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The Right Kitchen Gadgets for Your Home
Pots and pans are necessities in any kitchen, but itís those little gadgets that make cooking fun. Kitchen gadgets come in an array of different types from steamers to graters to nutcrackers, and the newest gadgets include some high-tech features as well. When choosing gadgets for your kitchen, a few simple guidelines will help you select the right ones for you.
Graters and grinders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some incorporate fine and coarse graters into one convenient package, while others use a grinding mechanism to grate hard cheese or coffee. At minimum youíll need two grating blades, one fine and one coarse. Make sure the blades and grinding mechanism you choose is made of stainless steel; this will ensure they are durable and rustproof for years of use. Graters get heavy use, so sturdy construction is a must. Rotary herb mills allow you to easily grind or chop fresh herbs, a boon to gourmet chefs. Unless you grind coffee or spices regularly, electric grinders are usually not a good investment.
Timers and thermometers come in all shapes and sizes, from the traditional white to brightly-coloured chicken-shaped egg times. Select one that complements your decorating style or delights your whimsy. Specialty thermometers are available for timing chicken or turkey roasts; these are designed to survive the high temperatures in your oven. There are even barbeque tongs that measure the temperature of your chops, letting you know when itís cooked through.
Can openers are available in both mechanical and electric models. Most mechanical models incorporate a bottle opener as well. Sturdy handles and smooth turning action are features to look for in a mechanical can opener. Most electric can openers need an electrical outlet, though battery operated models are available. Make sure you have a mechanical can opener available in case of a power cut.
Measuring cups and spoons are available in a variety of styles and materials. Some conveniently nest together for easy storage, while larger heatproof glass models often have measurement indicators printed on the outside. If you use measuring cups often in cooking, itís best to have more than one set so you donít have to wash up in the middle of a recipe. The best measuring spoons are stainless steel, but plastic makes a decent substitute if cost is a concern. Measuring cups are generally available in plastic, glass, or stainless steel; aluminium measuring cups should be avoided due to their tendency to dent, rendering them useless for accurate measurement.
Potato ricers, egg slicers, and juicers all work on the principle of compression, pressing the food through various blades or strainers to achieve the desired result. Potato ricers should be constructed of heavy duty stainless steel to prevent discolouration or pitting with heavy use. Egg slicers donít have to be quite as durable, but make sure the wire or blades used for cutting are securely affixed to the frame; these parts are most prone to failure, reducing the life of your gadget. Juicers are often made of durable polymer plastic, which resists staining and cracking under pressure.
Pasta makers range from simple rolling pins and molds to elaborate mechanical extrusion machines. Some are so complex, they do nearly all the work for you; simply pour in the ingredients, and then turn the handle to produce perfect noodles every time. While dried pasta is usually acceptable for daily meals, serious cooks will want some sort of pasta maker to produce fresh noodles in various flavours for their special dishes.
Other kitchen gadgets include such items as utensil caddies, magnetic knife racks, steamers, and nutcrackers. These come in a variety of design choices to complement your kitchenís dťcor. Novelty devices like pancake machines and mesh grilling pans are designed for very specific uses, so be certain you have a real need for these before investing a lot of money into something that will see little use in your kitchen.
Properly chosen, the right kitchen gadgets will make cooking easier and more fun. Find well-made and durable gadgets, and your recipes will turn out better every time.