My Top 7 Most Essential Kitchen Gadgets

Monday Oct 24 | BY |
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Whether you are on the raw food diet, the vegan diet or a healthy, whole food, organic diet, you probably spend some decent time in the kitchen…

Even I spend a little time preparing smoothies and juices, and the rest of my food prep is ridiculously simple! But it’s simple because I’m well equipped…

This list has been cultivating for a while and I’ve even mentioned some of these before, but over time you fall in and out of love with certain machines and tools. This list contains the kitchen gadgets that I’m still in love with and have used almost every day for years.

Top Kitchen Gadget #1 – Vitamix Blender

71VOKEWJCwL._SL1500_The high speed Vitamix blender, I feel, is the most important kitchen tool you can use to help support your health journey.

The reason the Vitamix is the top dog on this list is because you’ll use it almost every day and it is so versatile.

You can make smoothies, juices, sauces, dressings, flours, and many more things with this dream machine. (Yes, I did say “dream machine.”)

I use it to make:

  • Daily smoothies
  • Creamy hummus
  • Salsa is great in the Vitamix if you blend at the lowest speed possible.
  • Soups, raw or cooked
  • Banana ice-cream (The key is to blend at a low speed and use the tamper. Use some almond milk in addition to frozen bananas)
  • As a container to water my plants (it’s true! LOL)

There are other high speed blenders, but we’ve found the Vitamix more capable and easier to use – particularly when you’re jamming two heads of lettuce into your smoothie.

You can get away with using a lesser blender for a while, but you won’t get the same texture the Vitamix produces and you may run the risk of burning it out long before the Vitamix will even have a scratch.

Other blenders claim to have “programmable” modes, but in reality nothing beats the design of the Vitamin with its tamper. The tamper helps you make dishes you wouldn’t be able to make using the more modern design of other blenders. Get the Vitamix with variable speeds.

Here’s the two pieces of advice I can give you about the Vita-Mix:

Top Kitchen Gadget #2 – A Good Knife

messermeisterA good, sharp knife is number two because you’ll use it for everything!

A good knife adds efficiency to your food preparation and it also feels really good in your hand. It also prevents accidents because dull knives tend to “bounce” on what you’re cutting and end up slicing you up…

So you need a good knife!

Many people like the Global knife, which is sharp and lightweight. But I personally find them too light. You need to feel that the knife has some weight, otherwise it’s less comfortable and more dangerous.

The best all-around knife I have found is the Messermeister San Moritz Elite Chef’s Knife, 9-Inch

Most chef knives are 8 inches long. This one is 9 inches and the extra length makes a big difference! I use it for everything and won’t be going back to Global knives anytime soon.

Top Kitchen Gadget #3 – Instant Pot

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I use my Instant Pot all the time!  It’s as essential as my Vita-Mix

It is an electric pressure cooker that also turns into a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, skillet, and more. I use it several times a week to make a big pot of beans. I also use it to make beans and to cook greens (literally in 2 minutes).  I love the “set-and-forget” aspect of it. You don’t have to worry about the pressure cooker overcooking everything. Just press a button, and you’re done! Get it on Amazon.com

Top Kitchen Gadget #4 – A Good Cutting Board

61On3r5IdaL._SL1024_For years, I’ve been using inferior cutting boards, leading to a lot of frustration and unhygienic cutting surfaces. A few months ago, I decided to splurge on a good cutting board.

After investigating a few options, I settled on this awesome cutting board from Italy: the Artelegno.

There are many things that I like about it:

  • The wood quality. It cleans quickly and doesn’t easily absorb odors and colors from vegetable juices.
  • The sturdiness
  • The magnet under the top right corner. You can drop your knife there and it will stay in place
  • The elevated design, making it possible to slide a plate under. Perfect for throwing cut ingredients there.

It’s available on Amazon.

Here’s my video review. Enjoy!

Top Kitchen Gadget #5 – A Kitchen Scale

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The only way to measure something accurately is to weigh it. What is half an avocado? An avocado could weigh a pound or it could weigh as little as 250 g. So, “half an avocado” doesn’t mean much unless you’re actually weighing the fruit. I use the kitchen scale to accurately measure not only recipes, but to know what I’m eating.

This one from Cuisinart does the job.

