As the weather begins to warm and thoughts of grilling out and eating fresh meals from the garden dance around in my head, I knew it was time to review the 3 most commonly used kitchen tools in our house each summer.  

You may have one or two of these, and possibly all three. But one thing is for sure, each one is crucial for us getting through the summer months with ease.

If you don’t have one of the tools, think Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  

must have kitchen tools
The Digital Thermometer – one of our must have tools! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Moreimages

And because those newlyweds may not realize how important they are, they would make a great wedding gift for all those upcoming weddings! 

3 Must Have Kitchen Tools

Kitchen Tool Number One:

DIGITAL THERMOMETER:

Hands down, this is the most helpful grilling tool available.  Yes, both the spatula and tongs are important, but when you use a digital thermometer, it takes the guess-work out of the temperature of when your food is safe to eat.  

kitchen tools
The key to great grilling is making sure the meat reaches a safe temperature and immediately take it off the grill!

The most common mistake that one makes when grilling is to over cook the meat.  Traditionally the meat would be considered ‘ready to eat’ after visually inspecting the interior color to see if it is ‘done’ or pressing on the meat with the back of a spatula to determine how firm it is.  This simply involves too much guesswork  and a loss of taste and texture of your food.  Meat and poultry are considered cooked and juicy at certain temperatures but become dry and tough if cooked much longer.  That is why an instant read thermometer will become one of your must have tool for the summer months!

To view a chart on safe minimum cooking temperatures see: The Secret To Grilling Season

 

Kitchen  Tool Number Two:

FOOD PROCESSOR: 

kitchen tools
We even use our food processor to make our own bread crumbs in seconds!

I use my food processor at least 5 out of the 7 days of the week in the summer.  You simply throw in your ingredients, press a button and you are ready to go! If you are trying to eat more vegetables, or trying to hide them in your dinner meals, a food processors is a must have! I also use it to save big money by making my own ground chicken from chicken breasts.  By doing it myself, I save an average of $3.00 per pound!  In just a few months, the food processor has paid for itself and has become one of our favorite kitchen tools!

We get a lot of questions about the difference between a food processor and a blender.  Blenders are another great kitchen item, but they are much different from a food processor. Blenders are great for making smoothies, soups, whole food juices, and even some batters for baked goods. Although food processors can do somewhat of the same thing, they are designed for recipes that you don’t need as much liquid. For instance, dry doughs do better in a food processor  and for simple tasks, like chopping, dicing, and slicing veggies takes only seconds!  Now you can buy your veggies in bulk, chop them for later use, and save money!

One hint of advice –  be sure to select one that holds at least 12-14 cups and be sure to buy a high-quality brand so you won’t waste your money. 

 

Kitchen  Tool Number Three:

IMMERSION BLENDER:

kitchen tools
Using an immersion blender makes simple work out of pureeing soups and sauces!

We can’t imagine summertime without our immersion blender.  At the end of the summer, when the garden is at peak production, we use this tool almost daily.  We use it to puree tomatoes, cook down tomatoes for picante sauce, and to puree soups. 

The biggest advantage of using is that it is so easy to use.  It’s handheld, light, and easy to maneuver. Using one involves simply immersing it in a pot or a bowl and pressing the on button. It is so much easier and safer than dragging out your blender or mixer, especially when trying to puree hot soup.  Immersion blenders are also easier to clean – just scrub with soapy water, rinse, and dry. 

Don’t limit yourself to just pureeing soups with the multi-use immersion blender, that is only the beginning. You can also use an immersion blender to make whipped cream, mayonnaise, salad dressings, fruit smoothies, and shakes, all of which we make a lot of during the summer months. Believe me, it is well worth the small cost to purchase to add this handy kitchen tool to your collection. 

Happy Cooking!

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Mary and Jim




 

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