20 Kitchen Items You Aren’t Using Properly
Your kitchen is a place of wonder and mystery. It’s the heart of your home. Your pantry, refrigerator, stovetop and oven are all tuned into some sort of frequency that you can’t quite comprehend-except for when they’re being ignored, in which case you’ll find yourself with an overstuffed fridge full of moldy food or no dinner plans at all.
But if it were up to us, every single item inside your kitchen would be used to its fullest potential every day–and we’ve got plenty of ideas on how to do just that!
Here are 10 items from pots and pans to whisks: what they do best; where they should be stored (hint: not under the sink); why we love them; and how to use them!
1) Wooden Spoon: Best for mixing things (this means you, eggs). Not much good for anything else. Wash it with soap or throw it in the dishwasher
2) Funnel: Great for pouring liquids into bottles and vases that are too small to fit a big ol’ bowl of liquid. Can also be used as an ice cube holder if there’s no space left in your glass. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, unless it is very dirty and clogged
3) Cutting Board: Used to chop vegetables, slice meats, etc. It’s called a cutting board because you cut on it-notbecause it is so good that you don’t need to cut on anything else! Clean with soap or in the dishwasher, but never soak. After washing, let stand on a clean towel until dry (or place upside down and/or weighted) to avoid warping
4) Measuring Cups: Used for measuring liquids–like milk; or solids-like rice. For best results, only fill up 3/4 of the way . If your recipe calls for 1 cup of rice, put in three quarters of a cup
Don’t store them in the fridge or freezer because they’ll rust
Keep track of which cup goes where–don’t confuse cups used for liquid measuring with cups that are used for dry measuring, which look similar but have different measurements
And always wash your cup before pouring back into it! This is because the liquid or solid left in your cup can continue to settle while you’re doing other things. If you later measure out another amount of said liquid or solid and pour it into a bowl or whatnot, you could end up with an uneven mix. Lesson learned from watching too many baking shows: follow these directions. You’ll be glad you did!
Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
Avoid putting directly on hot stovetop surfaces as they can get warped from excessive heat and use caution when cleaning-cups tend to get knocked over more easily; keep them from toppling by storing in a vertical position
5) Serving Dishes: For transporting cooked food to the table–don’t use the plates you just ate off of! Also, they’re nice for salad. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
Store upside down on their lids-this prevents warping (and keeps ants out!)
Be careful when putting them away after washing — always make sure that each end is tucked into its resting space so it doesn’t scratch other items or crack and break if something falls on it later. The same goes for glasses; set these upright with both ends stacked neatly onto one another without touching any other things. This way, you won’t have to replace them all when one thing bumps into another
When putting away stacked glassware, don’t put anything on top of it. Like pots and pans, this can cause it to crack or break-and if something falls on your dish when you’re not home, the damage is permanent!
6) Metal Spatula: Best used for turning over pancakes; brownies; burgers (etc.) that are more than 1/2 cooked, as well as scooping up cookies out of the oven–oh yeah! And eggs (only)! Don’t use a metal spoon because it will scratch non-stick surfaces; especially if there’s food stuck inside Do not put it in the dishwasher!
Wash right after use so that food does not dry out on it
Keep the handle clean–never put your dirty spatula in the sink!
7) Whisk: A very useful tool for mixing things (like eggs). Can also be used to beat cream and make sauces. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
A little known fact: you can bake items like muffins and cakes with a whisk instead of a mixer — just add some extra time to your baking process!
Don’t use it as a makeshift strainer because it will scratch non-stick surfaces (especially if there’s food stuck inside)-use one of those cool new strainers from Williams Sonoma instead!
Always keep track of which utensil you used for what. Wash them after each use and set aside their rightful place so that you don’t accidentally mix up which item should be used to stir, whip, flip, etc
8) Spatula: Used for turning over pancakes; brownies; burgers (etc.) that are more than 1/2 cooked Do not put in the dishwasher!
Wash right after use so that food does not dry out on it
Keep the handle clean–never put your dirty spatula in the sink! Until it’s time to wash it-put a plastic baggie around its head (wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak). Then throw away if there is anything at all left on it. Spatulas are best used right away when food is hot and sticky, so you can not risk using it again until after you’ve washed your hands
9) Corkscrew: Used to open wine bottles Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak If you have a very expensive and nice wine opener with an electric corkscrew–please remember to use this for just opening fancy wines that need extra TLC. It takes lots of energy to run an electric opener (possibly more than double what a manual one does), so don’t use it on all of your regular ones…even if they are “cheap” and from the grocery store!
