Walk into a shop selling kitchenware and you will find yourself confronted by an overwhelming array of gadgets and gizmos to help with any and every cooking task. Whilst you may have managed perfectly well without these up until now it is easy to get drawn in and to find yourself purchasing items that you didn’t know existed, let alone will actually use on a day to day basis. So, which utensils and gadgets are essential if you want to make sure that you have everything you need to see you through your everyday cooking tasks?
1. Chopping board
A chopping board or two is a must. As well as being hygienic it will also prevent your kitchen work surfaces from becoming damaged. It is a good idea to have at least two: one for raw meat and one for vegetables to avoid cross contamination. These may sound fairly mundane, but with a bit of creativity you can turn even kitchen boards into an interesting element of your kitchen’s aesthetic.
2. Vegetable peeler
Whilst it is possible to peel fruit and vegetables with a knife you have to have proficient knife skills for this to be quicker and easier than using a vegetable peeler. There are different types so find one that works well for you.
Unless you are a professional chef you don’t really need a whole range of different knives. You can get by with two: a large chef’s knife for chopping fruit, vegetables and large chunks of meat or fish and a small paring knife for delicate jobs such as de-boning chicken or thinly slicing fruit.
4. Kitchen scales
If you follow recipes then you will need to be able to accurately measure out ingredients. Kitchen scales need not be expensive and will help ensure that the effort you put into preparing and cooking a meal pays off.
If you regularly cook meat then a food thermometer is a good idea. As well as preventing overcooking it will accurately measure the internal temperature of food and help make sure that a high enough temperature has been reached to kill off any nasty bacteria such as E.coli. They’re also especially handy if you’re a fan of duel fuel cookers.
6. Big spoons
Large spoons have a variety of uses. Whether it’s a wooden spoon for stirring or cake making, a slotted spoon for scooping foods such as poached eggs out of liquid or a large ladle for dishing up, a good selection of big spoons is essential for any kitchen.
Large and small spatulas will also come in handy and make tasks such as mixing, spreading and even lifting easier. Make sure you use heat resistant ones with hot food.
A good pair or tongs has many uses too. From picking up meat to turn it, lifting potatoes out of a roasting tin or even tossing salad, tongs can be much simpler to use than a fork and don’t leave holes in your food.
If you bake then you will often need to sieve flour. A sieve also comes in handy for straining vegetables, rinsing the starch off of rice or washing fruits. And, of course, catching the bits if your gravy is lumpy.
A hand whisk can often help if you’ve made a lumpy sauce (use a plastic one if you’re pans are non-stick). And for whisking eggs.
Whilst there are plenty of other kitchen utensils and gadgets on the market you won’t go far wrong with the above. And, with the right equipment in place, you’ll find it easier to make all your favourite recipes and new ones too. (Image credit: Carlos Porto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Lloyd is a freelance blogger and writer. He is currently working on behalf of Range Cookers.
Image credit: frontporchgiftshop.com