The latest technology has provided us with many gizmos and gadgets designed to make cooking and meal prep easier and more enjoyable. While many of these tools are quite fascinating, which lesser known kitchen tools actually help more than the ones you already own?
Here are six cooking tools you did not know you needed:
Hot Air Fryer
An air fryer cooks food using super-heated hot air, not oil. For health reasons and to try to lose weight, more and more people are choosing to cook with air over a deep fryer. Your meals cook faster than traditional methods and end up crispy without being dry. Air fried favorites include French fries, onion rings, and chicken wings, all made with a minimum of oil.
Think of an air fryer as a high-powered convection oven for your countertop. Like a convection oven, an air fryer circulates hot air at high speeds, significantly cutting cooking and baking times. You can use an air fryer in place of your standard oven for:
- Reheating leftovers
- Baking cakes and quick bread
- Frozen foods
- Grilling meats and fish
- Toasting bread and nuts
When using an air fryer, you get the flavor and texture of fried food while using less or no oil. Air fryer units are sold in various quart sizes, from small to XL size. While the small air fryers are excellent for individual servings and quick snacks, consider a larger or jumbo XL air fryer if you plan on using it to cook family dinners.
Spiralizing is a creative way to encourage your family to eat more veggies. A spiralizer is a vegetable slicer that rotates as you cut, curling your vegetables into long, springy spiral shapes.
Many people learn how to make zucchini spirals to replace high carb pasta. A reduced carbohydrate diet is known to help with weight loss as well as other health problems. Spiralized zucchini has a similar “mouth feel” to pasta that makes it easy to forget you are not indulging in the real deal. Serve with the same sauce you would regular spaghetti.
One great benefit of spiralized vegetables is that they cook very quickly. You can even spiralize ahead of time, freezing or refrigerating your veggies for later use as a healthy side dish. You are not limited to spiralizing zucchini. Have fun and experiment with other types of vegetables. Some foods that work well with a spiralizer include:
- Spiralized carrots to liven a salad
- Spiralized potatoes for curly fries
- Butternut squash
- Daikon radishes
Spiralizers are available in many styles, from small handheld models, sturdy tabletop appliances, or as an attachment for several multifunctional kitchen appliances and stand mixers.
Using a mandoline allows you to slice with uniformity and speed, keeping prep time to a minimum. You are rewarded with a professional looking presentation with little fuss.
Look for a mandoline with an adjustable platform that allows you to select the thickness of your cut. Typically a mandoline accessory comes with an assortment of blades allowing you to slice, shred, crinkle, and cube effortlessly. Many home chefs rely on their mandoline to:
- Shave root vegetables for salads
- Slice onions with fewer tears
- Create even slices for frying and dehydrating
- Thinly slice potatoes for making potato chips
- Grate cheese easier than a box grater
- Julienne carrots and potatoes
- Shred potatoes for hash browns
Mandoline slicers are available with or without attached containers. Since you will be working quickly, it’s essential to keep your fingers away from the blade. Hold your fruits and veggies with the palm of your hand or consider purchasing a cut-resistant kitchen glove.
A rotisserie is a cooking appliance equipped with a spit, a solid rod that allows food to rotate as it cooks. Meats slow cooked on a rotating spit cook evenly on all sides, leaving your entree tender and juicy. Rotisseries are ideal for cooking poultry, roasts, and kabobs.
Cooking in a rotisserie is fast, simple and delicious. Take a chicken for example; preparation is easy.
- Wash and dry the bird
- Brush the chicken with oil
- Season the skin and the cavity
- Place the chicken on the rod
- Cook 20-30 minutes per pound
Your chicken will almost certainly have less fat than if you baked or roasted the bird in your oven. That’s because the fat drains off your meats as they cook rather than sitting in a pan of oil. As a result, your rotisserie chicken is moist and flavorful inside while the skin is beautifully browned and crispy.
While a rotisserie is not a staple in every kitchen, a countertop rotisserie oven allows you the convenience of cooking your meats while keeping your traditional oven free for the rest of your meal. Countertop rotisseries are available in a variety of sizes and styles.
Drying food is considered to be the earliest method of food preservations. A food dehydrator uses heat, circulated air, and temperature regulation to remove moisture. Removing moisture keeps bacteria from thriving and spoiling your food.
When you dry your own foods, you are guaranteed freshness and quality. You do not have to rely on processed foods bought at the grocery store that may contain added sugar, preservatives, and trans-fats.
With a food dehydrator, you can stock up on wholesome, nutritious snacks while saving money. Having a dehydrator allows you to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at their peak and dry them for use in delicious, healthy treats later in the year. Some of the many money and time-saving uses for a food dehydrator include:
- Making apple chips, kale chips, and banana chips inexpensively
- Drying beans, peas, and herbs
- Making fruit leather without added sugar
- Drying meats for use in soups and stews
- Homemade beef jerky free of additional preservatives
- Drying arts and crafts
- Proofing bread
Food dehydrators have stackable trays or removable shelves. You will likely find a fan in the base or at the top of your dehydrator to circulate the air that dries your food. Dried fruits and vegetable can be stored for several years.
Multi-Purpose Cooking Products
Many home chefs are selecting multipurpose products to streamline their kitchens, save clean up time, and free valuable storage space. Consider the value of investing in kitchen tools that make it easier to cook healthier, lower fat meals. Save time and money by selecting multifunctional countertop appliances that do the work of several.
If you do not have the space or budget to justify owning a rotisserie, food dehydrator, and air fryer, consider eliminating the need for separate appliances by investing in a multi purpose unit like the Power AirFryer Oven.
Consider the value of adding several products you never knew you needed with one product that does the work of three. The Power AirFryer Oven also doubles as a convenient roasting pan, perfect for family get-togethers and holiday meals.