Top Kitchen Gadget #6 – Zojirushi Rice Cooker

 

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I’ve had a regular rice cooker before.

What’s different about a Japanese rice cooker? First of all, it’s Japanese, so it’s better 🙂

It simply makes the best rice you’ve ever tasted at home. Sometimes you go to a restaurant and you wonder, “how can they make the rice so fluffy?” They do it using either a pretty advanced stovetop method or they use a Japanese rice cooker.

Japanese rice cookers are the best. Every type of rice that I’ve tried to cook with this came out great. It makes the best brown rice ever. It makes the best jasmine rice with the grains that detach completely. The only way I can make decent sushi rice is with this machine.

It also cooks oatmeal perfectly, especially steel-cut oats. It cooks other grains perfectly. It is the best way to cook quinoa without hassle. Simply, everyone who has used this machine raves about how great it is.

You definitely want to get one of the models that includes the brown rice setting.

Also, you should know that it takes more time to cook rice, or any other grain, in this than in a regular rice cooker. That’s because the machine takes more time to soak the grains and then cook it properly, raising the temperature gradually so it cooks perfectly. It takes a little bit of extra time, but it is worth it.

I also love the program feature, as I mentioned. This allows you to set a time for your grains to be cooked in advance. The main way that I use it is to program oatmeal to be cooked in the morning; that way, before you go to bed you place your oatmeal and water in the machine, you set the time and when you get up it’s ready. You can also do the same for rice or any other grains.

If you like good rice, if you like hassle-free cooking of oatmeal and grains (like quinoa), it simply makes the best cooked grains you’ve ever had. I think that it’s one of those products that nobody regrets buying as long as they’re using it. If you already like to cook rice, I believe you will love this product as much as I do. The best place to get it is on Amazon. 

Top Kitchen Gadget #7 – A Good Pot

41pjren2hxlMy choice: Berndes Tradition 4.5-Quart Oven with thermo-grip, available on Amazon.

Everyone needs a good pot, unless you are eating 100% raw!

Yes, you can use the Instant Pot for a lot of things, but cooking certain vegetables is best in a regular pot. For example, Spinach, sweet potatoes, etc. Although I could use my Instant Pot for these things, I generally have the Instant Pot in use for beans. Therefore, I get 2-3 pots going to get enough cooked food for a few days: A pot of beans, a pot of grains in the Zojirushi, and daily vegetables in a “regular” pot. The rest of my food is raw.

Now some people will find this controversial, but to me using a high-quality nn-stick pot is a no-brainer. As long as you purchase your pot from a quality manufacturer (read: German) and you use it correctly, the benefits of being able to cook without oil far outweigh the theoretical risks of the non-stick surface. For a good and detailed overview of this controversy, I recommend this article by Dr. McDougall.

I haven’t found anything better than this pot by Berdnes. It is great and looks and feels brand-new years after I purchased it! Get it on Amazon.

Kitchen Items I Don’t Use

There are a number of small kitchen appliances that I simply don’t use. I have used most of them in the past, and have concluded that they simply are not necessary.

  • A slow cooker: not very useful when eating vegetarian and when owning an Instant Pot.
  • A dehydrator: I briefly used one in my early raw food days, but haven’t for over 10 years.
  • A food processor: I use the Vitamix at low speed instead.
  • Breadmaker: obviously: home-made bread is too good! 

What about you? What are your favorite small kitchen appliances or gadgets? 

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

6 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. AVINASH says:

    Great Post, thank you very much

  2. Deb says:

    I love my OXO spiralizer. The suction cup on the bottom is more secure than others. It’s fast and versatile. I also use my steamer so frequently I don’t leave it on my stovetop.

  3. Curious why you need a rice cooker – the Instant Pot has a rice setting (or you can just do it manually), and the rice comes out perfect. If it’s the fact that the Instant Pot is usually full of beans, that’s one thing … but to imply that a rice cooker is needed seems odd … Instant Pot rocks!

    • Two reasons:
      1) It’s faster. You can start a pot of beans AND a pot of rice at the same time.
      2) The Zojirushi rocks! It simply makes the best rice. Especially brown or sushi rice.

      • Miki says:

        Also that japanese rice cooker contains ptfe non stick coating, which is toxic. Are you aware of this and if so, why would you recommend it?

  4. Juan says:

    Thank you for your post. Have a nice day!

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