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Unnecessary Kitchen Tools?

What tools do you have in your kitchen that you never use? What do you have unnecessary duplicates of? What are the most important things to get rid of? Please share!

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

asked almost 2 years ago
49 answers 3286 views
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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

That's a great question. But my answer is very simple. If I don't use it, I don't own it. Goes with the territory with a kitchen as tiny as mine, with as little counter, drawer and cabinet space as I have. I'll give some thought to what I've gotten rid of, but those things have typically been items that were worn out or that were replaced with similar ones of a nicer quality. ;o)

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mbt
added almost 2 years ago

I have a tool that has the sole purpose of slicing an avocado. I run into it every once in awhile in
one drawer or another and think to myself "I thought I'd gotten rid of this."

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added almost 2 years ago

I gave away my lemon reamer. No matter how many times I came across it in the drawer I couldn't remember to use it. I finally decided I must really prefer to use a fork & have a less crowded drawer.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

That's a question for which the answer is likely to be different from every responder. What I consider a throw-away, someone else will no doubt consider essential.

Cimg0737
added almost 2 years ago

I too only try to keep on hand those utensils/tools that get used frequently. My kitchen is small so I am alwayw trying to make the best use of space. The one tool I realize that I no longer use at all is my pastry blender -- I usually just use my fingertips when making pastry. On this topic, last year Bon Appetit magazine published a fun article, in which Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm visited a tiny home kitchen and gave reorganzing advice. I loved the part about when he looked in the utensil drawer: "You have four bottle openers--why? This cake cutter? Get rid of it. One ladle is enough. If you haven't used something for two months, chances are you don't need it. Throw it away." http://www.bonappetit.com...

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added almost 2 years ago

I think apple slicers are silly, but my mom uses hers all the time. Likewise, other people wouldn't use a special tool for shredding green onions, but I adore mine and use it weekly.
Maybe a good question would be, what weird specialized tool do you actually use everyday?
Besides the green onion shredder, my favorite is a ulu and special round cutting board I bought from the carver in a small town in Alaska. That thing never goes dull and chops garlic like nobody's business. Other people might think it is a decorative souvenir, but I use it every night.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

I'm with AntoniaJames: if I don't really need/use it, I don't own it. I recently sent my panini grill to my son. While we used it often when he and his sister were still at home, I hadn't used it since. He and his fiancé will use it long and well. And then I won another on in a recipe contest, and sent it to my daughter. I have a drip coffee pot which sits on a shelf in a basement storeroom and only comes out when I have guests. Day to day, I use a French press or a stovetop espresso maker, and several times have talked myself out of getting the electric one after which I lust because I'm just not willing to give it precious counter space. It's a good thing I'm not a gadget person because I also have little drawer space. My last move was a great experience in purging, and I winnowed my clothes down to only those I truly wear. Now I consider any clothing (or shoe) purchase as carefully as I do anything for the kitchen.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 2 years ago

Start with the garlic press. Next the Nespresso machine you just paid $150 for---come on, you know how to brew coffee, right? After that any cook book that Rachael Ray or Guy Fieri have pretended to author.

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added almost 2 years ago

Pierino, you will pry my fancy French nespresso espresso pod machine from my cold dead hands. Yea, I can brew coffee. I can also make puff pastry by hand. Doesn't mean I chose to do it...The Rachael Ray cookbook I won in the office Christmas exchange, you can have for free. I think it is currently being used to level the mashing machine...

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added almost 2 years ago

My potato ricer. I can't bring myself to get rid of it, but I can't bring myself to actually use it, either. I also have way too many spatulas, and kind of a silly number of specialty pans for baking that collect dust bunnies in our basement.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

I have lots and lots of spatulas, too, EmilyC, and don't think of them in the "gadget" category.

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added almost 2 years ago

I'm with Cynthia on the Spatulae, can never have too many of em!

10_tiki_253
added almost 2 years ago

And I just bought a potato ricer because I loved my Mom's and wanted really silky mashed potatoes

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 2 years ago

I frankly love potato ricers, not just for mashed potatoes but for straciatelle where you are pressing your "noodles" directly into simmering broth.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

There should be definitely be a thread on how you use kitchen tools for other purposes . . . . and one for workarounds, too (e.g., is there some tool you've found you don't need because you figured out how to you use another tool instead). ;o)

P1291120
added almost 2 years ago

Since clearly one person's "unworthy gadget" is another person's "treasure", what we really need are "swaps" where everyone can bring in their gadget and take home any treasures that they see. Hey all you Seattle-area Food52'ers -- what do you think of a post holiday get-together and swap? If prior year's are any indication, I'm sure to gain a few more (unworthy) gadgets as gifts...

