What kitchen gadgets are worth it?
You know when you to tidy up your house to toss some stuff and make space and you realize that you haven't touched half of it in years? God forbid your are moving (my heart goes out to you), you may find literal dumpsters of things that you just don't use. My house is FULL of kitchen gadgets. Which for a tiny kitchen, can make it seem almost humorous how many places I'm storing them. To go though a quick run down of what I can remember without searching:
- Large food processor
- Small food processor
- Rice cooker
- Air fryer (it's pretty cool)
- Vegetable Spiralizer
- Air popper for popcorn (I don't own a microwave)
- Immersion blender
It's A LOT of stuff for a tiny kitchen to store along with all my food, dishes, and cookware. The big question is: Which ones are worth it? To answer that question I picked my two three appliances or kitchen helpers I could not live without.
Number 1 reigning supreme: My Vitamix.
This investment is not for the faint of heart. And by that I mean a regular old joe such as myself. If you go swimming in gold like Scrooge McDuck at night, cool. Go buy yourself one (and maybe a less fortunate neighbor. They'd be so appreciative!). A new Vitamix can cost around $400-500. Mine refurbished was $299 and I waited a LONG time to go for it.
Pros: It makes any soup, sauce or dressing you have smooth AF. Seriously. I used to think my immersion blender was efficient and did a great job but it was a joke. Leave anything in a vitamix on high for 2 minutes and it's straight liquid. Smoothies are way better. No chunks of ice. Ever. I can make nut butters, flours, plant based milk, you name it. For as many things as a vegan blends together it is a worthwhile investment.
Cons: Expensive. That's self explanatory. Over powerful. That seems silly to say, but sometimes I put things in there to get 'pulsed' and then wish I had used my food processor when it turns to dust or cream. Awkward for some textures. I use my vitamix to make nut-based cheeses and it can take A LOT of side scraping to get all that business down to the blades. It's still worth it, it's just a pain.
Bottom line: Dig in to a vegan life style, soak your nuts before blending (not a joke; it makes them softer), try tons of recipes without it and then see if you'd want to invest.
Number 2: Mandoline
This vegetable guillotine is the bees knees, the cat's pajamas, the Muhammad Ali of the even slice. It can slice vegetables in a heartbeat at exactly the same width. Just keep your fingers away from the blades and you'll be weeping tears of joy; especially if you're slicing onions. I can't explain the importance of even sizing when trying to cook things. It really helps you out. In addition, if you want anything crispy you want it thin and that's too much to do by hand.
Pros: Inexpensive. Self explanatory. Even slices. Since the prices are all the same size, when you pick a cooking temperature it all finishes at the same time. You pop in interchangeable blades ranging from thin to thick (some even julienne and waffle cut. I don't get the sorcery either). Super super fast. I'll get back to you in 5 minutes when you're done making those eighth of an inch slices by hand and I've was done almost instantly.
Cons: Finger damage. Watch out! Those blades are sharp. Get a mandoline with a finger guard and don't. tempt. fate.
Number 3: Vegetable Spiralizer
If blogging allowed me to insert emojis, there would be a crying happy face to start this description. Spiralizers are so cool and so versatile. By this point zoodles (zucchini noodles) are a household word and for good reason. Spiralized vegetables add an awesome base to tons of dishes. They can sneak veggies in to people who are generally veggie resistant and can bring new flavors to old sauces and pasta recipes. You can also pulse the noodles in a food processor to make riced vegetables, or use the singular blade attachment to make ribbons out of apples, sweet potatoes, pears or anything you want.
Pros: Not expensive. Self explanatory. Opens up new worlds. Unlike the other two kitchen gadgets who make old jobs easier, this one allows you to give old dogs new tricks. Carrots are good, but carrots riced into an enchilada casserole is a new take. Try! Have fun! It's food, not a chore. Spiralizers embody the 'let's see what we can do' attitude.
Cons: Root vegetables can be (literally) tough to spiralize because they are so dense. You will get a work out, but it might not be what you came to the spiralizer for. Cleaning. I feel like no matter how well I wash all parts (and it's all dishwasher safe) there's still stains on the spokes that hold the food. Small price to pay.
Bottom line: Pin some ideas for spiralized vegetables or fruits and go to town! It's so fun and totally worth the small investment. If you don't like it give it to whoever the rich person donated the vitamix too. They'd be appreciative of this too.
Let me know what you favorite kitchen gadget is! I'm sure I could find room and I'd love to make a recipe using it to share out.