3 smart tips for finding the right kitchen tools

Purchasing equipment for your kitchen can be pricey, especially when you don't know exactly what you'll need. Here are three quick tips to help you choose the right kitchen tools without breaking your budget.

3 smart tips for finding the right kitchen tools

1. Ignore kitchen tool hoopla

A lot of manufacturers of kitchen gadgets, as well as the stores that sell them, would have you think you simply can't cook without this or that gizmo. What you never hear is that one cook's cool tool is another cook's clutter.

  • There are fine cooks who don't have a food processor, a microwave, a blender, a slow cooker, a mandoline, a mango splitter, a gas grill, a ricer, a food mill, a toaster oven, a bread maker, a juicer or even a coffee maker. There are other cooks who swear by any one of those items, and a whole lot more.
  • There are cooks — good ones — who still prefer an old-fashioned, hand-cranked eggbeater to a wire whisk.
  • When it comes to equipment, you must find your own way. Just don't think you have to figure it out all at once.
  • If you don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment until you know what you really like, look for yard sales that advertise kitchen equipment among their wares.
  • You can buy things for very little money, see how you like them, and either keep them or put them into your own sale.

2. Don’t worry about wood vs. plastic cutting boards

Which side are you on, wood or plastic? The war over which type of cutting board is safest has entered a new phase: it's a draw.

  • The battle went back and forth for more than a decade. Everyone assumed plastic could be cleaned more thoroughly, and was therefore better than wood, until some research in 1994 showed that wood retained less bacteria than plastic. More research followed, and it further confused the issue.
  • Finally, researchers threw up their hands and declared: there isn't much difference. Just wash them with hot, soapy water, because bacteria persist on both for a long time.

3. Use coffee filters for straining

Many recipes call for using cheesecloth to strain things, but many chefs use paper coffee filters instead.

  • Straining through the filters takes a little longer, but it produces a clearer liquid and they're easier to use than cheesecloth.
  • Coffee filters can also be used for broth and also to strain the juice from watermelon and fresh tomatoes to use in aperitifs.
  • The straining produces a liquid nearly as clear as water but with a little surprise to the taste buds.
  • If you're using a cone-shaped filter, set it into a funnel and put that over a container large enough to hold your liquid. Pour the liquid into the filter.
  • If it's taking its time about going through (it depends on what the liquid is), go do something else for a while, then pour in some more.
  • If you're using a basket-type filter, follow the same procedure, but set it into a sieve over a jar or bowl.

Keep these tips in mind and make smart choices to get the tools you'll need for less!

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