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added almost 2 years ago

Haha, I was thinking the same thing since clearly my potato ricer deserves a better home! : )

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aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

I have a very large, very fancy shiny silver mandoline with a billion attachments and a DVD - it is in its own hitman suitcase in the garage - I am afraid of it. I use my reliable plastic OXO one - Jaws - with a kevlar glove always.

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added almost 2 years ago

Love the idea of using the potato ricer for spinach! I recently remodeled the kitchen which meant packing everything up....a good idea even if it only means emptying all the drawers and cupboards at once, I have committed to the five year plan of doing it again...sadly, I find as soon as I decide to get rid of something , I desperately need it. If I cannot remember what it does...out it goes!

20090907-jackson-8
added almost 2 years ago

My charming wooden molinillo (purchased in Mexico for whipping hot chocolate) has never been used, but I just can't part with it.

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added almost 2 years ago

I own a 12 inch Chef knife that I never use (Friend gave it to me as a "gift"). That sucker is unwieldy,but because it was gifted I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I also agree with AntoniaJames answer and also again with cookinginvictoria. Don't use it in two months, its a great indicator you don't need it. If you don't need it, don't own it.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Also use the potato ricer to squeeze water out of shredded salted cabbage for making slaws. If you salt the cabbage first it soaks up more dressing and stays crispy longer. Again the potato ricer is a tool to squeeze water out of the bits after you rinse them.

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added almost 2 years ago

i have found that i can dry cooked spinach by placing it in my salad spinner and giving it a few pulls (about three separate times) and i get dry spinach. an easy and quick way to get another use out of the salad spinner

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added almost 2 years ago

Funny, I was just thinking that I would nominate my salad spinner for most useless gadget. Takes up a ton of space and it does one thing. And one thing only. I wrap my washed lettuce in a towel or a cloth napkin.

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added almost 2 years ago

Funny, I was just thinking that I would nominate my salad spinner for most useless gadget. Takes up a ton of space and it does one thing. And one thing only. I wrap my washed lettuce in a towel or a cloth napkin.

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added almost 2 years ago

Funny, I was just thinking that I would nominate my salad spinner for most useless gadget. Takes up a ton of space and it does one thing. And one thing only. I wrap my washed lettuce in a towel or a cloth napkin.

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added almost 2 years ago

I bought a gadget from Amazon 2 yrs ago, whose sole purpose was to shape tortillas into tacos while frying in oil.. I've yet to even use it once and its a rather large unwieldy pair of tongs with a v shaped perforated plates attached to the end. thanks for posting this, I need to toss it out of the drawer ASAP

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added almost 2 years ago

Krumkake iron, potato ricer, giant whisk, novelty all sorts of things...I think it's just that when people know that you cook they think they know what to give you for gifts, or that you'll find it really hard to refuse granny's heirloom pasta rack or antique grapefruit sectioner. Too bad it's never granny's heirloom sauerkraut crock.

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added almost 2 years ago

I have a whisk with a little cage and ball inside of it -- I've picked it up often and admired it, but have never used it. Can't get rid of my Kuhn-Rikon garlic press, because I paid so much for it. Used to use it, too, before I started keeping roasted garlic in the fridge at all times. The other items that I never use were gifts -- a spoon rest -- I always end up using a salad plate; a cute lemon juicer (think big garlic press) that hurts my hands to use. On the other hand, I do use wooden lemon reamers often, and I'd love Ophelia's granny's antique grapefruit sectioner.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

About five years ago I got a vegetable turner. The thing some Japaneese places use for making radish threads, carrot threads etc. It had been an under counter dweller for quite awhile.

But now, due to budget, we don't go out for sushi, sashimi anymore. But, I will drag that out and get 12 dollars worth (1/2 lb) of tuna. And make a full multi course Shashimi meal. ( Spinach rolls with Goma sauce, Shashimi, vegetable threads,Miso Soup, Rice, and homemade quick pickles). The veggie threads make it special when plating.

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added almost 2 years ago

Oh my goodness so very many things. A collection of cake decorating tips. {What was I thinking? I have the fine motor skills of a developmentally delayed six year old.} A pizza stone. A meat grinder attachment for my stand mixer. {I'm a vegetarian.} A pasta attachment for my stand mixer. {I've made pasta twice, from Alice Water's recipe, using imported semolina flour, extra virgin olive oil, and organic eggs from the greenmarket, and it tasted like... noodles.}

A cast iron chili pot. A potato ricer. A beautiful porcelain lemon reamer. TWO food mills. A huge collection of strainers in various sizes. A rotating cake stand for frosting cakes, which I rarely ever do. A collection of cutters that would turn carrots into exotic fish for garnishes of I ever hauled them out of the drawer. Mini muffin tins. Cookie cutters. A muddler. A fluted pastry wheel. An ice cream maker.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

@witloof
Ohhh, a cast iron chili pot. Is it one of those with a deep lid and little feet on the bottom? That's cowboy cooking there.
If you have a fire place, you can use that for slow cooking stews, chilis, etc. In a wood burning fireplace. You sit it on the coals at night and cover the top with more coals. It's the original slow cooker.

