Choosing one new gadget for your kitchen – the pros and cons
If you go online and search Amazon or AliBaba for kitchen gadgets or appliances you will find literally hundreds of different items to choose from. Assuming you enjoy cooking and you are looking to invest in just one new item to make life easier then how do you choose?
First you need to look at your budget, this will decide at what range of products you are looking at. If you have been given a $50 gift card then it automatically rules out buying a professional or commercial blender as these cost from around $100 to over $1000!
Once you have decided on your budget ask yourself what your goals are. Are you looking to save time so you can work on a fitness regime that up to now has eluded you? Are you looking to lose weight or is it just to generally eat healthier as you normally rely on expensive takeaway and microwave ready meals?
You could consider some of the following cooking gadgets and products and depending on your personal requirements weigh up the pros and cons of each.
Recipe and cook books
One of the cheapest ways to change your eating habits may simply be to invest in a couple of good cook books. Choose a recipe book that offers simple, easy to make dishes if you are short on time or one with more complicated recipes if you are a competent cook and just looking for new ideas.
Pros – full of new ideas and (hopefully) easy to follow instructions.
Cons – bulky and recipes are readily available on the internet from places like Corrie Cooks.
Helps make cooking healthy food easy and fuss free. There are many versions and they generally sit on top of a saucepan containing boiling water. The steam cooks and softens the vegetables or fish in the steamer and retains more minerals and vitamins than normal boiling.
Pros – inexpensive, environmentally friendly material, healthy cooking.
Cons – can retain smells, must be hand cleaned.
Can be used for several purposes such as making pancake batter and cake mix but if you are looking for more healthy options then it is great for making blended soups, smoothies and healthy shakes. You can make your own fresh fruit smoothies and save money and control exactly what goes into the drink. You can look online and find many healthy recipes for blenders.
Pros – makes healthy shakes and soups quickly and more than one purpose.
Cons – can be expensive, blades can dull over time, bulky and takes up space.
Egg poaching pan
A simple item to make poach eggs simply with no fuss. A practical item that could help you if you find making breakfast or simple meals too much effort. The pan looks a little like a deep frying pan with four cups to cook the eggs. You simply fil the pan with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling crack the required number eggs into the cups and put the lid on. 3 minutes later you have poached eggs with runny yolks.
Pros – very inexpensive, cooks eggs in a healthy way, simple meal or breakfast in minutes, long lasting pan.
Cons – only has one purpose and may not be used enough to warrant buying.
This would be a larger investment than some other gadgets but might be worth it depending on your needs. An Instant Pot works by creating pressure and trapping steam to cook food much faster than other methods can. It cooks with steam so therefore food has no added fat or oils and the moisture leaves meat tender and juicy including cheaper, tougher cuts of meat.
It has various features that can improve your lifestyle such as slow cooking or setting the cooking time in advance. You can have a meal cooking while you visit the gym so it is ready for you when you get home. It cooks meat from frozen and can make a range of food from simple eggs to pulled pork and healthy meals. You can even cook a whole roast chicken in one. It does take up some space however and may be awkward to clean.
Pros – cooks a range of food even from frozen, saves time, saves energy and therefore money on utility bills, retains more nutrients than boiling and steaming.
Cons – bulky, can be expensive, cannot crisp meat or skin, may need to buy large size if feeding a family.
A simple gadget that might encourage you to make your own salads instead of buying readily prepared ones. put washed and chopped salad into the spinner and, you guessed it, spin. Removes excess water leaving salad crips and ready.
Pros – very inexpensive, makes fresh salad cheaper than bagged salad.
Cons – only saves money if you eat all the salad you buy otherwise bagged salad may be a better option, not environmentally friendly as usually made of plastic.
Convection oven and air fryers
Both of these are similar in that they cook with air. Both contain a fan that circulates the hot air inside to cook the food. Neither uses oil or fat so they produce healthy, lower fat food. Each of these types of cooker sells for similar prices depending on the brand and model.
Pros – cooks lower fat food, can cook some food from frozen, cooks everything from pizza to whole chicken (convection oven).
Cons – very bulky (convection oven), both get very hot on the outside during cooking, some air fryer recipes require a small amount of added oil
There are many more gadgets and products on the market for you to consider. Some have many purposes and can be part of your daily kitchen life and others may be used once and then discarded. All have one thing in common though and that is you need to decide how likely it is you will use them to make the financial outlay viable. Celebrity chef cookbooks look nice in the kitchen but will you really cook something that has 2 hours prep time? Set your budget, ask yourself why you are buying the gadget and what you want to achieve and decide carefully.