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What’s Taking up Real Estate in Your Kitchen Cupboard?

Patrice Powers-Barker, OSU Extension, Lucas County
The Truth Contributor

The end of the year is a good time to check, clean and clear out. What’s taking up space on your kitchen counter, cupboard or closet? What types of appliances do you have? The good news is that we have many options and varieties of appliances to best meet our needs. The differences of small kitchen appliances include cost, size and the service they offer to us.  Do you have small kitchen appliances and tools that you don’t use? Use this article as a reminder to use them for planning and making some healthy recipes.

This article is not intended to be a holiday gift wish-list so if you or someone you know has requested a new kitchen appliance, make sure you check the reviews before making a final purchase. If you are looking at a new appliance, keep in mind how it can be used for making healthy food choices. Some of the suggestions for healthy meals include eating food from all five food groups: protein, grains, fruits and vegetables and milk, watching portion size as well as preparing the food in a healthy way like skipping the deep frying. In addition to preparing healthy food, a home cooked meal can limit the need for picking up food at a restaurant, which in turn can also help with the household food budget.

Blender/immersion blender can be used for a lot of different foods and are a great way to add more fruits and vegetables to the diet.  One easy way is to create some tasty smoothies with both fruit and vegetables.  Looking for something warm and cozy? The blender can be used to puree vegetable soups like potato soup, butternut squash soup – any soups that would be thick and creamy. In addition to the traditional blender with a base and motor that sit on the countertop, an immersion blender can be used for those same types of recipes. The immersion blender is handheld and “immersed” right into the pot of soup or tall container for the smoothie. It takes up less space than a larger blender but cannot do all the same jobs – mainly it’s not great for crushing ice.

Slow Cooker - One advantage of cooking food in slow cooker is that it helps keep it tender.  This allows for the use of less expensive cuts of meat that are lower in fat because slow cooking tenderizes the meat. Liquids do not boil away like on the stovetop and slow cooking keeps more of the natural juices and flavors of foods. While the slower cooker is a great option for less expensive cuts of meat, don’t forget, the slow cooker can also be used for soups, side dishes including vegetables and fruits and even overnight for hot breakfast options.

Pressure Cooker – Although stove top pressure cookers have been around for a while, in the past few years’ electric pressure cookers have become more popular. Although different companies make them, Insta Pot is probably the most commonly recognized brand. The pressure cooker uses pressure to heat the food hotter and faster than a pot on the stove. One advantage is that they cook food fast. Many models of electric pressure cookers offer different settings such as sautéing, warming, sometimes yogurt making and pressure cooking. Although they have the word “pressure” in the name, they are just used for cooking. An electric pressure cooker cannot be used safely for canning food that requires pressure canning. You would need to own a pressure canner for that kitchen task.

Air fryer - The main health advantage of air fryers is that they do not require oil to cook the food. Food prepared in the air fryer is crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. The air fryer cooks small batches of food in a way similar to a convection oven. The extremely hot air is circulated around the food using a mechanical fan for the crispy outside.

Many of the previously mentioned foods and recipes can usually be made with basic kitchen tools such as pans and baking sheets and a stovetop or hotplate or an oven (even a small toaster oven as long as the baking sheet fits). Having different kitchen tools can offer different advantages but that doesn’t mean that you need any new equipment. Use what you have – pull out the tools you haven’t used in a while. Try a new recipe or update an old one.

Information compiled from University Nebraska Lincoln and Iowa State University Extension





Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/05/18 22:23:13 -0500.

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