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Seven Totally Underused Cooking Utensils

With hundreds of cooking gadgets available for today's home chefs, how do you know which ones will be of most use? While many pieces of "go-to" equipment are ubiquitous in modern kitchens, others are the unsung heroes of the...

With hundreds of cooking gadgets available for today's home chefs, how do you know which ones will be of most use? While many pieces of "go-to" equipment are ubiquitous in modern kitchens, others are the unsung heroes of the culinary world. Let's count down seven of our favorite underused cooking utensils, along with why they deserve a coveted spot in your kitchen.

Cooking utensils
What little-known tools can't he live without?

 

1. A Wooden Spoon

While there are plenty of flashier options to be found, there no replacement for a good, old-fashioned wooden spoon. It's not for nothing that the wooden spoon has stood the test of time. Compared to metal, wood conducts heat poorly so won't burn your hand if left in a pot on the stove. Want to protect you non-stick pans from scratches? Wooden spoons are the way to go.

2. A Slotted Spoon

When you have to remove a solid food from a liquid -- particularly a hot liquid -- you'll be grateful for this handy piece of equipment. But did you know a slotted spoon can also be used to separate yolks and whites? Just set the spoon over a bowl and crack the egg into it: the yolk will remain intact in the spoon while the white flows through the slots. Voila! A quick, mess-free solution.

3. Kitchen Shears

While the words "kitchen shears" and "love" may not at first glance seem congruent, many professional chefs and home cooks alike are positively passionate about this multifunctional tool. Need to open tough packaging? Julienne peppers? Spatchcock a chicken? Slice up a pizza? Kitchen shears can do all of these things and more. There's a reason -- or a billion -- why Epicurious declared kitchen shears to be "the best kitchen tool you're not using."

4. Tongs

Sure, you can use a spatula to turn meat without piercing the skin or your fingers to swipe a piece of hot toast from the toaster, but why fumble with these imprecise -- and sometimes painful -- methods when tongs are simple and effective? Perfect for tasks ranging from cooking to serving, tongs are a regret-free purchase due to their indispensability.

5. Citrus Zester

Zest can brighten up practically any dish -- from savory to sweet. While lemons are most popular, all citrus fruits add zip when freshly zested. And while it's possible to zest with a knife, a zester offers fast, foolproof zesting which maximizes zest and minimizes pith. An added benefit? A zester can also be used to grate spices.

Cooking utensils
Say "yes" to the zest(er).

 

6. A Stand Mixer

When counter space is at a premium, stand mixers are often the first to go due to their large footprint. But when you consider the many functions this piece of equipment serves, you may want to rethink that position. In addition to slicing and shredding vegetables, mixing dough, and whipping eggs, a stand mixer also makes short work of everything from juicing citrus and milling flour to grinding meat and stuffing sausage. The question isn't so much what can a stand mixer do, but what can't it?

7. A Meat Thermometer

Failure to use a meat thermometer not only impedes your ability to know when a dish is perfectly done, but can also be a recipe for disaster in the case of undercooked meat. Take the guesswork out of the equation and use a meat thermometer to know exactly when your meal has reached its tastiest and safest temperature.

When it comes to outfitting your kitchen with cooking utensils, it can be hard to know where to start -- particularly when you factor in the hundreds of choices. While these seven tools may not be the "sexiest" items in your kitchen, they are sure to always be there when you need them. To find all of these things and more, visit Cilantro The Cooks Shop -- your one-stop shop for all things cookware, bakeware and kitchenware.