Every kitchen has its essential accessories, including a fridge, stove, non-stick cookware set, and a junk drawer for random odds and ends. Outside of these staples, there’s a whole world of gadgets and gizmos just waiting to take up residence on your counters and in your cupboards. Most of them are little more than clever ways for brands to get you to buy more. However, a few of these quirky culinary tools are genuinely (and surprisingly) useful. Let’s take a look at five of the most unexpectedly helpful kitchen accessories.
1. Nut butter mixer
This one is best suited for those who love natural nut butters. Tasty and wholesome though they may be, natural nut butters often separate into oil on top and a dry nutty cake at the bottom. Of course, you can mix the oil back in with a knife or spoon, but this can be tricky when the jar is full. And no matter how thoroughly you think you’ve done it, somehow, you always seem to end up with a hard cake of powdery nut butter at the bottom of the container.
If this drives you nuts (pardon the pun) but you don’t want to give up the natural brands you love, a nut butter mixer may be the solution. These tools stir from the bottom up, allowing you to enjoy the same consistency from the top to the bottom of the jar.
2. Spreader knife
Another one for the nut butter fans, but also for anyone who loves cream cheese, dips, and buttery toast. Spreader knives have a wide, paddle-like blade that’s thin and flexible. This allows them to get every last morsel out of a container, and it also helps you get a nice, even, accurate spread. For some, these advantages won’t be worth it, but for those who like precision with their butter-to-toast ratio, these specialized knives are endlessly satisfying.
3. Hyper chiller
If you regularly buy specialty coffee beans and brew your own coffee at home, a hyper chiller can be a game-changer. You can take a steaming hot cup of coffee, pour it into the chiller, swirl it around, and have a perfect iced coffee in about a minute’s time. Clean the chiller between drinks, store it in the freezer, and you’ve got the power to make instant iced cocktails, tea, juice, and of course, coffee.
4. Cute pancake and egg molds
No one needs a cat-shaped egg mold or a heart-shaped pancake mold, but they can certainly bring a whole lot of levity to your meals. Fun shapes can be the difference between a child eating a healthy breakfast and rejecting it, so these simple molds are valuable secret weapons for parents of picky eaters. As for heart-shaped pancake molds – these are ideal for birthdays, special occasions, and making peace offerings after silly arguments.
5. Lazy Susans
Let’s finish with an old classic in the world of quirky kitchen gadgets – the Lazy Susan. Many people claim this rotating service tray was invented by Thomas Jefferson when his daughter got annoyed about having to pass the salt. However, there’s evidence of such devices existing before Jefferson’s time.
Regardless of its origin, the Lazy Susan is a wonderfully handy kitchen gadget that can be used in a variety of ways. Large ones make a wonderful centerpiece at dinner parties, allowing guests to help themselves instead of constantly asking for dishes to be passed. Smaller ones can be great for organizing spices or condiments in a cupboard.
The gadgets above may not be strictly necessary, but they can be surprisingly helpful in the kitchen.