The Grind has covered the topic of kitchen gadgets several times before, ranging from the ‘useless’ to the ‘essential’. But as every year passes, new kitchen gadgets appear, with some disappearing almost instantly, some becoming the kitchen equivalent of a one-hit-wonder and others becoming permanent fixtures in kitchens around the world (next to the ubiquitous toaster).
Since we haven’t covered the topic here in a while, we thought we’d have a look at what’s popped up since the last review of what was on offer. And that article in July last year which purported to be about kitchen appliances in general, really only covered the ‘appliance du jour’ – the air fryer. So there’s no need to talk about it again here.
So, in no particular order, here are a few of the more recent kitchen gadgets/appliances to catch our eye.
1) Emmabin silicone stretch lids
Have you ever spent what seems like hours trying to find the right lid for a plastic container, and then giving up? Then these silicone stretch lids are made for you. They do come in different sizes, but since they’re stretchy they will cover a fairly wide range of containers. They will also fix that little known (and incredibly annoying) problem with ‘standard’ takeaway containers that look the same but are just very slightly different sizes.
2) Foldable silicone dish draining mat
Quite a few of the gadgets here might be classified as ‘space saving’, and this is one of them, as instead of having to find somewhere to put a rigid draining basket, this one just folds up when you’re finished with it. The only problem we can see is that the water has to drain somewhere, so if you put this on any old flat surface, you’ll have to put a tea towel or something else underneath to absorb the water. Looks trendy though! See it here.
3) Two tiered fruit basket
This is interesting. It seems like only yesterday we were talking about how to stop fresh fruit going off and here is an answer – a two tiered fruit basket, which stops what we described here (in the section ‘What about fruit?’). It’s also a space saver – two fruit baskets in the space of one!
4) Collapsible salad spinner
Space saving again. A regular salad spinner takes up (relatively) a lot of space and this one simply squishes down to a fraction of the size. We’re guessing it’s a little bit ‘squishy’ too, so you can squeeze it into tight spaces.
5) Herb savor pod
Excuse the American spelling, which gives it away a little (and make sure you don’t pronounce the ‘h’). These nifty little containers – designed for your fridge – stop that rather expensive bunch of herbs you bought for that one dish from rotting before you get around to making another dish that needs them. They stop the herbs from being squished (our favourite word today) in the vegetable crisper and really double up as a mini vase, with a refillable water base to keep your herbs in tip-top condition.
6) Under cabinet jar opener
It doesn’t matter how hard you work out – there’s a jar out there that will defeat you one day. And you’ll be called on to demonstrate your strength (or lack of it) in front of everyone else around the table. This little device is for you. Put on your magician’s hat (preferably after everyone else has tried to open it), turn around to your perfectly positioned under cabinet jar opener and hey presto (or maybe ‘open sesame’) the jar is open. It may not be quite the trick everyone thinks it is as we all know that the five people before you managed to slightly loosen the lid anyway – you just had to give it the last twist.
7) Ice stick tray
Ever tried to force ice cubes into a water bottle that were just slightly too large for the neck? No? OK this one won’t be of interest to you then. For everyone else, ice sticks are the answer. The difficult bit then becomes getting them out of the tray (in our experience), so maybe another device is needed.
8) 3 in 1 egg separator
For chefs that either can’t do this or can but can’t be bothered. Probably a time saver if you’ve got more than one egg to do. See it here.
9) Kmart toaster/egg cooker
Not sure about this one. Screams ‘lazy’ to us, but who are we to be the judge. This is likely to be a big ‘gift’ item for parents to give to their kids. Or let’s face it anyone who wants a quick and easy breakfast (as long as they’re not vegan).
10) Indoor hydroponic garden
Hydroponics might have a bit of a bad name – but it’s a great way to grow vegetables and herbs. This hydroponic unit from Vegebox has four trays which can accommodate up to 28 plants. As the name implies, it has its own LED lights and water supply for the trays, which can be spread out or stacked one above the other. No need to go out to the garden to get your super fresh garnishes and salads.
11) Breville The FoodCycler
If you live in an apartment and/or don’t have access to a garden, recycling your food waste (which is the right thing to do) can be a bit tricky. Here’s another option – chuck it in the FoodCycler. This is an electric composter which chomps through your food waste and literally spits chips – ‘eco chips’ – which can then be used as mulch (for your non-existent garden!). It does take a while to make the mulch – 4-6 hours to be precise, but that’s a heck of a lot quicker than getting usable compost out of a regular compost bin. It’s clearly designed for light eaters or maybe people who eat all of their food, since it can only take a maximum of two litres of food waste at a time.
Keeping food edible for longer is also a bit of a theme here, and this is exactly what the Savel does. What do you do with the leftover half of an onion/avocado/apple etc? Some people (don’t know who ermm) just chuck these into the fridge, where they dry up, turn brown or end up smelling like onion (unless it is an onion). If you are the proud owner of a Savel or two, you simply pop the remaining piece into the Savel, which folds in the middle to cope with segments and then pull the elastic over the piece of fruit/veg to make a tight seal. The transparent base means you can check if the item is still fresh. Invented by local Brisbane-based kitchen gadget inventors/designers DreamFarm, who have an amazing range of gadgets for all sorts of kitchen ‘problems’ (although we did diss their pizza scissors once).
These are our choices, but you can see a much longer list of all sorts of things new and old for the kitchen in the info section below.
What do you think? Do you have any of these items in your kitchen?