12 Alternate Uses for Kitchen Gadgets
Do you really need to buy that kitchen gadget? Odds are, you don't. Instead, stop to reconsider the tools you already have at hand. That ice cream scooper? It can be used to scoop batter into cookies! And those tongs: They can squeeze more juice out of a lemon than you thought possible! Who knew?
Consider this kitchen Good Thing -- it's a quick and clean method for separating yolks and whites. Gently crack an egg over a slotted spoon set atop a bowl. The white will flow through the openings, leaving the yolk intact and your hands mess-free.
Originally meant for shaping the dough for perfectly even pies and pastries, a rolling pin can also be used for crushing nuts, ice, and candy into smaller pieces.
While it sits idly on your countertop in between meals, use it to wash and store fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables like berries, peaches, and grapes are sensitive to moisture; the holes in your colander allow air circulation, extending their shelf life in your kitchen.
Of course, a grater is great for prepping cheese. But it also comes in handy when you reach the end of a bar of soap! Collect the bits and grate it into a powder, then melt and mold into shape. You have a new bar of soap!
A splatter guard keeps grease spots on your stove to a minimum when frying. If you don't have one, a large sieve can stand in. Place it facedown over the food cooking in the pan. For safety, turn both handles toward the back of the stove, resting the sieve's handle on top of the pan's.
Try using an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds from a winter squash. You'll end up with a squash cavity that is smooth, clean, and ready for baking.
Struggling to juice an overly firm lemon or lime? Zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. The heat will soften the fruit, releasing its liquid more easily.
Ice Cube Tray
Enjoy herbs during the winter by preserving your abundance of summer bounty. Simply chop up your hebs, stuff them loosely into your ice cube tray, and pour oil over them. You'll not only add a fresh burst of flavor to your soups, stews, and sauces -- you'll also save money!
Here's another trick for your summer lemonade: Use a pair of sturdy tongs to get more juice out of citrus fruits. Cut the fruit in half, and place a piece between the prongs. Working over a pitcher, squeeze the open end of the tongs with both hands. When finished, pour the juice through a sieve.
Chopping quantities of canned tomatoes for use in soups and sauces can get ugly really quickly. Rather than removing the tomatoes and slicing, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut them while they're still in the tin. Not only does this prevent spatters -- you'll also have one less bowl to wash.
Some recipes require just a little stock, and the leftovers from a whole can won't keep forever in the refrigerator. Instead, freeze unused stock or a homemade batch in 1-cup muffin tins. Pop frozen portions out of tin; store them in resealable plastic bags labeled with the date (frozen stock keeps for about two months).
Setting the table for a summer party? Your collection of cookie cutters can double as distinctive napkin rings. Each person gets a different shape, with his or her napkin rolled up and slipped through the middle.