Having the right tools on hand can really make or break a kitchen task. And as a crunchy mom, a lot of time is often spent in the kitchen cooking and prepping ingredients since we follow a gluten and dairy free diet, and avoid processed foods. Often, the most important tools for a busy mom are the time-savers, but bonus points go to those tools that help create fun food for your kids. In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorites:
- Melon Baller: Beyond melons, a melon baller can be used to scoop out the core of cut or quartered pears and apples. It cuts out a nice round shape if you plan to slice your fruit as the next step. Or, if you like the halves, you can fill the little “bowl” with nut/sun butter or similar. The melon baller can also be used to remove the seeds and such from cucumber/zucchini/squash; just cut in half lengthwise and scoop everything out. The sharp edge speeds up the process. Once you have your “boat” – fill it with tuna or chicken salad and sprinkle with paprika for color to have a fun gluten-free lunch option for the kids!
- Kitchen Shears: Every mom cuts up their kid food at some point or another. How often and how small may vary, but we all do it. Put down the fork and knife and just use kitchen shears! They are a lifesaver when practicing Baby Led Weaning. You can cut up spaghetti or other noodles right in the bowl (take caution if your kids use plastic bowls, it can mar up the bottom easily), and cut meat and vegetables into the perfect size quickly.
- Fine Mesh Strainer: When nourishing home-made bone broth is a household staple, straining out all the bits of bone, vegetables, and seasoning can be a chore when using cheesecloth. A fine mesh strainer will speed up this process and also allow you to strain larger quantities faster. Never let all those grass fed bones go to waste! And if you get one that is non-metal, you can use it for straining kombucha or kefir grains.
- Wide-mouth Funnel: After making your home-made soups, stews, chili, broth, and fermented yummies, using the funnel for spooning your yummy goodness back into glass jars is now a quick and easy task without all the drips down the side of the jar.
- Mandolin Slicer: I’m guilty of owning two kinds of mandolin slicers – a quick handheld slicer with just a flat blade and a few simple thickness settings, and a second traditional mandolin with the ability for julienne, crinkle/waffle cuts, and fries as well as the basic slicing. Even with good knife skills, this tool is a time saver for slicing large quantities. Veggie chips made with sweet potato, zucchini, beets, or carrots are all a breeze. Shred cabbage for coleslaw or sauerkraut, make shoe string or thick cut french fries, or even slice bell pepper rings to fry an egg within to add color to your breakfast. The list of uses and shortcuts goes on and on. A knife can do many of these things if you allow enough time, but with a mandolin slicer you gain uniformity in your cuts and save a ton of time. Win-win.
What are some of your must-have kitchen items? Please share with us in the comments section below!