Handy Tools Make Life in the Kitchen a Little Easier
The word “gadget” automatically makes us think of fads or novelty items that don’t have a chance of withstanding the test of time. But manufacturers have figured out that kitchen tools that can save time, produce healthful foods or solve a problem will be not only desired by home chefs but heartily applauded.
From multi-function to self-stirring, mini-blending to auto-measuring, there are a plethora of choices. A tour through Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware, a family-owned downtown staple, produced some of the most regionally popular gadgets.
Silicone lids and food covers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They create a tight seal on smooth surfaces including steel, glass, plastic and ceramic and can handle heat and cold. Some carry designs inspired by nature and they are dishwasher safe. Christine Eppley with Sparrow Hawk says they are so popular that customers are buying them in every size and throwing away the plastic wrap.
Spiralizers produce spiral cuts of fruits and vegetables for many different dishes including salads, veggie “noodles”, stir-frys and pies. They come in hand-held, freestanding machine or even as an attachment for your stand-mixer.
Kale is a superstar on the food scene because of its health benefits but removing the stem from the leaves can be tedious. The kale
stripper solves that problem by simply slipping the kale leaf into the appropriate-sized hole and pulling through. You end up with the leafy green and the hard stem stays behind. Look for multi-tasking strippers that also have holes small enough for herbs such as rosemary and thyme.
Multi-tasking has produced numerous tools that do double-duty in the kitchen and on the go. There are two-headed spoons that act as a spatula and scrapper, measuring devices that can handle both liquids and dry ingredients, multi-openers that help with opening jars, cans, pull tabs and even boxes and bags, as well as stacking containers for keeping foods fresh and separate until it’s time to eat.
There are several gadgets for dealing with fresh garlic that can save time and avoid chunky garlic in your cooking. Getting the peel off is easy by rolling the garlic in a silicone tube. Once free there are a multitude of garlic presses that can mince it into fine pieces.
Chopped salads are all the rage in restaurants and at home. They are healthy and allow for experimenting with a variety of combinations but all that chopping can be time consuming. Enter the leaf
shears or better yet, the salad bowl that comes with a rolling leaf shear. Both tools make quick work of chopping up greens without bruising them, but the bowl saves one additional step.
Cutting boards come in plastic, glass, wood, bamboo and cork but not all are knife-friendly. The Sparrow Hawk team highly recommends a new line of cutting boards from Epicurean. Eppley explains that the material was originally used for skateboard ramps. The boards come in a variety of sizes, are easy to store and best of all they are easy on your knives.
Egg lovers will rejoice at the poach
pod, a silicone pod that sits in water in a saucepan and carefully coddles the egg while it poaches. When fully cooked, the egg slides right out with no sticking or mess to clean up.
And no home kitchen would be complete without a digital thermometer. Eppley says quality matters here – the thermometer needs to be reliable in order to cook meats to perfection.
These handy tools barely scratch the surface of kitchen gadgets but they do fit the bill of lending a helping and healthy hand in the kitchen.