After creating my previous top 5 kitchen tools list, I was not satisfied. That list is a great start, but there are still more tools I use all the time. Again, in no particular order, here they are:
Immersion blender. Though the Vitamix* creates the ultimate silky smooth soup, the immersion blender* is excellent at that task as well. If you prefer a chunky soup, or simply don’t feel like washing the full blender, the immersion blender is perfect.
The immersion blender in the above link also has a chopper attachment, which is great for small jobs where you don’t want to pull out the food processor. Where it really shines in my kitchen, though, is making homemade mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a finicky thing at the best of times, but I’ve had much more success since I started using the immersion blender to make it.
Pressure cooker. I received a pressure cooker* as a housewarming gift years ago and it changed my life. It was as if my old station wagon of a stove suddenly became a souped-up (ha ha) Trans Am. Broth that normally took all day could be made in an hour. Bolognese and other pasta sauces? Twenty minutes. (Twenty!) Potatoes, carrots and other dense veggies could be cooked in a third the time they usually take.
The pressure cooker in the link is the set I currently have; being able to pressure cook in smaller and larger batches is great. Additionally, the smaller of the two pans is excellent for sauteing.
Food processor. If there’s one gadget I use just about daily, it’s my food processor*. It shreds and slices and chops — all of which saves me on those days when my wrists are sore from too much typing/knitting/chopping. It’s also super handy when we come back from a Costco trip and need to prep ingredients like chopped onions or garlic paste, both of which store excellently in the freezer. The food processor makes creating paleo staples such as cauliflower “rice”, sauerkraut, and coconut butter a breeze. I also love the fact that there’s a wide price range for food processors; in my experience, inexpensive ones work quite well.
Food dehydrator. Peak season for fruits and veggies always seems to fly by, which is why I love my food dehydrator*. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am an enthusiastic amateur gardener, and we plant at least four types of tomatoes every year. Using the dehydrator in the summer lets me save real summer tomatoes, which makes the winter months much more bearable. I use it for herbs, mushrooms, fruit, and am experimenting with beef jerky this year.
Dehydrators are somewhat expensive, but they’re an investment that is well worth it. I have the five-tray version, but if you have a bigger garden, the 9-Tray dehydrator* is a great deal.
Thermometers. Last, but not least, every good cook needs a thermometer*. We roast and grill a fair amount of meat around here, and I always want to be sure that it is properly cooked while not going overboard. The USDA temps are fairly high, and don’t account for the fact that the temperature increases while meat is resting, so I tend to pull it early. While I prefer the classic style, my husband likes the electronic thermometers*. Your choice. However, if you have teens who do the dishes and aren’t especially careful, get the old style. Trust me.
OK! That list feels rather more complete. Still, I’m sure there are things I didn’t think to include. Got an addition? Leave a comment and let me know.
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