10 kitchen tools you may not know about

The impressive Alton Brown dislikes what he calls "unitaskers" — kitchen tools designed for a single task that could easily be accomplished with a general-purpose tool, like a knife.

Brown's got a point. Many unitaskers are just novelty gadgets (like this banana slicer), but over the years I've added at least a dozen useful unitaskers to my kitchen tools collection. In this issue of the newsletter, I'm sharing my top 10.

Rechargeable Handheld Frother

Most battery-powered frothers are wimpy and will stall if you try mix anything other than low-viscosity liquids. I wanted something to blend nutritional powders and almond butter into drinks, and this USB chargeable frother does the job without stalling. I charge it every couple of months.

Strawberry Huller

Many people make fun of this strawberry huller online, but I use it every time I de-stem strawberries. It's fast — just push the green button, plunge the spring-loaded jaws into the berry, release the button, and twist. Watch this video to see how it works.

Pan Scraper

This polycarbonate scraper has a sharp edge all the way around and has different curve shapes to reach into corners of pans. It scrapes all the stuck, burnt food from pots and pans. Mine has fallen into the garbage disposal a few times but it still works.

AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener

To use this knife sharpener, you hold a knife on the counter blade side up. Then you stroke the blade several times with this tool, which has two tungsten-carbide blades in a V-shape. I use it on all my kitchen knives, even serrated ones. Watch this video.

Garlic Rocker

I prefer this garlic rocker over a traditional garlic press for a few reasons. First, it has no moving parts so it won't ever break. Second, it's easy to use — put a peeled clove on a cutting board and rock the tool over the clove to turn it into little bits. Third, you can rinse the rocker under running water and rub your hands over it and the stainless steel will neutralize the garlic smell on your fingers. If any of the holes get plugged, you can push out the garlic bit with a knife point. Watch this video.

Sharp Ice Cream Scoop

OXO kitchen tools, with their soft rubber grips, were originally designed for people with arthritis but they proved to be so useful that they're now marketed to everyone. The reason I like the OXO Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop is that it has a sharp tip that can dig into even the hardest ice cream. I think OXO discontinued this model, but you can still find it if you hunt around. Here's one place that seems to have it in stock.

Swing-A-Way Jar Opener

For stubborn jars that seem to be rusted shut, this jar opener provides lots of leverage. It looks complicated, but it's easy to use and can be adjusted to open bottle lids and wide mouth jar lids — and everything in-between. Watch this video.

Jar-Pop Jar Opener

The Jar-Pop jar opener is designed to break the vacuum seal on new jars. After using it, you can easily unscrew the lid. (If someone screws the lid on too tightly later on, that's when the Swing-A-Way comes in handy.)

Kuhn Rikon Smooth Edge Can Opener

This isn't like an ordinary can opener that cuts into the top of a can. The Kuhn Rikon Smooth Touch Can Opener cuts around the rim of the can, so the blade never touches the food. The can and lid have a smooth edge, so you can't cut yourself. And the way it cuts the lid makes it impossible for the lid to fall in the can. It takes a bit of getting used to, but now I prefer it over a traditional opener.

Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler

I like Y-shape peelers more than knife-style peelers because they give me more control. The Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler has a sharp blade that makes peeling effortless. It looks flimsy but don't let that fool you — it's the best peeler around.

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