You don’t own every kitchen gadget known to man? Don’t worry. Here are seven kitchen appliances you don’t really need.
By Tiffany, Contributing Writer
When I was registering for my wedding, I thought I needed all kinds of cool kitchen gadgets that seemed to be “must-haves” for my house.
And then I didn’t get any of them.
But you know what? I got through just fine.
I learned to make do with what I already had, and in many cases, that worked much better than if I had some fancy schmancy kitchen appliance!
I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen these past 9 years of marriage and I’ve learned exactly what kitchen tools are worth the investment, and which you can skip. Every kitchen will be different of course, but if you’re curious where to begin, start with this list!
7 Kitchen Appliances You Don’t Really Need
#1. Pastry cutter
The purpose of a pastry cutter is to “cut in the fat” so that when it bakes, the water from the fat evaporates and creates air pockets (fluffy dinner biscuits, anyone?). For this to work, the fat can’t be melted or pasty. But you don’t need a pastry cutter to do this.
- Two butter knives. You’re literally cutting the fat. This method doesn’t work for me, but I really think it’s me and not the method, because some of my friends swear by it!
- Your fingers. Mash the butter with the flour, but work quickly so you don’t melt the butter. Squish and release, squish and release. This was my method until I found…
- A mixer. A standing mixer with the paddle attachment (the one you use to make cookies) works wonders! The only caveat is that it happens within a minute or so, so be sure to stay near to watch otherwise the butter will start to cream.
#2. Yogurt maker
Milk needs to be incubated at 100F or so to make yogurt. A yogurt maker is perfect for doing that, but it’s an appliance that doesn’t do anything and takes up quite a bit of room. Plus there are several other ways to make yogurt without a yogurt maker:
- An oven. Your oven light (with the oven off) emits enough heat to culture yogurt. This worked for me before our oven light went out, but I’ll admit, this method puts the yogurt out of my sight and therefore out of my mind. Which kinda scares me with towels in the oven.
- A slow cooker. There are several methods for crock pot yogurt, but this overnight version is my favorite so far. Some say crock pot yogurt makes runny yogurt and others say it works fine. I honestly think it depends on your starter and the milk (and possibly the slow cooker).
- A big cooler. With a bit pot of hot water, incubating yogurt in a cooler works well too. We don’t have a big cooler though, so we use…
- A heating pad. Yep! I make yogurt with a heating pad on my counter. It works every time, and it’s in my sight so I don’t forget about it!
These cute little tools take off the color off from citrus rind, which is also known as zest. The catch is that they don’t work very well (for me anyway), so it’s just cluttering my kitchen drawer. Now I use other ways to zest instead:
- Knife. This is the old school method. Cut off just the color from citrus and then chop chop chop until it’s incredibly fine. Works every time!
- Cheese grater. This is how I prefer to do it, and I really like that I can choose between super fine (like you would for Parmesan) and larger pieces (like you would grate carrots) depending on my recipe. Super fine orange zest is perfect for Triple Chocolate Einkorn & Almond Biscotti, while the larger zest adds zing and color to 3-Ingredient Key Lime Pie.
#4. Cherry pitter
Really, these do exist! I can see how these would be handy if you ate A LOT of cherries or made a point to preserve lots of cherries each year, but for the average consumer who might make a pie once a year, you can get away with:
- A paperclip. I haven’t tried this method myself, but this You Tube video makes it look fairly easy.
- A knife. Yep, another old school method here. It doesn’t leave the cherries whole, but I’m actually okay with that. More cherries in my pie!
#5. Bread machine
Our favorite No-knead Artisan Bread is just 69¢ per loaf, so it’s a no brainer that making bread from scratch is one of the key ways we keep our grocery budget at just $330 each month. If making bread scares you (or if the idea of yeast freaks you out), I understand why a bread machine would be appealing. But it’s definitely not a necessity! Here are a few recipes that walk you through making bread from scratch:
- Easy: No-knead Artisan Bread and Man Bread and Little Bother Oat Bread
- Moderate: Soaked Whole Wheat Bread and Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (pictured above) and Beer Bread
- Skilled: English Muffins and Fluffy Dinner Rolls
And here are a few other posts that will help too:
- A Beginner’s Guide to Using Yeast
- How to Convert a Bread Machine Recipe to a By-hand Recipe
- Baking Bread in a Slow Cooker
#6. Baby food maker
Baby food makers do two things: cook and mash. But our grandmothers made baby food before it came in jars and before this one-purpose device was invented, right?
The steps are simple:
- Cook the food how you normally would: roast, boil, steam, etc.
- Mash it with a fork or a potato masher, or puree in a blender or food processor.
#7. Rice Cooker
The purpose of a rice cooker is to cook rice, yet this can easily be done on a stove. Just follow the directions on the package!
And yes, while a rice cooker can be used for other things too, it accomplishes the same tasks as a slow cooker. Since a slow cooker is more versatile (like for making Homemade Chicken Stock and baking bread), that’s the one that wins the spot in my appliance shelf.
Image by Pixabay
3 Kitchen Appliances You Really Do Need
Of course no “don’t buy list” wouldn’t be complete with a “do buy list,” so here are the three kitchen appliances I absolutely love and am fairly sure I can’t live without!
#1. Stand mixer.
This is quite the investment, but one you won’t regret. From making cookies and cutting the fat and kneading dough, I use this at least twice a week. Did you know you can shred chicken with a mixer? You can also do it with a hand mixer! Way cool.
#2. High speed blender.
#3. Immersion blender.
This makes blending hot stuff incredibly easy. The Blendtec won’t shatter when blending hot items, but I can be a messy pour-er. So when I’m making spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker or Tomato Basil Soup on the stove, I use the immersion blender to puree without making a mess everywhere. I also use it for Fail-proof Homemade Mayo, which tastes WAY better than store-bought and super convenient, since it’s ready in less than a minute.
Do you have any kitchen tools that you realized you didn’t need? What tools are you must-haves in your kitchen?
cover image by Pixabay