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nothing fancy: most-used gear in my kitchen

kitchen gearIT’S THE LITTLE THINGS, like the $7 apple corer that makes sweet work of baked apples, apple chips and any other apple or pear prep because it has just that little extra feature: a plunger to pop the core out of the coring tube. Brilliant!

In canning and freezing season, it’s having just the right funnel to fill the jars, the one that really fits. Year round, it’s having reusable bee’s-wax wraps that allow me to sharply reduce my use of plastic wrap (have you tried them yet?). Or a glass teapot so I can see how the brew is shaping up.

In my tiny kitchen, I don’t have room for many gadgets, so the ones I have really have to work, like the immersion blender that has all but retired my actual counter-hogging blender, or the super-durable electric kettle that signals the start to every day when I switch it on. The things that get the most use follow (disclosure: Amazon affiliate links), along with a couple of items, recommended by friends, that top my current wishlist. Like the dehydrator I wish I’d had as I shoved endless trays of apple slices into a 250F oven to dry this fall, a bumper apple year. At least I had the handy corer!

DOUGH CUTTER-AS-SCRAPER: For working with dough, yes, but also this: A culinary friend taught me to stop dulling my knife blade by using it to scrape chopped onions, celery etc. off my cutting board, and use a dough scraper instead. Love it.
TEA TUMBLER: A personal infuser, made of double-walled borosilicate glass, that keeps tea hot and yet isn't hot to the touch. I drink right out of mine (there is a screen up top to keep leaves down), then refill for a second steeping.
WECK JARS, with their glass tops, rubber gaskets and metal clips, do storage duty in pantry and freezer. Beautiful workhorses, as small as for a little pesto or as big as canisters.
BREVILLE ELECTRIC KETTLE (glass): Breville electric kettles are way more durable that other brands I burned through fast. If you prefer glass, this is the model for you...
BREVILLE ELECTRIC KETTLE (stainless): First thing daily: I turn on the electric kettle. Until I invested in a Breville, I burned through cheaper brands every couple of years. This is a durable workhorse.
VIVA GLASS TEA KETTLE, with infuser. I love seeing just how each brew is shaping up through the glass walls of this teapot, with built-in infuser.
WIDE-MOUTH CANNING JARS, specifically ones with straight sides, are my choice for freezing soups, sauces, nuts, and even whole cloves of garlic.
PREPWORKS CANNING FUNNEL from Progressive fills wide- or regular-mouth jars without mess. Just better than the usual suspect.
NORPRO STAINLESS CORER WITH PLUNGER: The plunger is a game-changer when making baked apples, dried slices, or just coring a lot of fruit.
INSTANT POT electric pressure cooker-plus: On my wishlist, at a cookbook-author friend’s urging: Instant Pot stainless programmable pressure cooker doubles as rice cooker, yogurt maker and more.
EXCALIBUR DEHYDRATOR: Shown is top-of-line stainless case with stainless trays, clear door, 26-hour timer; smaller Excaliburs with plastic shelves for far less.
BREVILLE IMMERSION BLENDER: I never turn on my "real" blender since I got hooked on the stick, or immersion, kind, allowing me to blend soups, applesauce and more right in the cooking pot.
NORPRO JAR LIFTER for canning has slip-resistant handles, no small "plus" when working in steamy conditions.
RECAP FLIP LID transforms a canning jar into a storage canister, for nuts, grains, more. Various colors and other lid styles, too.
LIDS BY RECAP, for transforming canning jars into storage containers, travel/sippy cups and more, in many lid styles, colors, and both regular and wide-mouth.
REUSABLE BEE'S WRAP SHEETS (instead of plastic) means no waste when wrapping that leftover half-lemon or bowl of soup. Genius.
  1. Ms. Tweetley says:

    Two items I would add. Super Parchment Baking Liner (reusable and made in the USA), available from the Kitchen Supply Company. Cheese storage bags (extends shelf life of cheese much longer), available from Formaticum.com.

  2. Deb Smith, Albany NY says:

    I have a 3-tier platic frame dehydrator that I seldom use anymore. If you’d like for yourself, Margaret, you can have it. Please email me (your sister knows me in person, so she can vouch for me.) –djs

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks, Deb, how sweet. I have an old one, too, but really want to (someday!) upgrade to the higher-powered and more efficient (and stainless) Excalibur.

  3. Alice says:

    Thanks this is a wonderful wish list , gift list , setting up your first kitchen , and just replacing tired old usless equiptment.

  4. Beverly says:

    My favorite is my “lemon squeezer”. It’s a hinged tool with 2 cups, one perforated, that take about 1/4 lemon and squeeze all the juice out of it. It’s great for squeezing citrus over whatever you’re cooking – and the seeds stay in the cup. I bought it in the supermarket for $7 or $8.

  5. bonni says:

    Great list. I hang o to stuff like my old apple corer that fits my hand nicely. I might splurge for the plunger type as it seems really easy. My re usable are my ancient tupperware for small stuff. The freezer keeps the lids in shape.

  6. MINDY says:

    As a now-retired 30 year chef, kitchen tools are a fav subject! My A-#1 is a red (or black) plastic handled serrated round-tipped knife(sometimes called a ‘steak knife’ ), found in a display crock in kitchen stores,for very little $. They usually have no imprinted brand. It cuts most any and everything,and ‘peels’ carrots, celery,and onions… After it, a 9″ chef knife is all I need, for meats and bigger objects. Then it would be all my blue-top Sterilite containers for reusable refrig and freezer storage (much less $ than Tupperware, but hard to find now.) A good sturdy rubber spatula and a wooden paddle-like cooking ‘spoon’, a Cuisinart and a mini cuisinart and an electric juicer. The next tier down would be my Chinese bamboo-handled wire net scoop-strainers (for pastas),and my long metal handled flat skimmer-strainer.
    As a gadget, I love my Unicorn one-handed pepper gun. In a tasteful Crafts gallery this summer, I discovered a line of cherry cooking spoons that I really like; some a paddle with a spoon bowl indented, some a good size spoon/scoop. I can’t find any labels, but they were all inexpensive.

  7. Birdy says:

    Amazon was selling the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 for $78.50 two days ago (Black Friday at 4 p.m.) — best price I’ve seen. You may want to watch tomorrow (Cyber Monday) for a similar deal. I have two iPots because I like to cook rice and beans at the same time. Love them! Jill McKeever makes very instructional iPot videos.

  8. Jackie Parsons says:

    Your site introduced me to Bees Wrap. So, I visited their website and ordered a starter pack. I love it! I never buy plastic wrap but sometimes miss the convenience. Bees Wrap solves that problem nicely. Thank you for passing along this eco friendly idea.

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