Affordable Kitchen Gadgets Every Home Chef Should Know About
Every kitchen has the basics. Can openers, spatulas, and tongs are just a few examples. You’ve also probably got a ladle or five. These tools are perfect for classic dishes, but what if an upgrade were a few bucks away? After all, today’s food industry is full of unique gadgets, making it easy to create exciting dishes. It’s a matter of knowing they exist.
These gadgets focus on a major aspect of good food: fresh ingredients. You can’t even compare it to stuff out of the can or freezer. Plus, when you’re all about home-cooked meals, freshness is everything. Just ask your taste buds.
Fortunately, the most unique kitchen gadgets are also wallet-friendly. Here are eight options to get you started.
Long gone are the days of getting corn stuck in your teeth. With a corn stripper, you can remove kernels with ease. Some versions can peel the whole cob at once, while others strip in rows.
Corn strippers work on both cooked and raw corn, so the possibilities are endless. Hosting a barbecue? Keep it by the grill for cob-less corn on the cob.
Top with butter for a no-mess dish. In the kitchen, a corn stripper can turn raw corn into a fresh ingredient. See you never, canned corn.
Shrimp Peeler & Deveiner
No, this gadget isn’t a curved pair of plastic scissors. It’s a seafood lover’s best friend. A peeler and deveiner makes it easy to free shrimp from its shell. You can always do it by hand, but after digging your thumb into several shrimp, things will get messy. It also takes quite a while. Why make grumbling stomachs wait?
The veins have a gritty texture, so most people like to remove them. Additionally, store-bought peeled and deveined shrimp are usually more expensive. But with this gadget, you can buy fresh shrimp and save money.
Fresh herbs will transform even the simplest dishes… well, after you pick them apart first. An herb stripper will change that. It doesn’t hurt that fresh herbs are also a million times tastier than their dried counterparts.
Using an herb stripper saves you so much time. Extra points if you have an herb garden. In less than a minute, you can have homegrown rosemary and basil in your dish. What’s a spice cabinet again?
Garlic is the ultimate kitchen staple. It’s right up there with salt and pepper! Countless recipes call for garlic in the beginning steps. Luckily, with a garlic press, you can crush garlic in a jiffy.
Sure, there’s always minced garlic in a jar. But after sitting around for so long, most of the flavor has leached out. Crushing it yourself gives you all the good stuff right there and then. Simply peel a fresh clove of garlic and use.
Spiralizers are having a moment right now – and it’s easy to see why. They can transform ordinary veggies into extraordinary “pasta.” Talk about a healthy mind trick. Fortunately, you don’t need a bulky machine to make it happen. A hand spiralizer will save the day.
If you don’t have a lot of kitchen space, you’ll adore this gadget. It’s also useful if you want to give spiralizing a spin. After a few flicks of the wrist, you’ll have oodles of noodles made of zucchini, cucumbers, and carrots.
Eating mangos is a delicious experience. As for slicing them? Not so much. Instead of dealing with awkward chunks of juicy goodness, use a mango slicer.
It’s all in the shape. The blades cut around the pit, tough skin and all. Some mango slicers even have components that double as peelers. From there, you can chop up the meat for smoothies, salads, or snacks.
Like mangos, pineapples can be a pain to prep. It’s common to end up with sticky fingers and a messy counter. By using a pineapple corer, you can quickly de-core a pineapple and cut rings.
Above all, you’ll minimize waste. Nothing is worse than slicing away skin with a thick layer of fruit. Some pineapple corers also cut apples, so if you love both fruits, find a tool that does double duty.
Nothing says “tropical” like water from a raw coconut. But before you grab a hammer and have at it, use a coconut opener. This simple tool is designed to “uncork” a coconut, making room for a straw. If that doesn’t say island vibes, we don’t know what does.
Pre-packaged coconut water may be easy to find, but it usually comes with artificial sweeteners and additives. Preservatives are often added to increase shelf life. However, drinking coconut water straight from the source, you can skip all the fake stuff.
Even just a few tools will transform the way you cook. Need proof? Check out this unique shrimp recipe using a shrimp peeler, mango slicer, and coconut opener.
Using the shrimp peeler, remove the shells and veins from ½ pound of shrimp. Add to a medium pot of salted boiling water. Poach for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and cool in a bowl of ice water. Strain and pat dry. With the coconut opener, pierce a raw young coconut and pour out ¼ cup fresh coconut water. Whisk with ¼ cup white vinegar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 finely chopped scallion. Add a pinch each of salt, pepper, and sugar. If you’d like, add fresh herbs and crushed garlic – another chance to use more tools. Toss the shrimp with the marinade and chill for 20 to 30 minutes
In the meantime, use a mango slicer to cut apart a ripe mango. Chop into small cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and ¼ cup each of finely chopped red bell pepper and green onion. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Serve on top of coconut-poached shrimp.
To be safe, carefully read each gadget’s instructions. Every brand and tool may be different. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment. You never know what you’ll be inspired to make.