Top 5 – Kitchen Utensils

My first ever top 5 post was on the Kitchen Gadgets I thought I might need.  Since writing that in January I have actually acquired 2 of them – a microplane and a salad spinner.  Thank you to everyone who recommended them as I love both.  This weeks Top 5 is about things I actually own – my favourite utensils.  The rules are: it has to be a manual device and it has to have a kitchen gardening related use so as much as I love my food processor and my eggbeater they were ineligible- the food processor because it electric and the eggbeater because we don’t yet have any chooks.

So what did make my Top 5?  These indispensible items did:

1. Spoons – Where would we be without the good old wooden spoon?  Or without a serving spoon?  A slotted spoon?  A soup ladle?  Spoons are incredibly useful when you think about it.  How cool is it that Simply Self-Sufficiency makes her own?

2. Graters – I use graters a lot, my current favourite being my newly purchased microplane, but I also use conventional graters as well as a small plastic one my mum got for me in Vietnam which produces those longs shreds of carrot.  Really useful.  The main things I use graters for is: zest, cheese, carrot, ginger and garlic (when making curry if I’ve got the grater out for the ginger I just grate the garlic cloves as well).  Given there are very few meals that I cook that don’t use zest, cheese, carrot, ginger or garlic I find that I use a grater most days.

3. Juicer – I love my little silver juicer.  Yes I know I could strain lemon pips out with my hands like Jamie Oliver but it gets juice all over them and then you’ve got to wash them and that involves getting the water temperature right (or be left with cold and clammy hands) and all in all it just seems so much easier to just get out the juicer and get on with it.  I use it for all types of citrus and I like citrus, my usual salad dressing uses lemon juice as its acid,  so I use my juicer a lot.

4. Strainers – I am a big fan of strainers and colanders.  I love how useful they can be.  Anything boiled goes in the colander.  Any stocks go through the strainer.  I find the fine mesh ones the best for straining things like stock (although I’m not super particular about getting every little impurity out).  Teas go through the little one, so does gravy which I seem incapable of making without lumps in it.

5. Garlic press – Garlic presses seem a little bit out of fashion at the moment.  There was a time when every recipe you read called for crushed garlic but now its more likely to be chopped.  I do actually chop a lot of my garlic and indeed grate it as I mentioned above, but where a really good solid garlic press comes into its own is when you’ve got lots of tiny little garlic cloves.  I do find I often grow garlic heads with a fair few small cloves (although this year WILL be different….) and rather than skinning them completely, which is really fiddly if they’re small, I just top and tail them and put them in the press with the skin on.  You have to have a really good solid press to do this – it would break a lot of the flimsier presses but if you’ve got a decent press it should work fine and give you lovely crushed garlic without having to peel the cloves.  As Jamie would say Result!

And that is this weeks Top 5.  Have I made any glaring omissions?  What would you not be without in your kitchen?  Already I’m thinking maybe I should have included my morter  pestle and my….and my…..and my…..

While you’re in the mood for Top 5s head on over to see what the New Good Life has for us this week.

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22 Responses to Top 5 – Kitchen Utensils

  1. Jo says:

    I have quite a few paring knives but I only use one of them, the others just don’t feel right to me and I’m cack handed when trying to peel vegetables without my favourite one. I really need a new grater, the handle at the top of mine has just broken off. I use mine mainly for cheese and zest.

    • Liz says:

      The handle broke off the top of my grater too. Its still functional without but I did prefer it with one. I have to say I do get annoyed with things like graters breaking – i mean how hard is it to make one durable?

  2. My eggbeater is eligible, and I love it. It is a perfect example of a mechanical device that can’t be improved upon by making it electric. My garlic rock. My stovetop coffee pot (eligible – we grow about a third of our own coffee). My macadamia nut cracker. Number 5 – there are so many candidates…. I think it will have to be my big wooden central bench top – perfect for rolling out pastry and kneading bread and lining up jars to be filled and cooking sociably.

    • Liz says:

      That is fabulous that you grow your own coffee! I’ve been thinking about acquiring a stovetop coffee pot for awhile – I use a plunger but I know the quality would be better on the stove.

  3. Love this list. I have a family garlic press: my mother had it and I inherited it a few years ago, just love it!

    • Liz says:

      Thats fabulous – I do think the best kitchen utensils should be handed done – or at the very least be strudy enough that they could be.

  4. Nina says:

    How could we do without those? A well thought through list, Liz. And up there, for me, are my measuring cups and spoons. As recipes become more familiar I can dispense with them but initially I like the reassurance that the proportions of the ingredients are right. Oh, and I LOVE my fairly recent acquisition – a rotary food mill – great for making passata with home-grown tomatoes – no more squishing the pulp through a sieve. I just wish I would have spent a few extra $$$ and bought the slightly larger one. Never mind, still very useful.

    Although I have (only two) chooks, they haven’t started laying yet and won’t now until the warmer weather so I can’t count the eggbeater, either. One day though, one day!!

    • Liz says:

      I do use measuring cups and spoons a lot too – I seem to have left so many things off this list. Oh well makes for a nice conversation. My mum got a mouli too so i tend to make passata at her place (using her tomatoes usually) – great aren’t they?

  5. Julie says:

    I don’t care what the trends are.. I would never part with my garlic press!

  6. Mark Willis says:

    I vote for the garlic-press too. We have one which was a wedding present (36 years ago), and it’s in use on a daily basis still. And of course you need a really good knife, I have one which is “The potato knife” – when I’m peeling spuds, nothing else will do. Some people use a veg-peeler, but I don’t like them.

  7. Leanne Cole says:

    I love the manual egg beater, I have a very old one around here somewhere. One of the things you didn’t have, which I do absolutely love are my kitchen knives. I bought some really good one many years ago and now I really need to learn how to sharpen them.

    • Liz says:

      The egg beater was my partners mothers – she must have bought a new one and she gave her old one to him when he first left home. io doubt he ever used it but I certainly do.

  8. I would go with a good set of kitchen knives, a strong garlic press – Mr Good bought me a fabulous metal one when I broken our last one crushing unpeeled garlic – spoons, grater (box grater and microplane) and my kitchen scissors both for cutting the herbs out in the garden and for snipping them straight into the dish or onto the plate at the end.

    Linda, I want your kitchen bench!

    • Liz says:

      I too want Linda’s kitchen bench. How did I forget knives and scissors – especially scissors as they would have photographed quite well i think.

  9. Jodie says:

    I agree Liz- microplane graters are awesome! I also can’t go past my “Global’ vegie knife (actually its not really ‘mine’) and my $2 Ikea kitchen scissors-the problem being their dual purpose creates endless frustration- They are handy for snipping open packets etc- but I can never find them because I have taken them ‘picking’ in the garden.

    • Liz says:

      I should have included knives really shouldn’t I? Oh well. Ditto scissors – I have the same problem as you in that I can never find my normal ones because they;re outside. I’ve also got some poultry scissors that I find really useful for cutting up whole kitchens.

  10. Dave says:

    The garlic press may be out of favor but I still use it a lot. I love garlic, and the press makes it most garlicky!

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