9 Essential Kitchen Tools & Gadgets
Even people who enjoy cooking love handy products that make kitchen life easier and faster. The following gadgets are all inexpensive, and will help make your cooking time safer and more accurate.
Cut Resistant Gloves
Ouch! It’s easy to cut your finger when using a grater, peeler, zester or small kitchen knife. If you have shaky hands, there’s even more risk of hurting yourself in the kitchen. A cut resistant glove helps protect your fingers from accidental injury. Made of fibers that resist cutting or scraping, cut resistant gloves will not prevent puncture wounds, but do greatly reduce kitchen mishaps.
- The BladeX5 Cut & Slash Resistant Gloves protect your hands and are machine washable. $14
A stovetop and floor covered with grease splatters is the usual result of frying or cooking chicken, sauces or other greasy foods in a skillet. Flying grease or sauce can also burn you or stain your clothing. A handy splatter screen keeps liquid or grease in the skillet where it belongs. Made of mesh and stainless steel, the splatter screen fits over your skillet during cooking, and is dishwasher safe after use.
- The Progressive International Stainless Steel Splatter Screen is 13 inches in diameter, fitting neatly over most standard skillets. $14
Smooth Edge Electric Can Opener
No more struggling with a manual can opener or sliced fingers on the sharp edge of a lid. Smooth edge can openers remove the entire lid while cutting around the side of the can, rather than cutting down into the top. The lid removes easily and completely, with no sharp edges, no bits of metal that might fall into the can and no need to twist and turn to remove the lid.
- The Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener not only makes quick, safe work of opening any size can, it also has a sleek black and chrome design that looks good on your counter. $30
Strawberry Stem Remover
A gadget you may have never thought of, a strawberry stem remover lets you serve delicious fresh strawberries with the stem and core removed, while the body of the strawberry remains intact. Perfect not only for fruit salad, but also for prepping strawberries for shortcake or other desserts. You can also use the strawberry stem remover to core tomatoes or other soft fruits. Just push the stainless steel claw into the berry, close the jaws, twist, pull, and presto! You have a perfect strawberry just waiting to be eaten.
- The Chef’n StemGem Strawberry Stem Remover is dishwasher safe, and its cute berry design is easy to find in the drawer. $7
They might not be the latest style, but a pair of onion goggles is just the ticket to ending stinging, tearing, reddened eyes every time you need to slice an onion for dinner. The comfortable foam seal fits snuggly over your eyes, preventing onion fumes from irritating your sensitive tissues. The lenses are anti-fog, and the convenient storage case keeps the goggles from scratching or damage.
- RSVP International Onion Goggles come in a variety of colors and fit most people. $20
Portion Control Measure
You know careful portion control is crucial in watching your weight. But without measuring out each serving of your dinner, it’s tough to know if you are on target. No more need to guess with a portion control tool. This handy plastic gadget fits right over a standard dinner plate, and has four openings correctly sized for a serving of fruits or vegetables, starch and protein. Serving sizes follow the USDA My Pyramid recommendations. Just place on dinner plate, fill with food and remove for a properly sized meal.
- Meal Measure 1 Portion Control Tool is dishwasher safe. $14
There’s nothing like fresh herbs to enliven even the simplest meal of baked chicken or fish, but chopping up the herbs with a kitchen knife is tedious and can shred the herbs. Herb scissors have five parallel blades to neatly and quickly chop through fresh or dried herbs with no shredding or wasted time. Stainless steel blades are dishwasher safe.
- RSVP Herb Scissors have a comfortable grip and include a blade cleaner/storage case. $10
Odor Remover Bar
You love cooking with onions, garlic or fish, but hate the lingering odor on your hands? Even soap doesn’t seem to remove the smell of onion and garlic. Here’s a simple cure that will leave your hands completely odor free. The stainless steel odor remover is shaped like a bar of soap, and rubs between your hands in the same fashion. Smells disappear immediately with no chemicals, abrasives or residue.
- Amco Rub Away Bar can be used not only on hands, but also on any part of the body that might have odor. Safe and nontoxic, it lasts forever. $7
Oven Burn Guards
Most cooks have had the painful experience of reaching into the oven to remove a pan of food and accidentally brushing against the hot oven rack, producing an almost immediate burn and blister. Protect yourself from any future mishap with oven guards. Made from fabric first developed to protect firefighters, the oven guards snap around the front of the oven rack, protecting your arm as you reach inside. The guards will protect against burns in ovens up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- JAZ Innovations Oven Rack Guards come in a set of two, and are machine washable. $17
Whether you are looking to make your own kitchen time easier and safer, or shopping for a gift for a friend who loves to cook, any of the items here will take some of the bother out of meal preparation.