I don't know about you, but after staring at my kitchen junk drawer and looking in my cabinets, I see a ton of things I never use. And, while I am pretty good at editing out what I don’t use, it kills me that I have spent money on those items.
What’s worse is that I let them take up valuable real estate in my kitchen. Very frustrating.
Do you have things laying around, taking up space that are never used? I get it.
In looking around my kitchen, I thought I could share with you some tools and appliances that I have had for years. Things that not only get a ton of use, but were worth the money.
So, if you are starting to get on a healthier food “kick” or learning your way around the kitchen, I can hopefully save you some time and effort.
These days, when you turn on the TV and you watch a commercial or a celebrity chef hawking a product, you may think you're not going to be able to boil water without this thing. Unfortunately, over the years, these tools, these instruments just accumulate.
I don’t want this sad end to happen to you, so I am going to share with you some tools and kitchen gadgets that I bought years ago, and are still indispensable to this day.
I am hoping I can save you a little bit of money along the way and free up some space in your kitchen.
I want to help point out some things that I think are important to buy, and more importantly, some things to look for and to NOT buy.
It would be great to learn what tools you are all loving to use. So, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below. It would be particularly interesting to hear about the tools that you've had for a few years.
I have bought a lot of things that were in my kitchen, that years later I realized I never needed to buy. I'm going to go over the key items that I bought and found to be indispensable in my cooking and also share with you the items that were just a waste of time and money.
#1 Ceramic Anything!
I have a few ceramic items that I love because I use them all the time.
One of my favorites is a large knife. I use this mostly for cutting vegetables and lettuce. What's really cool about this knife is that when you cut greens, they won't brown. That's because of the way the cells get cut and are closed off.
I only cut vegetables for salads with this knife.
In buying ceramic knives, be careful. Just because the knife has a different color, you can not be sure you that it is ceramic. Some are just metal coated in plastic and that is another thing entirely.
It should say “ceramic” on the package. If it doesn’t, ask someone in the store. It’s easy to get fooled with these.
Ceramic knives are super, super sharp. Some think they are sharper than the metallic knives. The ceramic knives also stay sharper longer. I have a ceramic knife sharpener but I've rarely used it.
I have these in a few different sizes and do use them all just about every day. The paring knife is great for smaller jobs like peeling. So, I use it to take the skins off lemons and other vegetables.
They make ceramic peelers and let me tell you, they are worth getting. I don’t know about you, but I have bought so many peelers over the years. After a short while, they get dull and even worse, get rusty.
I will never buy another peeler after I have used the ceramic one.
The only downside to the ceramic knives is that they don't twist. What I mean by that is that there are times when you need to twist the knife to finish a certain task like cutting watermelon. I don’t use a ceramic knife for that. The knives break when they are twisted too far. So, I use a metal knife for those kinds of jobs.
A ceramic knife doesn’t replace the need for a stainless steel one, but for most jobs, I use the ceramic one.
There's a lot of junk on the market right now and you can waste a lot of money and you can waste a lot of space in your junk tour buying things that you'll never use.
My Vitamix is something that I probably use at least twice a day. Whether it is a smoothie, salad dressing, soup or sauce, it seems that someone in our house is always using it.
One of the cool things about the Vitamix is that it has replaced a lot of the other electric appliances I had. I have had no need for a food processor or mixer since I bought this heavy duty blender.
The reason it is so powerful is that it actually has horsepower so it's a super powered blender and it can do just about anything.
Most people’s reservation about this blender is that it comes with a high ticket price. It was what had stopped me from buying it for years. So, I bought about 3 or 4 blenders that had burned out, one right after the other, before I finally broke down and got my Vitamix.
I spent hundreds on buying those blenders, but each time there was a heavy duty job, I would blow them out. I wish I had of bought the Vitamix from the beginning.
Please know that you can buy a used Vitamix either on a listserve or Craig’s List. You can also buy a refurbished model on the Vitamix site. They sell new carafes on the site also.
Anything on their site comes with a 7 year warranty. There was one time when I actually needed to use it. The process was simple. I just shipped the Vitamix back to the company and they shipped me a brand new one.
