Essential Cooking Utensils For Your Kitchen
I’ve enjoyed cooking for as long as I can remember. I cook almost all of my own meals since I’d rather eat at home than in a restaurant. When I was a teenager, I took over cooking our family dinners from my Mother. Although she enjoyed preparing meals herself, she seemed to welcome the help.
Over the years, I’ve amassed many cooking utensils and tools, and many of them go unused. As most cooks can tell you, there are the utensils that you use, and there are the ones that just take up space in the cabinet.
Pots and pans, sharp knives, spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, and cutting boards are all essential tools for your kitchen. But there are other utensils that are equally as important, as they make it much easier to prepare your meals, plus save you time.
Following are the most essential cooking utensils and tools for your kitchen:
A pot drainer is an essential kitchen utensil, made of metal or plastic, that you place over the edge of a pot to drain off liquids. It has a raised lip for steadying against the pot, and a handle to keep the liquid or steam from burning your hand. Pot drainers are versatile, as they are for left or right-handed use.
A pot drainer can be used to drain water from noodles or vegetables, or grease from cooked meats. It’s especially good if you plan to add ingredients to the noodles, vegetables or meats, and want to use the same pot. By draining the liquid, you cut out the step of transferring food from the pot to a bowl, then back to the pot. This saves you time, plus cuts down on washing an extra bowl.
Pot drainers are easy to use. Simply cover half of the pot with the strainer, then tilt the pot slowly to drain the liquid into a bowl or down the drain. Keep pressure on the strainer so it stays against the pot. The drainer holds the food in the pot, while the holes let the liquid pour through.
Many people prefer colanders or wire strainers instead of pot drainers. I prefer the pot drainer, as it takes up very little room in a drawer. Plus, it is really easy to clean!
A vegetable peeler has a number of uses, and every kitchen needs one or two of these! A vegetable peeler works by removing a thin layer or peel from the surface of your food.
I use my vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes. I imagine they are also good for apples, or any other hard vegetable or fruit. I also use them to shave off thin slivers of hard cheese and to make chocolate curls.
There are several other handy uses for a vegetable peeler that you might try:
- If you need to soften a stick of butter really quickly, then shave off thin slices with your peeler.
- Vegetable peelers make great pencil sharpeners!
- Renew the scent of ornamental soaps by shaving off a thin layer with your vegetable peeler. The exposed surface will reveal a moist surface, which in turn, emits the scent
Graters and Shredders
Graters, also known as shredders, are cooking utensils that are used to shred foods into smaller pieces. There are all types of graters available. Some of them are shaped like boxes, while others are flat. I prefer the box grater, as it has 4 different sizes of holes.
I mainly use my grater to shred cheese. While it is more convenient to purchase pre-shredded cheese, I like the freshness and texture of freshly shredded cheese. I also use my grater to shred carrots, which I use in recipes such as carrot cake or in a salad.
Other uses for graters include:
- Grating potatoes to make potato pancakes
- Using grated onions instead of dried ones in your recipes
- Removing the zest from lemons and limes
- Grating fresh garlic for recipes
- Shredding cucumbers for tzatiki sauce
- Shredding coconuts for use in recipes
- Grating zucchini for zucchini bread or cake
Kitchen tongs are probably one of the most versatile cooking utensils. Having a pair of tongs is like having an extra set of hands. Tongs keep you from burning your hands; getting your fingers dirty and provides you with an extended reach.
It’s best to have several sizes of cooking tongs. I own three sizes: 9 inches, 12 inches, and 16 inches. I use the 12 and 16 inches tongs the most. The smaller size is the best for serving salads.
Rubber Grip Jar Openers
If you ever have trouble opening a jar of pickles, then you definitely need several jar openers. They are made of rubber and take up very little space in your kitchen. I’ve been using these for years, and cannot imagine not having one!
I remember when we used to run water over jars, then tap them with a knife handle. Sometimes they opened easily, other times the jar broke. With these rubber jar openers, you don’t have to worry about breaking the jar.
The cooking utensils on this page are the ones I use most often and highly recommend to anyone who spends time in the kitchen. They are all reasonably priced, easy to use, and last a long time.