10) Tongs: Used for grabbing things like burgers that are more than 1/2 cooked and flipping them over in the pan. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
If they get sticky, use extra caution when grabbing onto hot objects because they might fall apart! (or keep a pair specifically for doing dishes all the time!) Do not grab food that is burning on hot surfaces–instead, try to use another utensil instead of tongs. This will reduce any risk associated with using your tongs right away after cooking greasy foods like bacon or ground beef
11) Pot Holder: Used when removing hot dishes from the oven or stovetop Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak If possible-try to be more cognizant of what kinds of pots/pans/dishes that can withstand heat better than others–this way, the heat won’t seep through your potholder into your hands!
12) Rubber Spatula: Best used for serving up foods that have been cooked completely and then placed onto a plate (think: cakes, cookies, muffins) Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
If you are simply mixing dry ingredients together for things like brownies or cookies-use a regular spatula instead of one made from rubber! Abrasive sponges can leave marks on non-stick surfaces. Scrubbing a sudsy sponge over these markings can make them worse and cause pitting. Pitting in non-stick cookware means that small bits of metal from the base of the pan can start to come out and possibly be ingested. This is also known as Teflon poisoning!
#1 way to avoid this is to never use an abrasive sponge at all when cooking on non-stick pans. #2 best option? That’s a nylon or soft rubber scrubber (like you would use for dishes)-they will be gentler on your delicate pots and pans which could get scratched by stiffer sponges with hard bristles like the ones used for regular household cleaning! More expensive than other types, but so much better for your precious cookware anyway!
13) Measuring Cylinders: Used for measuring dry goods like flour, sugar (etc.) Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
Do not wash with a sudsy sponge–this can trap particles of soap and then spread them to other dishes
Use a separate set of measuring cups if possible for different types of ingredients (flour; sugar; baking soda). This will help prevent unwanted chemical reactions that could change the taste/texture of your recipe! The best practice is to use separate measuring cups for liquid (1 cup) and dry goods like flour, sugar, etc (2 cup). This way you don’t have to worry about overfilling a 1 cup measure with 2 tablespoons of flour!
14) Spoon Rest: Used when you need to turn something over but don’t want it sitting directly on the counter or table Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak If possible-try to be more cognizant of what kinds of pots/pans/dishes that can withstand heat better than others–this way, the heat won’t seep through your spoon rest into your food!
15) Sieve or Colander: Used for straining food from boiling water (for example, the pasta you just cooked in a pot of water). Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
If you are boiling fruits, veggies, or herbs to use as a garnish with other dishes-this is also when you should strain them! Just make sure to do this right after they come out of the boiling water so they will still be hot enough to “cook” your garnish and flavor it before it cools off.
16) Mixing Bowls: Used to mix together cake batter, cookie dough, meatballs, etc. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
Also used for storing leftovers and food from small-batch recipes that you don’t want to put into a Tupperware container after they’re cooked (for example, an omelette with some salad on the side)
17) Ladle: Used for adding soup broth into a bowl of soup or stew. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
If you are simply pouring something dry (like flour) from a big bag into another container-use a regular measuring cup instead of a ladle! They can hold more than 2 cups which means they could end up overflowing if used like this!
18) Oven Mitts: Used to protect hands when removing hot dishes from the oven (like casseroles or bread dough) Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
19) Wooden Spoon: Used for mixing up cake batter, cookie dough, meatballs, pasta sauce, etc. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak
20) Peeler: Used for peeling fruits and veggies Wash by hand or in the dishwasher; do not soak If you are using it with something that is very ripe, mushy, old/soft–just use it as soon as possible so that there aren’t any bacteria growing on it in your kitchen!
Cooking is an art, and there are so many different ways to do it! That’s why kitchen shopping can be such a daunting task. But don’t worry- we’re here to help you shop smarter with our list of 20 items that you might not know how they work best in the kitchen! If any of these sound confusing or unfamiliar, let us know and we’ll send over more information. We want this article to be helpful for all readers as possible. So please share your thoughts below about which of these was new knowledge for you today?