If you go into a department store these days it seems like the cookware and electrical appliance section are filled with all manner of gadgets and kitchen appliances. There are juicers and oil atomisers, rubber caps to put on the end of your cut vegetables and gadgets to mix fresh fruit with drinking water. Are they gimmicks or do they genuinely have real benefits?
Like anything it would depend on your needs and requirements whether any of these gadgets would help in your own daily life. There are some very good items on the market and there are some things that will be used once and hidden away in the back of the larder or under the kitchen sink.
Let us assume though you are looking for ways to eat healthier. You have a fairly busy schedule between work or school, socialising and exercising. What new kitchen appliance or gadget could help you eat healthier and prepare food faster?
Cooking with healthy fats
Eating healthier does not have to mean missing out on your favourite meals. There are ways to add healthy fats and still tasty dinners. This section could fill a few pages as there are so many items on the market to help you cook with cooking oils but here are just some items that you may want to consider.
Clay pot cooking
Sometimes called earthenware or terra-cotta pots this cookware is simple but allows you to cook meat with no added fat. Assuming you have an unglazed pot then the first time you use it it needs to be cleaned and seasoned which just means soaking in clean water for around an hour and drying out. After that any time you want to use it you soak in water for 20 minutes and then put the food you want to cook inside. You can cook joints of meat or vegetables and there is no need to add fat. The pot will steam the food and tenderise the meat. This helps to give you lower fat meals. The downside is they are bulky and take up space and if you like your meat to be seared on the outside then you may be disappointed.
A versatile appliance though very bulky and heavy. A convection oven works by spreading hot air evenly through the cooker with the aid of a fan. You should not put any oil or fat in the cooker and it is a healthy way to prepare food. They can cook pizzas, baked potatoes, cakes and even whole chickens. Critics may point to the lack of crispy skin and that they can dry out food if you aren’t careful.
Instant Pot – pressure cooker
A very popular item in recent years this is a modernised pressure cooker. It works by sealing in all the steam and heat and then increasing the pressure so the food cooks much faster than in a conventional oven. Because they use steam they retain more nutrients than other cooking methods. They have features that allow slow cooking and also enable you to start cooking while you are away from home. You can throw your ingredients in the pot and then set the time to commence the cooking process to suit you. The Instant Pot cooks by steam so it generally makes lower fat food and is ideal for soups and healthy meals. There are many recipes on the internet to help you find meals to suit your needs such as on Youtube or Corrie Cooks for example.
Kitchen top griddler
George Foreman has probably done the most to make these items popular but the griddler or grillhas a place in many people’s homes. If you just can’t resist a tasty burger or grilled brats then this item may help. It cooks the food with no fat added and allows any fat from the food to run off leaving the meat nicely cooked and with the least amount of fat.
Healthy soups and smoothies
If you are looking for blended meals or drinks then you might want to consider a blender. They can make soups quicker and easier to make by blending all your vegetables together. Or just use it to make high fibre vegetable drinks or tasty fresh fruit shakes and smoothies. Some people find it hard to eat their five a day and a blender can make life a little easier especially if you are short on time. If it is mostly soups you are looking to make and your budget can’t stretch to a blender then you could consider a hand blender. Cheaper and easy to store, they are good for making soups on the hob with no extra equipment.
Other kitchen gadgets to consider
There are so many items on the market that you could probably write a book on them but here are some other ones that can save you time and produce healthy food.
Silicon steamer or a microwave steamer. The former goes on top of a saucepan with water in and simply steams your vegetables or fish such as salmon. Steaming retains more nutrients than boiling and is a healthy way to produce food. Alternatively you could invest in a microwave steamer which does exactly the same but in a microwave as you probably guessed.
If you like rice then a rice cooker is a useful gadget. You won’t find many houses or restaurants in South East Asia without a rice cooker for good reason. They make cooking rice easy, put it on and forget about it plus they usually come with a basket to steam your vegetables at the same time. Rice cookers can be used to cook other things too including chicken!
Whether you buy an appliance to help with your healthy lifestyle or just use the cookware you have is your choice but you should always consider how much you will use the gadget and is it an investment or waste of money? Is a salad spinner really going to make you eat better or will it just end up in your garage sale?