22 Kitchen Gadgets I Couldn’t Live Without.
22 Kitchen Gadgets that are Rita’s Favorites
When I think of the thousands of kitchen gadgets available, (some of which I wouldn’t give you two cents for), I remember my Mom’s kitchen. Her kitchen gadget assortment was almost non-existent, for a couple of reasons: budget, first of all.
Space was a concern, as well. With a family of eleven and countless others to feed, Mom had room for only the essentials: can opener, carbon steel vegetable peeler (yes, it turned black if you didn’t dry it right away after washing), a rolling pin, sifter, some mis-matched measuring spoons and cups, a liquid measure that was used more for making baby formula than anything else, and a Rubbermaid spatula. My kitchen gadget collection is immense compared to hers, but I follow the same premise: if it isn’t useful, it’s not in my kitchen.
Today I’m sharing 22 of my favorite kitchen gadgets:
1. INSTANT READ THERMOMETER: Tells instantly the temperature of cooked meats, and lets me know if the water temperature is right for proofing yeast, if my whole grain bread is done, and allows me to judge temperatures of delicate egg custards and puddings, preventing curdling.
2. WHISKS: Depending upon the kind, a whisk can whip, make smooth gravy, and an emulsion for vinaigrette, even aerates flour for accurate measuring. Metal and plastic are available.
3. HEAT RESISTANT SPATULAS: No more melted spatulas on the bottom of the pan. Heat resistant up to 500 degrees, they are non-staining and some come apart for cleaning.
4. SILICONE PASTRY BRUSHES: Keep separate ones for baking and cooking. Mark the handles.
5. PASTRY SCRAPERS: Metal or plastic. Great for scraping bits of dough off the counter, or for scooping up chopped veggies, etc.
6. SCISSORS: I’m so opinionated here. I love Joyce Chens – razor sharp, dishwasher safe, flexible handles, and versatile enough to bone a chicken, cut herbs, cut pizza into wedges, etc.
7. NON-STICK OVEN GUARD: Hard to find, but indispensable. Looks like a big fluted flat doughnut and protects the oven from pies and casseroles spilling their juices onto the oven floor.
8. PERMANENT BAKING MAT: You’ll never have to grease or use parchment again for cookie sheets. These are oven proof to up to 600 degrees and freezer proof for up to –40 below. I use them to steady bowls when I’m mixing something up, to roll out cookies and pie dough, etc.
9. ROUND PIZZA PAN: Doubles as an emergency lid for those large frying pans.
10. SALAD SPINNER: You can wash and spin dry greens, delicate fruit and herbs quickly and effortlessly.
11. RASP GRATER: Zests citrus fruit, grates cheese and chocolate quickly and consistently. The best have rubber handles for easy gripping.
12. OFFSET SPATULAS: Great for icing and smoothing anything. I have two sizes, large and small.
13. TONGS: I like the inexpensive, lightweight, flexible tongs.
14. CITRUS REAMER: With a few quick twists, juices citrus fruits when you need a little juice, or more. You control how much juice comes out
15. CITRUS JUICER: For when you have a lot of citrus fruits to juice. It has an easy lever which juices fruit thoroughly.
16. PEPPER AND SALT GRINDER/MILL: You’ll use less since you get an explosion of flavor. The best are not cheap, but will last a lifetime. Look for ones that are easy to grip with your hands, and which have a stainless steel mechanism inside to withstand corrosion.
17. COFFEE/SPICE GRINDER: One of the first gadgets I bought years ago. Sprinkle baking soda in the grinder to clean out between uses.
18. GRADUATED SIZES OF ICE CREAM SCOOPS: I like the spring loaded ones, and have several, from very small to large. Perfect for scooping out cookie dough, meatballs, ice cream, etc. No waist and you get uniform measurements, every time.
19. TIMERS: Single or triple timers to time multiple tasks for cooking, baking, mixing, even snoozing.
20. MEAT MALLET: Best is stainless steel with a seamless handle to prevent bacteria growth. Good for pounding out meat, and making breadcrumbs, crushed ice, nuts, ginger root, as a sub for a hammer, etc.
21. GARLIC PRESS: Put garlic clove in, unpeeled. Peel stays behind, and you’ll use less garlic because the flavor is so concentrated. The best cost more, but have the heft to press garlic efficiently.
22. Oil SPRAYER: Allows even misting of foods and coating of pans without chemicals or propellants, and is refillable.