How to Select Cooking Utensils

There is a good variety of different kitchen utensils on offer. The truth is, you only need a few of them. If you have invested in nonstick pans, make sure that you buy cooking utensils that are made from heat-resistant but non-metallic materials so that they will not scratch the nonstick surfaces, ruining your pans for ever.

Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

How to Select Cooking Utensils How to Select Cooking Utensils

Really, you need a minimum of two wooden spoons. You need to keep these clean, and as soon as they become discolored or are cracked replace them. So it does not pay to buy expensive ones. A flexible, plastic spatula is great for scraping the sides of pans and mixing bowls. A stepped spatula can help you move foods between dishes and is great for flipping omelettes.

Ladles, Balloon Whisks and Potato Mashers

You will need a ladle to serve soups and stews. You only really need one ladle, so go for a medium-sized one. Balloon whisks are used for whisking up cream and eggs and are also essential for creating smooth sauces. Another useful item is a potato masher, which can be used to mash any sort of vegetable or fruit. Try to find one that has a rounded, plastic end, as this will protect your pans.

Kitchen Scissors and Tongs

You need a pair of robust, sharp and fairly large kitchen scissors. You will need them for a variety of jobs, from trimming meat and fish to snipping herbs, and to cut greaseproof paper to fit into your pans or your preserving jars. Try to find a pair where the handles separate to make cleaning far easier. Tongs are also useful for turning foods over in a pan or roasting tin and for transferring food from the tin or pan on to the plate.

Can Opener, Vegetable Peeler and Grater

You do not need a wall-mounted, electric can opener, or anything particularly fancy. Just find one that feels comfortable in your hand and has a good grip. It also needs to have a nice smooth turning mechanism. The best type of vegetable peeler to use is a y-shaped peeler. This will allow you to peel your vegetables very quickly, taking off a very thin layer and giving you an even look. For grating, try to find the four-sided kind, as these are really versatile. You will be able to grate from coarse to extremely fine, so they are ideal for grating lemon rind, chocolate, cheese and nutmeg.

Colander, Sieve and Mixing Bowls

A colander is used for washing vegetables and salad and for draining cooked vegetables, rice and pasta. To wash, simply place the produce into the colander and run them under a cold tap. To sift lumps out of flour or cocoa or to wash fine-grained foods, try to find a fine mesh sieve. You can also use it for sauces and soups to get that smooth finish. Mixing bowls are great to prepare, mix and store food. Go for ones that can be used either in the microwave or in the oven and that you can stack inside one another so that they take up less storage space. If you can find ones with lids, even better.

Chopping Boards

Although wooden chopping/cutting boards are very popular and have their advantages, white polyethylene boards are very lightweight and perfectly hygienic as long as you clean them well. Try to buy two and go for different colors. Use one for raw meat and fish and the other for your vegetables, fruit and salads. This will cut down on bacterial cross-contamination hazards. If you really want to, buy a red one for meat, blue for fish and green for vegetables.


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