The Newest Kitchen Gadgets

There are a variety of intriguing kitchen gadgets popular today. Are they worth the investment? Here are a few worth considering.
The Newest Kitchen Gadgets - News

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Manual Spiralizer Photo by Lenelle Bear

Spiralizers

The Spiralizer is sharp blade that is used to create spiral shaped noodles out of vegetables. The price can range from under $20 to over $125. Simple ones can be purchased at your grocery store while expensive ones, such as attachments for a Kitchen Aide can be purchased at major department stores and online sites.

Pros

  • Spiralized vegetables are the low carbohydrate alternative to traditional noodles. They are a healthy, low calorie and flavorful alternative.
  • The act of spiralizing takes less than a minute.
  • Spiralized vegetables don't need to be boiled, therefore a quick meal is possible.
  • They are relatively inexpensive. Simple varieties cost less than $20. Fancier styles cost up to $125. Freestanding varieties and those that attach to standing mixers are available as well.

Cons

  • The inexpensive varieties of hand held spiralizers can be difficult to use when spiralizing a hard vegetable such as a carrot. Consider one that sits on the counter top or attaches to your mixer for ease of use.
  • Some vegetable waste occurs.

Air Fryer

An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air using the convection mechanism. A fan circulates the hot air around the food at a very high speed, cooking and creating a crisp finished product.

Pros

  • No oil needed, resulting in a healthier food.
  • There is a similarity with convection ovens and air fryers in the way they cook the food. The benefit to the air fryer is that it is much smaller, gives off less heat and is much cheaper than convection ovens.
  • Cooking time is reduced by 20% in comparison to traditional frying methods.
  • Most air fryers have a temperature and timer adjustments that allows for precise cooking.

Cons

  • A cooking basket holds the food which sits atop a dripping tray. This tray needs to be shaken periodically during the cooking process, to ensure even cooking throughout. For those models without the agitator, you must shake the basket throughout the cooking process.
  • Another appliance to store.
  • Prices, on similar capacity size, range from $84-$160 at both online sites and discount department stores.

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is a multi-functioning appliance that does the job of a rice cooker, crock pot, pressure cooker, steamer and more. It has function settings that are specifically designed to cook your food to perfection.

The basic model can perform all the following functions: sautéing, baking, warming, steaming and more.

Pros

  • It has several safety features, so it won't resemble the pressure cooker of years gone by.
  • A small of amount of steam builds up within the chamber allowing foods to cook quickly. With less water and a shorter cooking time food retains its beautiful color and nutrients.
  • Most have a stainless-steel insert which can be removed and cleaned in the dish washer.
  • You can cook meats from frozen, eliminating the defrosting process if so desired.

Cons

  • The pot is a pressure cooker and will need to be brought up to the proper pressure prior to the start of cooking time. In addition, the pressure and steam need to be safely released prior to removing the food from the pot which will add an additional 10-15 minutes to the meal preparation time.
  • Instant pots will range in cost from $77-$200 depending on the size you choose.
  • If you are particular about the quality of the finished product, not all foods should be cooked in the instant pot. For example, breads and other baked goods will be dense and heavy.
  • Dairy ingredients will curdle under pressure. It is best to add the milk products after the recipe has been cooked under pressure.
  • It is an electrical appliances and technical problems may/will occur. Venting and sealing issues can also occur if you are not careful.

The pot will come with a manual and for your safety and optimal cooking experiences. It is advised to read the manual thoroughly before use.

Sous Vide

Sous Vide (pronounced Sue-veed), French for "under vacuum" is a cooking method once solely used by professional chefs. Sous vide refers to the process of vacuum sealing food in a bag, then cooking it in a water bath to a very specific temperature. This technique produces a high-quality end result that no other cooking method can achieve.

To sous vide you will need a "precision cooker." Sous Veed cooking is a 3-step process:

  1. Place meat in a vacuum-sealed bag and drop it into a pot of water.
  2. Attach the precision cooker to the pot and set the time and temperature according to the proper level of doneness.
  3. Finish cooking by searing, grilling or broiling the food to add a crispy, golden layer.

Pros

  • This method of cooking provides consistency, quality of taste, reduction of waste (no overdone dried out finished product) and flexibility.
  • While traditional cooking requires constant attention, precision cooking brings the food to an exact temperature and holds it there. You never have to worry about overcooking.

Cons

  • Fairly expensive ranging from $80-$200
  • Once used solely by professional chefs, this method of cooking may be daunting to the average cook.

All these appliances offer you less time in the kitchen and often a healthier alternative to the traditional cooking method. Which one will you consider purchasing?

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