Today, I’d like to share with you the 5 kitchen essentials that you definitely need.
My name is Nicole and I’m a kitchen junkie. I love cooking, and if a hot new item comes on the market, I buy it. If I see a nifty gadget on a shopping tv channel, I grab one. As seen on tv items? Yep. Fair game. I recently realized that I had this problem, and decided to pare down some of those items. After all, admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.
So I am facing this problem. And trust me, it’s a big problem as I can no longer fit anything into any of my kitchen drawers. In fact, I am paring down my collection of stuff that may, or may not, work. I am keeping only the what-nots and gadgets that I really, truly find essential in my kitchen.
You most definitely need a good, heavy-duty, matched set of kitchen knives. In my case, I had several sets as well as some single knives.
Whether you’re shopping for a new set of knives or trying to de-clutter your kitchen like me, here’s what to look for:
- Knives that are well-balanced
- Edges that can be sharpened
- A set that includes at minimum a bread knife, a carving knife, a butcher’s knife, and a paring knife
- Handles that fit comfortably in your hand
- “Investment” knives, if you can afford them, with a lifetime guarantee
Purchasing a good set of knives makes kitchen tasks easier. Believe it or not, it’s actually safer to use a good, sharp knife than a dull one!
One item that many people never consider, is a vacuum sealer. This device offers versatility in how you package your foods, allows you to make bags either large or small, and your food can go from freezer to microwave to defrost without the need for dirty dishes.
This is especially convenient for people on a special diet. Instead of purchasing costly pre-packaged meals and snacks, you can prepare your own and have complete control over the ingredients.
Here’s a great guide to selecting the perfect vacuum sealer for your family and lifestyle
I use my vacuum sealer to keep healthy snacks on hand for my kids. I can grab the vacuum sealed snacks and place them in a cooler in the car when we’re on the go without fear of them leaking and making a mess.
This is one must-have for me!
I am guilty of having both a smoothie blender and a regular blender in my pantry. My goodness, I realized how much space is wasted and have forced myself to choose between the two. I have selected the smoothie blender.
If you think a blender is only for frozen cocktails, you’re not using it enough! You can puree vegetables into smooth and creamy soups, make homemade baby food, and even grind your own healthy peanut butter.
Here is why a smoothie blender is important in the kitchen. It can do everything a regular blender can do with one huge advantage. It can power through ice with ease. Margaritas, anyone?
Have you ever wondered how the best burger joints get their burgers perfectly balanced between moist and flavorful, but not so juicy that it falls apart? The secret to this is that they grind their own meat! This allows them to custom blend a premium cut with a fatty cut of beef to get that savory taste that you love!
In my case, I use the meat grinder fairly frequently. My husband is an avid hunter who harvests two deer per season. We have learned to butcher and grind the meat ourselves. We pack our freezer with a sustainable source of meat for just pennies on the dollar thanks to the meat grinder.
Meat grinders can be either electric free-standing models or attachments for your stand mixer. I prefer the meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid. It takes up less space in my cabinets. This leaves me more room to buy more gadgets…
Silicone Cutting Mats
I know this sounds like a silly pick for a kitchen essential. But there’s nothing to me more important than my family’s health.
Therefore, I have done away with my bacteria-harboring wooden cutting boards and replaced them with fun-colored, sanitizable, space-saving silicone cutting mats. I have a set of four of them and they are thick, they don’t slide, and they can be washed.
They also make prep work easy. You can use different colored mats for different types of produce. Cut veggies on one color, meat on another, poultry on another, etc. Then, when you’re ready to cook, you can lift the items, gently bend the cutting mat, and slide the prepped food right into the pot.
I am continuing my commitment to reform from my bad habits. It will be a challenge to resist the lure of my addiction to kitchen products. But with some smart thinking, and a commitment to keeping my kitchen organized, I will continue to try to keep myself free from my kitchen gadget addiction.
AUTHOR BIO: Nicole Vidmar is the publisher of My Kitchen Adviser. She’s a mom of two beautiful children and a dog named Oscar. She is passionate about cooking and baking and loves to share her joy for food with others.