Little-known kitchen tools Canadian food bloggers can't live without

The gadgets don’t get nearly enough love considering all the surprising tasks they can tackle.

The gadgets don’t get nearly enough love considering all the surprising tasks they can tackle.

(William's Sonoma)

Whether you cook a little or a lot, you at some point have felt the frustration of working with a dull knife, a non-stick pan that really isn't, or trying to extract pasta noodles from boiling water with something other than tongs or, you know, a pasta spoon. It really slows a cook down and affects the outcome of your dinner too! Conversely, the right tool can be as important as the right ingredient when it comes to cooking. Who better than avid, dynamic cooks to tell us what stock our kitchens with to ensure success?

We asked some of Canada's top food bloggers what little-known kitchen gadgets they can't live without. Although we don't think you need all the gadgets out there, like this bacon toaster for instance, we do think you'll consider adding some of these workhorses on our list to your wish list ASAP.

Fish spatula


Tara O'brady has been sharing her meals with us via her blog Seven Spoons for almost 12 years now. She's published a cookbook and written for numerous other food publications. You can track her life on her blog as she grows up and starts a family, and because of this, we reached out to see what tool has stuck by her in the kitchen through thick and thin.

"Before I learned to roll my omelettes," says O'Brady, "I learned to fold them with a fish spatula." It's thin and flexible and works as an extension of the hand.

Even more things it can do: Anything that a sturdier version of itself fails to do well. Think: move delicate pastries, flip tender vegetables and lift cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack while they are still soft all over.

The hand-held milk frother


Angela Liddon's blog Oh She Glows, reflects Liddon's healthy, plant-based food philosophy. But don't assume she's all earthy and laid back or anything. Liddon's a driven, hard-working writer with a cookbook and an app! For someone who puts so much thought into mealtime, we suspected she may have a nifty tool to share, and she doesn.

"It's a small, easy-to-store device that whirls my hot almond milk into creamy foam perfect for homemade lattes," says Liddon.

Even more things it can do: Make frothy hot chocolate and whisk flax egg, an egg substitute, in vegan recipes like her chocolate chip cookies.

A microplane

(Kitchen Stuff Plus)

Julie Van Rosendaal, blogger at Dinner with Julie, is a food authority. She's a writer and editor, with her eighth cookbook coming out this year.

"Other people bring their knives to events, I bring my microplane," says Rosendaal. "It works with so many things, I don't think people realize!" It grates Parmesan and other hard cheeses, zests citrus, breaks down sinewy ginger, fresh turmeric and hard nutmeg.

Even more things it can do: The microplane can do so much but among the best things it can do is shred garlic cloves fine enough for vinaigrettes, replacing the garlic press and de-cluttering the cupboards of uni-task tools.

A cherry pitter

(William's Sonoma)

Ksenia Prints' cooking is influenced by her Russian-Israeli upbringing, and she shares her recipes on her blog At the Immigrant's Table. As someone who's been exposed to a variety of cultures, we suspected she may have an interesting tool to share.

Prints ordered her first one from Amazon after trying various make-shift tools like bobby pins, toothpicks and straws to remove pits from 10 lbs of cherries. "I avoided buying one because I figured it would just lie in my tool drawer gathering dust," says Prints. "But it's proved itself to be quite the veritable kitchen juggernaut!"

Even more things it can do: It remove pits from olives and dates, and since the pit helps keep their flesh firmer and fresher during storage, by removing it yourself, you'll enjoy a better product. Try it out with this recipe.

A really good knife

(Hudson's Bay)

We reached out to Samantha Gutmanis at My Kitchen Love mainly because of her recipe for these Savoury Mexican Waffles. Since we're all for amazing things you can do with your waffles and for waffle makers in general, we suspected Samantha might have a handy tool tip to share if she's into cool gadgets like waffle makers too.

"I stumbled into one by registering for a nice sharp knife for my wedding registry (well before I got into food)," says Gutmanis. "We randomly got gifted one and I haven't looked back."

She says it makes slicing fresh fruit and vegetables for her family much more enjoyable, (seriously!). And since we're all trying to eat healthier too, a well-cared-for knife is something we all could probably benefit from.

Her bonus tip: Invest in an inexpensive ceramic knife with a sheath and save it for travelling to avoid wrestling with those dull hotel-kitchen knives.

Swiss Star Vegetable Peeler

(Bed Bath & Beyond)

Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison's blog Well Preserved is largely centered around (although not limited to) preserving the best of the seasons' bounty. This means that much of their kitchen work revolves around mundane tasks we all love to hate. We asked them what tool makes their days easier.

"It is one of the cheapest peelers in the world (they usually retail for around $5-6) and it is super sharp," says MacCharles. He picked his first one up at a local market years ago without thinking much of it. Since then, they've invested in a handful more which they keep around the kitchen always at the ready.

Even more things it can do: There's a potato eye remover on the side too which is also great for prying and popping out seeds. Use it to thinly slice hard cheeses and zest citrus.

Now that you have the insider scoop on the best tools for the job, here are some other fun and efficient products for your kitchen!