Tag Archives | kitchen utensils

2015 Gift Guide: Kitchen Utensils

The first in a series of concise gift guides for the 2015 holiday season. Today, let’s talk about cooking utensils!

Gift Guide Utensils - Food in Jars

I first started collecting cooking utensils when I was in college. Any time I spotted a vintage spatula or a sturdy wooden spoon at a thrift store for a quarter, I’d add it to my basket. In those days, I wasn’t really buying for utility. I mostly selected based on age, price, and quirkiness.

Once two friends and I moved into an off-campus house, my motley collection of spoons, tongs, and spatulas were pressed into service in the kitchen. Rapidly, I developed opinions about what I liked and what needed to be returned to the flow of used goods. Now, nearly 15 years and three cookbooks later, I’ve become something of a utensil connoisseur. Here are the ones that I think are most worthy of your time, money, and gift list.

  1. Microplane Zester – Sturdy, sharp, and speedy, I reach for mine any time I need to grate citrus zest, nutmeg, or hard cheeses.
  2. GIR Perforated Spoon* – Though I have a number of slotted and punctured spoons available, this one feels best in the hand and has become the one I reach for first.
  3. Earlywood Classic Ladle – This ladle has heft and makes even a basic pot of soup feel special. It’s also one of those tools that gets better with time and use. Handmade in Montana.
  4. Perfect Masher – This masher has pointy cutting blades that make a world of difference when you’re pressing cooked apples into sauce or smoothing hunks of stonefruit into jam. I also like their pastry blender.
  5. KitchenPro Silicone Tongs* – I use tongs a lot and since this pair landed in my utensil jar, it has occupied the number one spot. They have just the right amount of resistance and the silicone-coated heads are gentle on cookware, serving bowls, and your food. Use the code “PFVBE9VI” for 10% off your order.
  6. GIR Mini Spoon* – I thought this little spoon was sort of ridiculous until I realized I was using it every day. I reach for it any time I make a single serving of oatmeal or heat up leftovers for lunch. Cute and useful is a potent combination.
  7. Koe Premium Silicone Utensils* – The flat-headed spoon you see here is part of a set (this one is my favorite of five) of high quality silicone tools. It’s a vast step up from the nylon cookware sets so often for sale at department stores and would make a very nice gift for a beginning cook.
  8. Mastrad Silicone Spoon Spatula – If I was forced to pick just one utensil to use for the rest of my days, this would be it. It is flexible yet sturdy. Easy to clean (and dishwasher safe). And the unibody means that you never develop mold under the head. I have at least four in my utensil jar at all times.
  9. Utility/Petty Knife – Nine times out of ten, when I have a quick prep job to do, I reach for a utility knife rather than a smaller paring knife. It’s the perfect marriage of maneuverability and durability. If you’re ready to splurge, the one from New West KnifeWorks* is gorgeous and keeps its edge for ages. On the low (but still excellent) end is the OXO 6 Inch Utility Knife.

And now, for the fine print. Most of the links above are affiliate ones, meaning that I earn a few pennies if you happen to use the above link to make a purchase. Anything marked with an asterisk initially came into my life as a review sample. Everything here is worthy of your time and money.

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Giveaway: Core Kitchen Silicone Utensils and Funnels

Core Kitchen tools

It used to be that I was singularly devoted to my wooden spoons and spatulas for just about every kitchen task. I stirred soup with well-worn spoons and had a wooden spatula that was permanently dyed purple from all the batches of blueberry jam it had known.

But then, my allegiances started to shift. I don’t know exactly when it started, but somewhere along the way I became a silicone utensil girl. I love my fully encased silicone spatulas for stirring jam, and have a favorite silicone turner that I use nearly every day for scrambling eggs.

I love these tools because they are one-piece (instead of being silicone or rubber heads perched on wooden or plastic handles), won’t melt in a hot pan, and can go right into the dish washer.

Core Kitchen funnels

Recently, I got an email from Core Kitchen, asking me if I’d be interested in trying some of their tools. I took a quick look at their website, spotted their line of Essential Silicone Utensils and immediately said yes. They sent me a package that included four silicone tools and their set of funnels.

I’ve spent some time with these tools in my kitchen and I really enjoy using them. I particularly appreciate them when it comes to scraping out every last drop of jam from the pan. They are super flexible and bend nicely with the shape of the pan.

The funnels have also proven to be invaluable, particularly the small wide mouth funnel. When I’m filling jars with relatively small mouths (like the lug lidded jars I wrote about here), I put the silicone funnel in the jar first and then perch a regular wide mouth funnel in on top of it. That way, I get all the surface area of my standard funnel, but I’m able to fill the narrower jars without spilling.

The generous folks at Core Kitchen have offered to give away one Food in Jars reader the very same set of utensils and funnels that they sent me. The set includes an All Purpose Spatula, a Pointed Spatula, a Spreader, a Dual-Ended Spatula, and a 3-Piece Funnel Set.

Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite material is for kitchen utensils. Wood, silicone, plastic, metal, or something else?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 15, 2014
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Core Kitchen gave me the tools you see pictured above and are also giving the same set of tools to one blog reader, all at no cost to me. However, all opinions expressed remain entirely my own. 

Giveaway: Wüsthof Vegetable Knife

Wüsthof Vegetable Knife

When I was in high school, I was pen obsessed. I kept buying new ones, thinking that somehow each new pen would improve my handwriting, make me a better student and some generally brighten my prospects as a human being. Eventually, I got my thinking straightened out and realized that no tube of plastic and ink had that kind of power. Still, my appreciation for the sense of possibility that is contained in a fresh pen has never diminished.

pear chutney with dried cherries and ginger

In recent years, in part because I have enough leftover from high school and college to last me a lifetime, my pen purchases have slowed nearly to a stop. However, I found a new object that contains that same sense of promise. The kitchen knife. Now knives are more expensive than pens, so new ones don’t drift into my life as frequently as writing utensils once did, but I still love the excitement that comes when I introduce a new one into my kitchen.

Wüsthof Vegetable Knife The latest cutting tool to find space on my magnetic strip is this new vegetable knife from Wüsthof. What I love about this knife is that it is designed to make easy work of vegetables and it does it really well. As someone who spends a great deal of time breaking down produce for preserving, it’s been a godsend to have a knife that helps prevent food from sticking to the sides of the blade.

Wüsthof Vegetable Knife

The holes work in tandem narrow raised strip to help stubborn veg slide right off the blade (think about how annoying chopped potatoes can be, as so often they cling to the knife as you make your slices). So far, I’ve used this knife to break down a pumpkin (worked like a dream), chunk up sweet potatoes (perfection) and make quick work of a mountain of apples (nary a sticking piece among them). I’m counting on it to help me work through half a bushel of pears tomorrow and I’m sure it will do admirably well.

Wüsthof Vegetable Knife

Happily, the kind folks at Wüsthof have offered to give me one of these most excellent vegetables knives to giveaway here. It’s just the thing for all those winter root vegetables that are now coming into season. For more information on this knife and the full line of Wüsthof products, make sure to click over to their Facebook page and like it. That way, you’ll stay up-to-date with all their tools and any future giveaways!

Here are the giveaway details…

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite autumn vegetable. Feel free to share a recipe if you have a favorite way of preparing it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my more far-flung readers).
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.

Disclosure: Wüsthof gave me the knife that I’ve been using for the last few weeks and are provided the one for this giveaway. As always, my opinions are still all my own. It’s a good product and I’m happy to be able to share it with you guys.