If you're new to a plant-based diet, I strongly recommend the Vitamix. They make the lifestyle easier. Quick meals can be a smoothie and you can easily make dressings and sauces that you would have thought were store bought.
Smoothies in the Vitamix are can be incredibly nutritious because you can put in greens or sprouts and the blender can blend it all into a creamy smoothie.
Another thing I make often is salad dressings. I usually use soaked cashews as a base. Here is my typical recipe..
In a blender put
2 cups of raw cashews (soaked and drained)
3 dates with pits removed
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic (who am I kidding? I use way more!)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Blend well. Stick in mason jar. You don't have to stick to the recipe!!!
Bombillas are an amazing way to use loose leaf tea. Of course, the original use was for yerba mate and a gourd. But the bombilla is more versatile than that.
You can use any loose leaf tea with a bombilla. Just put some loose leaf tea in a regular mug, fill it with hot water, and then stick the bombilla in.
It is easier to use than any other filter. Usually you use a filter to take the tea leaves “out” of the water. But, the bombilla takes the water out. You suck the water up through the straw.
The bombilla is great way to save money also. You can buy loose leaf tea instead of tea bags, and honestly tea bags are at least twice the price of regular loose leaf teas.
I have a site that sells bombillas and here is the link to see the bombillas we carry. But, you don't have to buy them from us. You can look on Amazon or there are other companies have bombillas.
Just be sure to get the ones that have a ring at the end of the mouthpiece. This ring helps to avoid burning your tongue with the hot water.
Save time and money, but best of all, drinking tea with a bombilla is just fun.
#4 Springform Pan
Most households in the states, have a springform pan. Now maybe some people have this in a high cupboard and don’t think they are useful.
I, on the other hand, love mine and hopefully, I can inspire you to get yours out.
One of the reasons why I like using them is because of their versatility and simplicity.
Using the springform pan, it is super easy to make a great dessert. Even better is that you can make it really healthy by not needing to use non-stick anything. I never have to coat the inside with oil, butter or margarine.
I know these pans are not fancy but they are something that I find to be indispensable.
#5 Vegetable Chopper
I literally bought mine about 6 years for under $20. I use it all the time.
They are very simple to use. You basically cut the fruit or vegetable into a smaller piece and then put it in the shoot and press down.
It cuts down on cleanup because the cut vegetables end up in this storage container. You can get all these amazing small cut vegetables in very little time.
I love this chopper because it makes making soup, chili or even salad so fast and so easy. It takes away the need for any kind of cutting board.
This chopper is one of those tools that I wasn't sure about. I saw it in the store and just stared at it for a while. I mean, I even think I saw commercials about this chopper! But, it was worth it, and years later, I am still using it!
#6 Wood or Bamboo Utensils
I love my wood utensils. I use them more than plastic or even metal. They do not get too hot to hold and they hold up really well. I find them to be indispensable. Most of the ones in my drawer I have had for many years if not decades.
These utensils last forever. They are versatile and inexpensive also. The trick to these is to hand wash them as much as possible rather then put them in the dishwasher.
I have a few items in the shot I wanted to point out. The bamboo mat is a great thing to put over anything that you cooked that is still warm but you don't want to put in the refrigerator. For example, I always put this over my hot rice. That allows for the steam to escape, but no bugs to get in! I use the mat instead of the lid so the rice stays fluffy and doesn't get cooked into a solid brick.
The paddles are great to mix things and not worry about the handles getting hot. I will use this to scoop things up from the bottom of a pot without scratching it.
Every couple of years or so, I'll run a little bit of olive oil or sesame oil over them. This just keeps them from splitting or cracking.
I have them in a couple different sizes and I keep a drawer of them all together. That way, I keep it all simple and organized.
Those are my six most versatile and useful tools that I've used in my kitchen for probably decades now. Hopefully, some of this will help with ideas to start your kitchen or what to edit out of your kitchen.
I am hoping you won't waste money on things that you'll never use. Let me know if you found some of these ideas helpful. I mean really, let me know! You can email me!
Be well everyone! Ciao!