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added almost 2 years ago

I was looking for something in a back closet and noticed a stack of items: fish poacher, stovetop smoker (which I used to use all the time and now haven't used in years) and a clay cooker--the kind you soak before using. The idea of a swap is great! I could trade these for more things I'd never use!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I'm cracking up. Enjoying everyone's posts... nice breather after the holiday.

btw, salad spinners do not do one thing only! The outer bowl is... a big bowl! The inner basket serves as a strainer when you're making potato salad for a riot crowd. The lid? Great toy for a toddler or for keeping the door from slamming shut.

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added almost 2 years ago

Only Toddlers?.. my 7 yr old arm wrestles his li'l sister for taking turns to spin the contraption.. the salad spinner does NOT qualify as a useless tool at all, except in the kitchen!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

See? Even a 7 year old knows a salad spinner is useful! I bet if you filled it with something like wooden blocks - anything to make a really loud racket - it would be even more popular. :-)
I forgot to mention one of my favorite uses... I have two salad spinners, bigger and smaller. When I need to shock vegetables in an ice water bath, I fill the larger outer bowl with water and ice (set aside the larger inner drain basket that goes with it). Drain the veggies in the smaller drain basket then plunk them in the larger bowl with ice cubes and water. Saves a few minutes picking melted ice cubes out of the vegetables. And saves you having to keep more strainers and bowls on hand.

Bigpan
added almost 2 years ago

Why oh why did I ever think I needed 47 wooden spoons ! I now have two. My bread maker is in the garage sitting next to the juicer and ice cream maker.
My best kitchen tool is my hands, and my chef's knife.
My most useful item is my vacuum packer. Buy bulk at Costco, cut into serving sizes, vacuum and freeze.

Bigpan
added almost 2 years ago

Just remembered, the waffle iron is in the garage too ! Almost forgot I had one (two actually).

Mvc
added 11 months ago

I'm coming to this discussion late, but am loving reading the responses! I love my avocado slicer when making a "pretty" salad that keeps the slices uniform, but could live without. My panini press? I use for sandwiches and sausages(parboil first)which is great...Use my lemon reamer all the time...Now - I heard a great way to get rid of the things you don't use in the kitchen...get a box and put ALL (yes ALL) of your kitchen utensils in it and pick a time frame (1 week, etc). When you use the utensil, it gets to come out of the box and into the place where it will live - drawer or counter holder - it was stunning the things you THOUGHT you use all the time that you don't! Then at the end of the time period YOU chose, give away all the things that remain in the box...time for me to do it again!!

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added 11 months ago

If you have weirdly shaped cake pans from when your little ones demanded airplanes or bunnies, you could ask your library if it has space to start a cake pan collection.

Sadie_crop
Diana B

Diana B is a trusted home cook.

added 11 months ago

I have a tool made expressly to peel asparagus...no idea when I bought it or why, but I just can't let it go. Yet.

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added 11 months ago

Here's the funny/ironic thing: I was reading all these answers from a year ago and there was one in particular that described some of the kitchen items I've had sitting around unused for a long time. And guess what? I wrote it. A year ago. No memory of having written it or, apparently, owning any of these items! And so out they go!

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added 11 months ago

The cake plan library is a wonderful idea...probably the school library is the place to start. I have trouble letting go as so many things evoke great memories and as I have more time in retirement, the memories turn into actions. Lovely to have made pate again!

Food52
added 11 months ago

I bought a counter top deep fat fryer several years back. I quickly realized that a deep pot and a candy thermometer was all I needed. It still sits on my shelf.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added 11 months ago

I threw away the mushroom slicer years ago after it broke.
I've always thought those things just magically appear in the drawers as another one has shown up; turns out the SO bought it at a dollar store last month.

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added 11 months ago

The big whisk with the little cage with a ball inside - if you can pry the cage out, it makes a great cat toy, and you're left with something that's actually useful. I use my lemon reamer and salad spinner almost daily. Both make me smile -- my mother always referred to the reamer as a 'persuader', and I think I get as much fun out of pulling the string on the spinner as Panfusine's seven year old -- but it's a good spinner. The cheap one went to Goodwill. Right now, the most useless gadget is an all-in-one salad dressing mixing/storing/serving thing that I received as a gift. Tried it once, swore a couple of times and found a dark corner for it. I'll pull it out when the person who bestowed it on me comes to visit.