If you’ve walked into any number of kitchen stores recently, you probably noticed the incredible amount of gadgets you can buy to do everything from slice avocados to de-vein shrimp. The sheer number of gadgets makes one wonder which are actually worth buying and which will just clutter your kitchen’s drawers. We’re not going to tell anyone they can’t have their single-use kitchen gadgets because let’s face it, some of them can save a lot of time. But in an ideal world, it’s great when people can try to do more with less and purchase items that will actually get used, oftentimes in a number of different ways.
To help you navigate through all the kitchen accessories, we’ve put together a list of five gadgets for your kitchen that are actually worth buying, especially if one of your goals is to reduce waste. These purchases can help you buy less, throw away less and do less cleaning, so keep reading to find out how.
If you don’t already have a traditional blender in your kitchen, consider purchasing an immersion blender, which will not only make cooking a little easier, it will also help with clean up. An immersion blender, like this one from Cuisinart, is handheld, so it can be put directly into a bowl, pot or glass and quickly blend your ingredients. This is especially handy for making recipes like soups, since you won’t have to transfer any potentially hot liquids from a pot to your blender and back. Since you can blend using only one dish, you’ll waste less time and water washing dishes. Plus, cleaning a bulky blender can be time-consuming, and an immersion blender is simpler to clean.
Immersion blenders, like traditional blenders, can tackle many tasks like making dips, smoothies and sauces, so you’re bound to get a lot of use out of one. The only drawback is immersion blenders can struggle with ice cubes.
Prices for immersion blenders vary a bit, but they generally aren’t too expensive. The Smart Stick Hand Blender from Cuisinart costs $34.95.
You may think a food dehydrator is an extravagance, especially if you have an oven, but small appliances like toaster ovens, slow cookers and dehydrators actually waste less energy.
Food dehydrators are useful because when you dry foods, you can store them longer. This can help you cut down on food waste. Fruits, meats and herbs can all be dried in a dehydrator, in addition to other foods. Using a dehydrator instead of your oven is more energy efficient, wastes less time and makes it easier to control the temperature, according to The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy’s food blog.
Larger dehydrators like the one pictured above from Excalibur allow for plenty of other uses, too, such as making yogurt or leavening bread. Or, if you’re feeling especially creative, you could make your own pet treats or use the appliance for arts and crafts. Going hiking or camping? Dried food also packs well for travel.
A top-of-the-line dehydrator isn’t cheap, so shop around for a size and style that works best for you. The Excalibur model pictured above runs about $350, but they also offer smaller models. Other smaller dehydrators, like those available at Target, cost as little as $40.