After I wrote about the 5 most useless kitchen utensils last week, I have been asked many times what I think is important in my kitchen and I can’t live without. Narrowing it down to 5 utensils is hard, but these are my absolute top 5 that I don’t go a day without. They actually don’t really have a spot in the shelves, since they are always in use!
1. Chopping boards
Good chopping boards are the foundation of any cooking endeavor! Choosing between plastic and wooden boards is up to you and what you believe is more hygienic. I personally prefer wooden boards, much more down to earth and sturdy. Either way, make sure your boards are big and stable. The worst is if they slip around while you are trying not to chop your fingers off. They should sit on your counter top without any sliding around. And I always believe the bigger, the better in this case. That way you can make piles of your prepped ingredients right there on the board. I do change my boards regularly to make sure there is no mold or bacteria growing.
2. Salad spinner
It may seem like a bulky, extravagant kitchen utensil, but once you have had a salad spinner you will never go back. Soggy lettuce is my enemy number 1 in salads! Salad spinners spin out all the water after washing your lettuce, without breaking the leaves like patting leaves dry may be the case. Once the leaves are dry, the salad dressing sticks to them so much better, making the whole salad taste amazing. It’s fast, it’s so convenient, and you have got to try one. Don’t get one too small, since then you have to work in too many batches. And you don’t need to invest a lot either. They do break within a year or so, so feel free to go cheap on them. Just don’t get the ones with the string that you have to pull on in order for it to spin, they break too quickly. You either want one where you churn or pump the spinner.
3. Lemon juicer
I know, many foodies will disagree with this one, but let me explain why I believe it’s one of the most useful utensils ever! Of course you can use your hand to squeeze out the juice. Living in Asia where lemons are quite expensive, I don’t want to waste any juice, and squeezing by hand is just never as efficient. If you love cooking and are clumsy like me, chances are you will have some cuts on your hands as well as dry skin from constant water contact. If you use your other hand to catch the pits when squeezing the lemon, it will burn!!! Using a lemon squeezer is so much more helpful. Plus they are tiny and really don’t take a lot of space. I squeeze lemons all day for flavored water, salad dressings, and other delicious creations.
4. Good knife with a knife sharpener
What makes a good knife? It needs to lie in your hand like it was meant for your hand alone. You can only get there by testing out a few ones. On top of that, the handle shouldn’t wiggle when you cut. You want to ere on the side of a bigger knife to actually be able to chop big amounts of veggies at once. And then you want to get a knife sharpener. This is so important, because a dull blade can slow you down in your food prep and squash ingredients (think tomatoes!) rather than slice them properly. Of course, take proper precautions and learn how to deal with your sharp knife to be safe in the kitchen.
5. Food processor
While this may have been a “nice-to-have” a few years ago, you really can’t live without one anymore. Whether you decide to get a very expensive one like the Thermomix in the picture here, or a cheaper, smaller version, that is completely up to you. Most healthy recipes call for a food processor to chop and grind ingredients. Your food processor should be strong enough to grind nuts, and you are ready to rock your healthy food kitchen!!!