The leaves are changing, the wind is picking up and your relatives are planning a visit to you soon. If you’re feeling festive and want to prepare a great holiday meal, you’ll need the right tools.
Have you stocked your kitchen with cooking equipment? Or were you planning on winging it and hoping the turkey doesn’t catch fire this time? If you’re going for the former, these five kitchen tools will make preparing your holiday feast a breeze.
First, the basics. Vegetable peelers skin things like potatoes, carrots, squash, mangoes and apples. They can really come in handy during the holidays.
If you’re making mashed potatoes, for example, some people prefer a smooth, even texture that doesn’t include lumps of skin, or they want a uniform white color. You can use a vegetable peeler to easily slice off the skin without cutting too deeply into the potatoes, minimizing food waste. Plus, it’s safer than using a knife since there’s usually a blade guard that prevents injury. This tool allows you to peel a lot of vegetables or fruit in a short amount of time.
Removing the skins is a personal choice. Some people peel vegetables for aesthetics or texture. Most fruit and vegetable skins are actually loaded with vitamins and sometimes fiber, so consider finding a use for them afterward, such as to make chips, vegetable stock or fertilizer.
That pot roast might look well-done, but is it cooked all the way through? Having a meat thermometer lets you check the internal temperature of poultry, beef, pork and other meat you need to cook to a specific temperature.
Rather than cutting up that beautiful turkey to see if the juices run clear, simply stick a thermometer inside, creating a small puncture nobody will notice. As a bonus, you can also use this tool to check the temperature of frying oil, fresh-baked bread or scrambled eggs. It’s a versatile gadget to add to your arsenal of kitchen tools.
This tool is a classic kitchen appliance for a reason. Whether handheld or standing upright on the counter, it lets you blend foods to a perfect consistency at the push of a button.
If you’re hosting a holiday bash and want to really impress your guests, use a mixer to whip up mashed potatoes, cake mix or gravy in record time. It will have a smooth consistency that’s hard to achieve by hand mixing alone.
It’s OK if you haven’t heard of this gadget, which, in all honesty, could be mistaken for a weird-looking coffee pitcher. It’s a specific tool used for one purpose — making stock and gravy.
As the name suggests, you use it to strain the oils from sauces. Doing so allows you to keep a rich flavor without including so much grease.
There are two kinds of fat separators. The first is a pitcher style, which has a spout connecting to the base through which you pour liquids. The second type is called a bottom drainer, where the fluid drains out of a plug at the base of the container. To use either type, pour your gravy or stock into the container. Wait a few minutes for the liquid to separate and then pour out the sauce, leaving the excess fat behind.
You can use the leftover oil for cooking, but whatever you do, don’t discard it in the drain — put it in the trash!
Turkey is a naturally low-fat meat. However, fat lends meat some of its juiciness, flavor and plump texture. If you’re roasting a turkey, a common issue is the bird comes out too dry. That’s where a turkey baster comes in.
This tool is essentially just a giant dropper that sucks up liquid and deposits it elsewhere. To baste a turkey, take it out of the oven and shut the door quickly so it doesn’t lose too much heat. Suck up some juice from the bottom of the pan, drench the turkey with it and put it back in the oven to roast. Don’t do this too frequently or the oven will cool down.
Another trick to roasting a plump, moist turkey is to put foil over the pan while it cooks. Leave the foil for a few minutes after you take the turkey out of the oven to help lock in the juices.
When cooking for your extended family, friends or neighbors, you want to serve something special. Thankfully, these five kitchen tools will make preparing your holiday feast simple and stress-free, so you can make the perfect stuffing, pie or whatever else your heart desires. Just be aware — everyone will want you to host again next year.
About the Author
Kara Reynolds is the founder and editor-in-chief of Momish Magazine, an inclusive parenting magazine filled with parenting hacks, advice and more to keep your beautiful family thriving.