You will want to own these!
Everybody’s jumping on the InstaPot band wagon. And spiralizers are everywhere. But there are some great products for the kitchen that don’t get a lot of publicity and yet can be among the most useful things to own. The following is my short list of the most underrated kitchen items. These are things you didn’t know you needed and why they’re great to have. You can find them at regular retail stores or better yet, hunt for them on consignment.
1. Underrated Kitchen Item: The Ramekin
OK, so we made Creme Brulee. We, honest to God, made my absolute favorite dessert in the entire world… Creme Brulee. And, although it was a lot of steps, it was one of the best things that I have ever cooked. I was so proud of myself. And what made it extra easy is that I already owned the round, white ramekins that we cooked it in. Ramekins are a great thing to have in your kitchen and not just for the Creme Brulee. Ramekins are ceramic cookware that are fired in such a way that they can go from the freezer to the broiler. This makes them super versatile in cooking, but because of their relatively small size and uniformity, it also makes them a great serving dish. You can use them for nuts on your Charcuterie board or for individual servings of sauces and side dishes. The options are almost endless. You can buy these at most kitchen supply stores, but check your local consignment or thrift shop, as well. There, they will be underrated AND a bargain.
2. The Dutch Oven: Underrated Kitchen Item Extraordinaire
Another unsung hero of the kitchen, in my opinion, is the Dutch oven. I own the Le Creuset version above. I use it constantly. It comes in handy for slow-roasting in the oven because it maintains heat and moisture in a way that other pans just don’t. I also use it for cooking evenly on the cooktop for soups and casseroles. And the best part is that you can transfer it from oven to cooktop without fear of cracking or warping. If you find one of these on consignment or at thrift, grab it and run. The original retail is upwards of $350.
3. Have To Own: The Pampered Chef Scraper
This underrated kitchen item is a godsend when it comes to cleaning up. This little scraper comes “free” when you purchase a Pampered Chef stone, but you can also buy a set of 3 for about $6 from their website with this link: Pampered Chef. These little plastic babies get the worst gunk off the bottom of your pans. And they seemingly last forever (unless, of course, one of your kids inadvertently throws them out, when attempting their once-monthly kitchen clean up help). Hard to find on consignment, but occasionally…
4. Underrated But Essential: The Instant-Read Thermometer
I love the instant-read thermometer. And Bruce will not grill meat without it. Having an instant-read thermometer is a great way to make sure your meat is safe to eat, whether cooking on the grill or in the oven. It also comes in handy in baking with eggs and making candy. The instant-read thermometer is so much faster and more accurate than the traditional thermometer. It’s definitely worth the $15 average cost retail. A steal if you find it at a consignment shop.
5. Stainless, Kitchen Shears – Can’t Do Without Them
One, surefire, underrated kitchen item is kitchen shears. There are so many times when scissors are the far-superior tool to a knife. Shears are great for chopping herbs like scallions, chives and parsley, trimming meats before grilling and cutting difficult items like dried fruit and bacon. Probably best to buy them new, but you can use a knife sharpener on the blades, if you’re lucky enough to score a pair used.