In my years of canning, one of the things I’ve found is that most of my favorite canning tools weren’t made specifically for canning. They are simply kitchen utensils that are well made, sturdy and just happen to serve a useful role in my preserving practice. From the bottom left corner and moving clockwise, here are some of my current favorites.
- This six-piece set of stacking measuring cups by RSVP is fantastic. They are made from solid stainless steel and have a nice heft in the hand. I use the one-cup measure to portion jam into half-pint jars and the half-cup one fits neatly into my larger storage jars.
- I’ve long been a fan of a serrated edge peeler. It’s particularly handy during marmalade season because it allows you peel off the outer zest from citrus without taking any of the pith along with you. What makes this particular peeler so nice is that it had dual blades, one smooth and one serrated. Makes for less clutter in a crowded utensil drawer. The one pictured above is from Williams-Sonoma. Kuhn Rikon also makes a version.
- Thermapen is simply the best instant read thermometers out there. I’ve bought two in recent years and just love them for minding the temperature of my jams, jellies and curds. They’re pricy, but worth the money (and make sure to check the end of this post for a Thermapen giveaway!).
- I first found this potato masher at a Tuesday Morning and it has supplanted all my other mashers. What makes it so awesome is that the tines are bladed. They’re not sharp, but they have just enough edge to make it perfect for breaking down cooking fruit. It’s a fantastic tool.
- A good, fully encased silicone spatula. The one pictured above is from GIR and is quite nice. However, it also costs $22.50, which is more than most people want to spend on a spatula (disclosure! this one was sent to me for review purposes). For a more sensibly priced version (under six bucks), check out this one from Orka. According to Amazon, I bought mine in 2009 and it’s still going strong.
- A good paring knife. I like the ones made by Kuhn Rikon, but couldn’t find one in the kitchen when preparing to take this picture. The most important thing is that it feels good in the hand and holds an edge.
- If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you’ll know that I am crazy for my 4th burner pot. Also made by Kuhn Rikon (they don’t know I exist, I just like their products), this skinny pot has a spout, a heat-proof handle and is fitted with a rack. This means that it works as a small batch canning pot, a pot for heating pickling liquids and syrups for canning whole fruit and even as a tea kettle in a pinch. On Thanksgiving, I used it to heat up the gravy. It is a genius piece of equipment and I love it so much that I own two.
- I bought this Cuisinart stainless steel wok at Macy’s last summer on a whim. It was on sale and I had a feeling that it might be a handy size and shape for making small batches of jam. And I was right. The flared sides encourage evaporation and it holds a bit more jam than a 12-inch skillet. It’s lighter than ideal for a true wok, but is quite nice for jams, jellies and chutneys (and it just costs right around $30, which makes it highly affordable).
- Finally, flour sack towels. I finally got smart and started buying them in colors instead of in white. No matter how much I bleached them, the white ones just never get clean. The deeply colored ones don’t show the stains as much. Amazing the difference these little choices make in my quality of life.
As promised, I have an orange Thermapen to give away to one of you nice folks. Here’s how to throw your hat in the ring for chance at it.
- Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your current favorite kitchen tool.
- Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 30, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
- Giveaway open to everyone (the shipping is on me, no matter where you live).
- One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.