with various holes, although I have seen some with three and some with more. The box grater above is my favorite design, because it has a little container that fits inside with measurements so you don't have to pick everything up off your cutting board, transfer to a measuring cup, and then to whatever dish you need it for. The container also has a lid, so you can store any excess in the fridge without needing a new container.
A garlic press is a tool I actually want & do not have anymore. I lost mine when we moved and of course I only think about it when I need it and not when I'm at the store. The garlic press shown above has a nifty self-cleaning tool and is only $12 at Amazon. Mine did not have the self-cleaning tool and was a bit of a pain to clean out.
The type of pizza cutter you purchase depends on how often you will use it and what you prefer. There are pizza wheels with handles, handheld pizza wheels, and rocker knives. When I worked at two different pizza chains, we used a rocker knife and I really liked it. At home, I don't use one often so I have a basic pizza wheel with a long handle.
A potato masher can be used for more than just homemade mashed potatoes. We use ours for making guacamole, breaking bits of candy into small pieces for ice cream sundaes (the boys love doing this themselves), stamping cookies, and keeping a spare one for outdoors if you garden isn't a bad idea. They are great for breaking up large chunks of dirt when planting seeds.
I am not a fan of plastic cutting boards. They quickly get little grooves from your knife and those grooves hold bacteria & are hard to clean. Bamboo & wood stand up much better over time. I have a variety of sizes for different jobs and use them constantly.
If you do a lot of from scratch baking/cooking, you will need a zester. A microplane zester works much better than a tiny zester, like the one I grabbed from Hy-Vee & regretted.
Unless you are a professional chef, a mandolin is a must for evenly cut fruits & veggies.
Standmixers are not all created equal. My grandmother had a Kitchenaid & I had always wanted one. My husband bought me another brand of stand mixer for Christmas two years ago and it already needs replaced. The motor burnt out in it and now I just have a nice glass bowl. I'm hoping I get a Kitchenaid stand mixer this year, because I really miss having one!
What kitchen gadget can you not live without?
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