In the kitchen, your greatest friends are the tools that help you create your meal. What would we do with pots, pans, cutting boards, strainers, and especially knives? These are the basics for preparing delicious appetizers and entrees. But what is there beyond the basics?
If you struggle getting your meat to cook just right or think that slicing a pineapple is just a huge hassle, then you’re in luck! There are hundreds of lesser known kitchen gadgets that were invented with the intention of making your life easier.
Some of these gadgets work better than others, but you owe it to yourself to check them out. A top chef only needs a sharp blade to create all of his culinary wonders, but you might not be a pro just yet [Read: You Don’t Have to be a Pro Chef to Cook like a Pro].
Unfortunately many kitchen gadgets are one-hit wonders (please note that this article is discussing gadgets beyond the common kitchenware of spatulas and knives). They are very specialized and you would fill up all your cabinet space buying one for every ingredient you cook with. However, amongst the useless and inane (a banana slicer, really?) there are some useful products, even the ones that are specialized to do only one chore.
Read on to discover twelve cool kitchen gadgets and how they can make your life much easier.
- Pluck. Everyone knows that egg whites are important for a healthy breakfast. Everyone also knows what a pain it is to try and separate the yolk from the white. Enter Quirky’s new device called Pluck. It consists of a bulbous silicon body and a small plastic opening. All you have to do is crack an egg open and squeeze the Pluck over it, and when you release up goes the yolk into the device. Another squeeze sends the yolk into the trash. Beautiful.
- Roast Cutting Tongs. Slicing up a chunk of meat often results in uneven pieces when you are trying to use a fork and knife. So instead, use Chefs’ Roast Cutting Tongs to hold and slice your meat with perfect precision. The tongs are like a giant claw that latches onto the meat and holds it in place, allowing you to run a knife through its multiple prongs and cut off impeccably straight slices. The tongs are also an easy way to grab the meat and transfer it from oven to cutting board.
- Dressing Whiz. Not everyone is in to making their own salad dressings, but those that are will love the Dressing Whiz from Prepara. All you have to do is put the separate ingredients into the container and push a button to gently blend them together. An aerating propeller inside the device helps blend the acids and fats together and emulsifies the dressing (meaning it will keep everything mixed longer). This little blender is great for mixing any type of dressing you want to create, and it even remixes vinaigrettes.
- Boil Buoy. Do you ever wonder if your water is boiling or merely simmering? It can be tricky to know exactly when it has reached the boiling point, unless you let it go on for a while to make sure. Well Quirky is back again to save you some time and trouble. The Boil Buoy has a weighted bottom, just like a real buoy, and it floats on top of your water. The instant the water reaches boiling the buoy makes a chiming sound to alert you.
- Vegetable Chopper. Those adept with a knife might not have a problem cutting up fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts. But for the rest of us cut fingers, frustration, tears, and uneven slices are par for course. Well put those band-aids away, because the Chef’n VeggiChop is here to alleviate your stress. It slices, dices, and everything else that ends in “ice”. All you have to do is put the ingredients into the container, close the lid, and then pull up on a handle attached to the lid. The pulling motion sends the blades inside the chamber swirling and allows you to control how finely you chop up the ingredients. It’s perfect for salads, salsa, coleslaw, pesto, and much more.
- Mocubo. Quirky appears to be king in the kitchen gadget arena. Here is yet another wonderfully useful product from them. The bamboo cutting board seems like just a regular cutting board, until you notice the three prep container drawers that you can pull out from its side. These allow you to cut up one ingredient, store it safely and neatly, and then quickly move on to cutting the next ingredient. The bamboo is also treated with a mineral oil finish to make it last longer and its rubber bottom keeps it from sliding while you do your work.
- Corn Kerneler. This gadget isn’t entirely necessary, but we had to put it on here for its “cool” factor, if nothing else. Fresh corn is great, but not everyone likes the mess of eating it off the cob. So some people cut the kernels off with a knife, which is less messy but not by much. The Amco Corn Kerneler is a large ring with blades on the inside and an internal compartment. All you have to do is place the Kerneler on the narrow end of the cob and push down. The blades slice off the kernels and deposits them neatly into the internal chamber. The chamber holds up to two ears of corn and the blades adjust to cut a cob of any size or shape.
- The Portion. When you are cooking you often use on set of spoons to measure out ingredients and then another spoon to stir everything together. Well the brainiacs at Quirky decided to simplify the process and they put both types of spoons together into one. The Portion is a spoon that has graduated lines inside to measure out a teaspoon, a tablespoon, and two tablespoons. A smaller version measures out a quarter teaspoon, a teaspoon, and two teaspoons. Once you measure out your ingredients just use the same spoon to mix them together. So simple it’s genius!
- Pepper Corer. Trying to remove the core and seeds from a pepper can be messy, wasteful, and annoying. The Progressive Pepper Corer allows you to remove the unwanted insides of a pepper with ease. Simply insert the plastic device into the middle of the pepper and remove. The pointed blades easily cut through the skin and insides, and they carry out the middle part of the pepper when they are pulled out. A larger corer is great for bell peppers, and the smaller corer works wonders on jalapeños and other smaller peppers.
- Pineapple slicer. Whereas a pepper is a frustrating vegetable to deal with, a pineapple is the worst fruit to core and slice. It’s no wonder most people stick with apples and grapes, or bypass the hard work and buy pre-cut pineapple. But the OXO Good Grip Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer is here to help! All you have to do is cut off the top of the pineapple and then twist the Slicer down into it. Measuring lines let you know when you’ve reached the bottom, and a non-slip grip handle allows you to pull the device back out. The insides of the pineapple come out as evenly sliced rings and the shell is left intact for cocktails.
- Digital thermometer. A lot of people forgo digital thermometers because they think they are a waste of money. But how many times have you burnt a meal or spent too much time trying to get a dish to the perfect temperature? The CDN Digital Programmable Probe Thermometer takes away all the guess work by telling you exactly what temperature your food is at.
This particular thermometer is more useful than most because you can leave it inside the dish while it cooks. Just program it with the desired internal temperature and an alarm will let you know when your food is done. This is great for slow cooked foods that need all day to make because it eliminates the need to constantly check on them (which can allow precious heat and smoke to escape).
- Kitchen calculator. Unless you are making up something from scratch, a recipe will tell you how much of each ingredient to add to a dish. However, recipes are specifically catered to a certain number of people or a certain serving size. What if you only need to make half as much? What if it serves four people but you need to serve seven?
Calculated Industries’ KitchenCalc Pro helps you accurately scale recipes up or down depending on your need. It can convert units of volume, units of weight, and even temperatures. This gadget is a must for anyone who wants to take the guesswork out of cooking and produce accurate and reliable results.
None of these gadgets are absolutely necessary, and many people are getting by just fine without them. However, if you cook a lot then these devices can definitely make your life easier and speed up your time in the kitchen.