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!

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames December 11, 2012

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
mbt December 11, 2012

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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jsdunbar
jsdunbar December 12, 2012

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.

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ChefJune
ChefJune December 12, 2012

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.

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cookinginvictoria
cookinginvictoria December 12, 2012

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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lloreen
lloreen December 12, 2012

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
boulangere December 12, 2012

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 December 12, 2012

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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lloreen
lloreen December 12, 2012

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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EmilyC
EmilyC December 12, 2012

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
boulangere December 13, 2012

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

Panfusine
Panfusine December 26, 2012

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

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148
Sam1148 December 12, 2012

Use the potato ricer to squeeze water out of spinach. Clean up is easier than a tea towel.

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EmilyC
EmilyC December 25, 2012

Guess what? I went to make spinach gratin for Christmas dinner, dreading the task of squeezing the spinach, when I remembered Sam's tip to use the potato ricer. Brilliant! Now my potato ricer has gone from unnecessary to godsend. Thank you thank you! : )

Benny
Benny January 11, 2014

I actually use my potato ricer all the time.... to rice my potatoes!

Cary
Cary July 21, 2016

I use my ricer to make guacamole when the avocados are just a little bit too firm. Makes a very smooth guac, so sometimes a dice a bit avocado to stir in for texture.

PattiinMS
PattiinMS December 13, 2012

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 December 13, 2012

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

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames December 13, 2012

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)

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon December 13, 2012

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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EmilyC
EmilyC December 13, 2012

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

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aargersi
aargersi December 14, 2012

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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Mlouise
Mlouise December 14, 2012

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!

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Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen December 16, 2012

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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a Whole Foods Market Customer

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.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 December 25, 2012

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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alienor
alienor December 25, 2012

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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bgavin
bgavin December 29, 2012

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.

bgavin
bgavin December 29, 2012

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.

bgavin
bgavin December 29, 2012

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.

Panfusine
Panfusine December 26, 2012

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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Ophelia
Ophelia December 27, 2012

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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Melusine
Melusine December 27, 2012

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.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 December 27, 2012

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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witloof
witloof December 27, 2012

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.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 December 27, 2012

@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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Luciemom
Luciemom December 29, 2012

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 December 29, 2012

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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Panfusine
Panfusine December 29, 2012

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!

Pegeen
Pegeen December 30, 2012

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.

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bigpan
bigpan December 30, 2012

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.

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bigpan
bigpan December 30, 2012

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

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Margie
Margie January 11, 2014

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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plainhomecook
plainhomecook January 11, 2014

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.

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Diana B
Diana B January 11, 2014

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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Luciemom
Luciemom January 11, 2014

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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Mlouise
Mlouise January 11, 2014

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!

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Benny
Benny January 11, 2014

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.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 January 11, 2014

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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Melusine
Melusine January 11, 2014

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.

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BerryBaby
BerryBaby July 16, 2016

A cherry pitter. Bought it, used it once. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

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caninechef
caninechef July 18, 2016

I had never seen this thread before and with all the discussion of salad spinners I have to share this totally off the point story. I sold a puppy to very nice people who, despite owning the same breed before evidently expected a much more phlegmatic disposition. They complained about a behavior I considered unsurprising. Whenever they used the salad spinner (all the time evidently) the dog barked madly. A friend of mine came up with an ingenious solution; buy the dog his own spinner. So now when they spin salad the dog gets to wrestle with and subdue his own devilish device.

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Smaug
Smaug July 19, 2016

I'd have to go with the "garlic rocker"- frustrated by the structural deficiencies of a series of expensive garlic presses (I don't use them much, and they still seldom last more than a year or so) I bought this no moving parts device. It has sort of a grid, with handles to rock it back and forth on the garlic. Unfortunately, the grid is deep enough to swallow a couple of large cloves of garlic, and I seldom use much more- thisthingfound a permanent place at the back of a drawer. I also have a pear corer that doesn't see a lot of use, but does a nice job for the occasional pear pie. Also, it's ancient- my mother got it when working in a cannery somewhere back in the 40's.

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creamtea
creamtea July 20, 2016

On the other hand:
When a small wedge-shaped piece broke off a thick wooden spoon, I was about to toss it. I kept it instead. Turns out it's strangely handy for when I make hot cream of wheat cereal: after tilting it out of the pan, I use the indentation for scraping off the edge of my Le Creuset saucepan. It fits just about right and stops the drip.

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BerryBaby
BerryBaby July 20, 2016

I love hearing stories like this. Just because something breaks, doesn't mean it can't take on a new purpose!

Smaug
Smaug July 20, 2016

True. I had the end, which was cone shaped, break off of a large marble pestle- after a bit of use to smooth it down, it was much more effective than before because I was able to use the heel of my hand to push on it.

creamtea
creamtea July 21, 2016

Smaug, the end broke off of mine too. I kept using it for years (though now I can't find either piece. They mysteriously disappeared at some point).

BerryBaby
BerryBaby July 21, 2016

Just like socks on the laundry! They just disappear.

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