Some kitchen tools can help you cook healthier, tastier meals. Looking beyond the gimmicky gadgets and appliances that can fill drawers or collect dust on counters, we’ve compiled a list of utensils that are worth taking up kitchen space. By: Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
1. Wooden reamer: This simple tool juices citrus with a twist of the wrist. Fresh lemon, lime or orange juice awakens the flavor of vegetables, soups, salads and grain recipes without adding extra calories or sodium.
Price range = $4 - $10
2. Mortar and pestle: Beyond being great décor on a kitchen shelf, the mortar and pestle is a super tool for grinding spices, fresh herbs, vegetables or fruits into rubs, sauces or powders. Choose one with a deep bowl and a rough interior like stone. Bonus: You’ll burn a few calories when putting a little muscle into your grind.
Price range = $25 - $100
3. Food scale: Helpful for keeping portion sizes in check, a food scale is an invaluable tool to accurately measure how much you are eating. You’ll also hone your baking skills as chefs recommend weighing versus measuring for the best recipe outcomes. Digital is the easiest to read and there are a wide range of options on the market.
Price range = $25 - $50
4. Immersion/stick blender: Blending cooked vegetables or beans to add bulk without extra fat calories is a cinch with this handheld blender. With a few zaps in the cooking pot or bowl, you’ll have wonderful pureed soups, vegetables, salad dressings, smoothies and even homemade baby food.
Price range = $30 - $150
5. Handled grater: This nifty tool makes zesting a breeze; you’ll never use pre-ground nutmeg again after smelling the freshly grated spice. Perfect for zesting citrus peels or grating cheese, this gadget is swift to clean and more knuckle friendly than the old box grater.
Price range = $10 - $20
6. Food thermometer: If you cook beef, pork, chicken or fish, this is a must-have tool as eating healthy also means eating safe. Models range from basic stainless steel to sophisticated digital readers armed with an alarm.
Price range = $5 - $50
7. Roasting sheet: A splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and this heavy duty baking tray with a lip (like a jelly roll pan) is all you need to make perfect roasted veggies. When roasted, vegetables take on a sweeter, deeper flavor that can win over any “I don’t like Brussels sprouts” taste buds.
Price range = $15 - $30
8. Indoor grill: From panini presses to the original George Foreman appliance, the double sided indoor grill doesn’t require foods to be loaded with oil or butter for a tasty outcome. And by grilling both sides at once, you slash cooking time and energy use, which could be healthier for the earth too.
Price range = $20 - $300
9. Chef’s knife: Many cooks say this is the only knife they can’t live without and for good reason; it can chop, dice or mince the toughest root vegetable or the most delicate herb. Keeping your knife sharp is key to making prep work simple and avoiding injury; many kitchen stores offer sharpening services, sometimes complimentary.
Price range = $30 - $300
10. Rice steamer: Owners swear by their steamers for more than just a perfect bowl of rice; it also perfectly cooks a variety of whole grains like oatmeal, barley and quinoa. Experiment by adding in lentils, dried fruit, nuts, spices and fresh herbs; the one pot meal options are endless.
Price range= $15 - $90
Deanna Segrave-Daly is a registered dietitian, partner at Teaspoon Communications and co-host of Twitter’s bi-monthly #kitchentool chat.