Essential Kitchen Tools Everyone Should Have
Buying your own place and moving in is never an easy and simple task. There are so many things to buy for each room, furniture, storage space, bathroom toiletries, bed sheets are only some of the major purchases. The kitchen is also one of them, and the kitchen cabinets, stove and refrigerator are not enough. You’ll need to have at least the basic equipment to start your journey in your new home.
What are the Essentials?
Utensils, spatulas, pots and pans, glasses and plates are just the starters. You can’t go forever eating out of plastic plates and drinking from plastic cups. It’s not cheap and eco-friendly. In time you can add and upgrade, to make your home a more cohesive and comfortable place to be.
Cookware is a category that fits frying pans, baking sheets, stockpots and casserole pots. They’re used on the stove or in the oven and come in different shapes, sizes and materials. Lid or no lid, types of handles and heat behaviour all depend on you and your preferences.
We all love a good casserole dish during the winter days to warm our bodies and soul. But to make one you’ll need a proper pan. This is a wide pan with straight sides and a lid. The best materials these pots are made from are ceramic, stainless steel and enamelled cast iron. Out of the three, enamelled cast iron comes at the top of the list because it can be used in the oven and on the stove.
Moreover, it distributes heat evenly and doesn’t rust. One possible downside is its weight. It’s heavy but a good investment for any kitchen. Before buying think about the size. Are you cooking for a lot of people or just for yourself? The shape is also important. Round shaped pans are perfect for soups and stews, and oval-shaped for big pieces of pork and pot roasts.
The multi-purpose fry pans are probably the most commonly used pots of them all. They works for frying, sauteing and searing which is why they’re practical and popular. They can be made out of several materials such as:
- Aluminium – resist corrosion and rust;
- Aluminium Clad Stainless Steel – excellent heat conductor;
- Anodized Aluminium – scratch and dent resistant;
- Stainless Steel – good heat conductor, rust-resistant;
- Copper – excellent heat conductor;
- Carbon Steel – induction ready.
When it comes to thickness, they come between 10-22-gauge constructions. Their handles can also differ. They can be stainless steel, aluminium, and silicone. The last one makes the usage of the frying pan easier with its comfortable grip and simple cleaning. You can also choose from a non-stick and a natural finish fry pan.
Non-stick pans prevent the food from sticking, require less or no oil at all, and are easy to clean. But they can scratch easily and can’t be used with metal utensils. Natural finish pans are great for searing meat and are cheaper, but they don’t prevent sticking, are harder to clean and require extra oil that gets absorbed into the food.
Stockpots are perfect for making stocks, but you can also cook pasta, braise meats, make soups and much more. The size of the pot matters, if you’re a bigger family buy a bigger pot, if you’re living alone a slammer one will do the work perfectly. They almost always come in a round shape with a fitting lid and a thick, heavy bottom. A thick bottom is crucial to not get your ingredients stuck at the bottom.
Stockpots should also have good heat conducting features that make the food flavourful and evenly cooked. Sturdy handles are important, so you don’t drop the precious food you cooked for so long. Some of them are even heat resistant and you can transfer the pot without burning your fingers. Look for handles that are big and wide enough so you can have a good grip on the pot.
It’s always better to do some prep work before cooking the meal. This will save you time and make you more organized. Chop the vegetables and meat, prepare the spaces and place your mixing bowls nearby.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a professional chef, every kitchen needs to have a good set of knives. Stainless steel is the most common material knives are made of. It’s simple to sharpen and doesn’t rust, but it’s bendable and will blunt quickly. Carbon steel will stay sharp for a longer time, but it may rust sooner than you think. Damascus steel is also famous and stainless but is expensive. And ceramic knives are lightweight, sharp, cheap but require a diamond sharpener when they get dulled.
Cutting boards come in different materials, but not every material works with every type of food. So, it’s recommended that you have at least 2 cutting boards in your kitchen. One thing to avoid is a glass cutting board. It may look nice but it will dull your knife and may break very fast. Plastic on the other hand can be a better option. It’s affordable, easy to clean and you can use it best for fish and meat.
The best choice for a cutting board would be wood, especially teak and bamboo. They are long-lasting and won’t dull your knives. Teak doesn’t absorb liquids and smell easy and bamboo is sustainable and lighter. Chefs recommend using a cutting board that’s 38 to 50cm for safe and efficient work.
Mixing bowls are a must-have in every kitchen. You can use them for whisking, stirring, mixing ingredients, measuring and so much more. They can be made out of several materials:
- Stainless Steel – cheap, long-lasting;
- Glass – multipurpose but heavy;
- Ceramic – double function, pretty, but chips easily;
- Plastic – light, cheap, but absorbs smells and oils;
- Copper – light, pretty but expensive.
Colanders are very practical and perfect for draining pasta, vegetables and washing rice. They are lightweight and affordable, but keep an eye on the size of the holes and what you need the colander for. They should have 2-4cm legs at the bottom so the water and liquid can flow and drain easily. They come in many sizes so match the colander to your pot size so you can fit them nicely without making a mess.
Purchasing appliances is not an easy task, especially the ones that you’ll be using very often. There are many things to consider like size, speed, practicality, special features and many more. Some of the essentials are blenders, mixers, microwaves, juicers etc.
Blenders are very popular and widely available. They vary in their size, and you should choose depending on the size of your family and how often will you use the blender. The ideal speed setting would be between 3 and 10-speed levels, since this will give you enough control over the food. If you use it for shakes and smoothies, a 500-watt one would suffice.
It would be great if it has additional cups, mixing bowls or a coffee grinder. Hand blenders on the other hand are perfect for blending cooked food such as fruits and vegetables. They are more portable, and you have more control over the blending of the food. But they come alone, without any cups or bowls to mix in.
Who doesn’t like fresh orange juice in the morning, or as a refreshment on hot summer afternoons? Centrifugal juicers have small teeth that spin in a basket, they work fast but produce a lot of foam. They are great for apples, carrots, kale, and other leafy greens. Masticating juicers work similarly to chewing and produce just a little foam. They work best with kale, spinach, or wheatgrass. Triturating juicers crush and grind the product into very small particles. They work best with soft and hard fruits and leafy greens.
There are always ways to upgrade and add something new to your kitchen collection. New bowls you saw at the supermarket or replacing the old fry pan that had lived its days of glory. Just be careful and choose the materials wisely so you’ll get the most out of your kitchen utensils and appliances.