There are a number of kitchen tools available that are designed to simplify your time in the kitchen. Many of them you can probably do without, but others you might want to try stuffing in your utensil drawer. Sue Perry, Deputy Editor of ShopSmart Magazine, gives tips on gadgets you can buy to make preparing your next meal a little easier.
The first "must have" is for corn lovers - the OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper. This computer mouse looking tool conceals stainless-steel blades that zip along cobs, removing kernels and collecting them as you go. When you're done, the top opens for emptying. If you make chowder or creamed corn often, or you can't eat corn directly off the cob, this gizmo might be worth getting.
The Danesco Tea Wand has tiny holes in a sleek stainless-steel infuser, designed to allow you to steep tea leaves in a pot or a single cup. The wand scoops up leaves with its spoonlike end. It also comes apart for cleaning. This tool can also be used to fill with herbs and place in soups or stews to release flavors and keep stems and seeds out of food. If you're a tea lover, it's worth getting. But if you like strong tea you might be disappointed because the slim design limits the amount of tea that can be added.
If you worry about cutting your finger tips when cutting, worry no more with the Cook's Cutting Guard. It has an adjustable ring that slips easily over your middle finger, this 2 inch stainless-steel guard is designed to protect your fingers as you slice and chop. If you use a food processor more than a paring knife you can live without this one. But it can prevent cuts, once you get the hang of using it, if you do a lot of chopping by hand.
The Progressive Seed And Stem Remover is designed to make short work out of removing seeds from peppers, hulling strawberries and removing tomato stems. One end of the device is made to scoop out annoying little seeds and the toothy end removes the stem. It's worth the buy if you have room for it but keep it near the front of your drawer so that you remember to use it.
Bakers will enjoy the Decorating Squeeze Bottle. These funky-looking icing bottles are designed to make it easier to decorate cakes and cupcakes by using air to press icing out in a tidy stream. The stainless-steel tips come in a variety of squiggle styles. You can also use the bottles to drizzle chocolate sauce on desserts or savory sauces over entrees restaurant style. At $5 it's worth the try.
Ginger lovers the OXO Good Grips Ginger Peeler is for you. The spoon-shaped blade is designed to remove the tough peel from ginger without whittling into the flesh, and the tip gets into tiny crevices with ease. You can also try it on thin-skinned fruits like kiwi. If you use a lot of ginger go for it, but if you don't a paring knife will work just fine.
For information on other kitchen gadgets and more consumer tips click here.
Sue Perry & Erika Wortham