Basic Utensils For Stocking Your Kitchen

There are many tools a kitchen can have. But a few are more important than others.

A well-stocked kitchen allows greater efficiency at getting that meal cooked and keeps everything from getting chaotic. Kitchen utensils have constantly evolved. More and more gadgets are slowly invading kitchens and pushing out the old utensils. But some kitchen utensils have a universal appeal. Here is a list of some kitchen utensils that every kitchen should have.

Spatula:

Spatulas come in many sizes, shapes and types. Some spatulas have angles while others are square or rectangular in shape. Some have slots in them to allow for grease and other liquids to seep through while others are solid. The shape and size of the spatula that you buy depends on its use. The typical spatula is the type used for grilling, cooking and stirring food in a pan. These types of spatulas can be wooden, metal or plastic. The wooden spatulas and plastic spatulas are necessary to use with non-stick pans to prevent scratching of the non-stick surfaces of the pans.

There are spatulas used in baking as well. They are typically used to fold in ingredients and to use with frosting and icing.

Some spatulas withstand heat better. Check the labels on the spatulas when you buy it. It usually gives the approximate temperature that it can withstand. Don't forget to replace spatulas after a while especially plastic ones. They tend to break down with use, time and temperature fluctuations.

Ladle:

A good ladle is used mainly for soups and broths. You want a ladle that can withstand heat. Most ladles are like spatulas. They come in many different shapes and sizes. There are metal ladles but a good sturdy plastic one will suffice.

Spoon:

Big spoons help scoop out ingredients and stir foods while you cook them. Some have slots or holes in them. Some are solid. There are metal, wooden and plastic spoons.

In some recipes especially some baking recipes, you might want to use a plastic or wooden spoon. Those spoons are not as reactive as a metal spoon might be. A metal spoon may cause an unwanted reaction in the recipe and food you are working with.

Whisk:

Whisks are used to beat eggs, cream and generally used to stir in things that need air whipped into them. Whisks come in many sizes from very tiny to a big size with a very large or long handle.

Make sure the whisk you get has a handle that fits your hand. Some have handles that are big, some too big for smaller sized hands. Many whisks have a medium-sized handle that would fit most sized hands.

Grater:

There are many different types of graters the most popular being the cheese grater. But even in the cheese grater family, there are many types. The bell shaped or box shaped types are possibly the most familiar and most used. They have different types of grating holes on each of the sides of the grater. These holes are used for not only cheese, but for zesting such as lemon and orange zests.

Some graters are flat and have only one or maybe two sets of holes. These are generally easier to clean than the box shaped graters. There are some graters, called tower graters, that are triangular in shape. There are bowl graters shaped like a cup or bowl and the rotary graters that you sometimes see in fancy restaurants. The rotary graters hold a piece of cheese and has a side handle that you crank around and it pushed the cheese through the holes to grate it.

Choose one that will benefit you in the kitchen. If you do a lot of cheese grating and zesting then get an all-purpose grater like the above. If you only grate cheese or zest occasionally pick one that benefits you in the kitchen.



Cutlery:

A good knife set is a must in the kitchen. Knives are used in about every aspect of cooking. A good knife set will last many years of use and abuse.

There are different sizes and types of knives. A good starting set for your kitchen would be a good chef's knife, paring knife and a bread knife. A boning knife (used for cutting and working around bones, a steak knife and other specialty knives are available. If you think you might have a need for a specialty knife then look into buying a set. It entirely depends on the need in your kitchen for such specialty items.

There are different materials the knife can be made from. The main materials used are carbon steel, stainless steel, and a high carbon stainless steel. The latter material is a combination of the previous two and is most recommended for durability.

Most knives have a straight edge. Some have a serrated edge. The serrated-edged knives are generally used to saw something such as a bread knife.

The handle is important on a knife as well. Look for handles that are completely balanced with the blade. Grasp the knife and make sure it fits your hand and cutting style. Some handles are heavy and not recommended.

Vegetable Peeler and Brush:

A good vegetable peeler can help speed up peeling of vegetables and fruit such as potatoes and apples. Find one with an ergonomic handle, one with a handle that is made for grip. Make sure the peeler is easy to clean.

A vegetable brush helps clean off dirt and blemishes on fruit and vegetables. Find one with sturdy bristles and a good handle for grip.

Manual Can Opener:

A manual can opener can come in handy with larger cans and when there is no electricity. It is generally much easier to clean than an electric can opener.

Rubber Mallet:

A rubber mallet can be used for just about anything. You can use it as a makeshift meat tenderizer or crush pecans and other nuts for recipes.

Find one that is not too big and has a nice long handle for grip on it.

Cutting Board:

Cutting boards generally come in plastic or wooden. The type and size of cutting board depends on the kitchen it is being used in. There are some boards that come in marble and even though they are more expensive they last a longer time.

Buy a board that will last through heavy use. The size can depend on how big the space is that you will be placing it in. The main shapes available are square, rectangular and round.

There is a cutting board oil that can be added to most boards. This oil protects the board from deterioration and bacteria buildup.

Make sure to clean the board often with soap and water and use a spatula to scrape the board once a week. This can help remove the hard to see build up that may be on the board.

Wooden cutting boards are better to use than plastic because they resist bacteria better. When using a plastic cutting board you will have to replace it more often than a wooden cutting board.

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