Have you ever been working in the kitchen and had an idea for a product that would help you get your job done so much faster or maybe a safer way to do a task? Sometimes an idea is so simple, yet when you see it you slap your forehead and say ‘Of course!’ sometimes you see these gadgets and say ‘Wow. That’s impressive’. What I have put together here is a list of 17 gadgets that you can use in your kitchen. Most of these items have a strong inclination towards canning, but you will see their value in other every day uses as well. Some you may have heard of or seen before, some you may never even have dreamed of, and some you may ask why anyone would have even thought of it. They range from the simplest little tools that anyone could have come up with to some of the most technologically advanced canning appliances on the market today. I hope you enjoy.
17. Jar lifter
If you are doing any type of water bath canning, You are going to want to have a jar lifter. When you do water bath canning, you have jars submerged in boiling water. Jar lifters like this set are specially designed to reach into the boiling water, get a firm grip around the neck of the jar and lift it safely and securely from the water. Jar lifters also allow you to place new jars into the boiling water gently to avoid broken jars of pickles and jelly in the water bath. The key to a good jar lifter is comfort for the user. If the jar lifter is awkward, you run the risk of breaking your jars by dropping them.
16. Magnetic Lid Wand
A magnetic lid wand is a neat and simple little tool. It is basically a magnet on the end of a waterproof and easily cleanable stick. When you are putting the lids on your jars, getting ready to place them in the water bath, you need to somehow fish your lids out of the hot water you are sanitizing them in. That’s where the magnetic lid wand comes in. You just poke the magnet end into the water and snag a lid. Place it on your jar and you are done. No burned fingers, no fumbling with a clumsy spoon or tongs. It’s as easy as that.
15. Herb Stripper
If you use fresh herbs in your pickles or you are like me and enjoy fresh cilantro in your salsa, a herb stripper is just the tool. I usually take a fork and place it over the stems of my cilantro and pull. This does an okay job of removing most of the leaves from the stems. These herb strippers go a step further. You place the stem through a hole in the handle and pull. All of the leaves fall off into the catch bowl underneath and they are ready to use. There are other models without the bowl, But I chose this one because I really thought it was an ingenious and natural addition.
14. Herb Scissors.
So once you get the leaves off of the stems of your herbs, how do you cut them? On a cutting board with a knife? Wow! You are so old fashioned. Check out these herb scissors. They look like 4 or five pairs of scissors welded together. To use them, all you need to do is place them in your bowl of fresh herbs and start snipping. The scissor blades are spaced so that each cut produces uniform size segments of herbs. Perfect for fresh or dried herbs.
13. Corn Cob Stripper
I love corn on the cob. But in the middle of winter when it is harder to find, I love frozen corn that came from fresh corn. It beats the national canned brands hands down any day. It can be a pain getting the kernels off of the blanched cobs and ready for freezing. I remember hours of cutting in my parent’s kitchen trying to get all the corn off. Why someone didn’t invent a corn stripper 100 years ago, I’ll never know. It is such a simple idea. It is basically just a ring that goes around your corn and is just big enough to allow the cob to pass through. As the ear of corn is pushed through the stripper, all of the sweet tasty kernels fall away ready to be popped into a freezer bag for eating in the middle of December.
12. Dual Size Jar Funnel
Not all canning jars are the same. Some have small mouths, some have large mouths. Now, you could go out and buy two different funnels to take care of this situation, or you could use a funnel with a smaller mouth for both and risk the slop factor. Some of you may be reading this and saying to yourselves ‘they make special funnels for canning?’ Well, here’s the solution: A funnel that fits both size jars. This is great if you have mix-matched jars. You don’t have to keep track of two funnels in the kitchen and you don’t have two funnels cluttering up the counter top. And using one funnel means less dishes to wash, too. That’s always a plus in my book.
11. Lid Opener
These things aren’t just for people with zero arm strength. The other night, I grabbed a jar of pickled Hungarian peppers stuffed with sauerkraut. They are the best with some nice sharp cheddar. I wrapped my meaty hand around the lid and it wouldn’t budge. I grabbed that little silicone disk from the drawer and still, nothing. That ring couldn’t have been tighter if I had welded it. This lid opener would do the trick. It adds leverage and an easy grip to bring stubborn lids to their knees. Check it out on Amazon.
10. Chopper Set
When you get into food preservation, you will find you spend more time cleaning and chopping foods than you do anything else. Any tool that will save you time in the cutting department is a plus. I absolutely love my electric slicer, but there are other options out there as well. This set allows you to make multiple cuts and make them perfect every time. When it comes to pickling and canning. You always want consistent cuts. It just helps the foods prepare better (think the little cubes of carrots in the cans). With this set, you get:
- A Mandolin slicer with 7 interchangeable stainless steel blades for strength and durability
- Straight slicer cuts the perfect cucumber slices for pickles
- Grater blade for cheeses and carrots
- Fine grate blade for garlic, nutmeg, and ginger
- Julienne Slicer for french fries
- Catch base to contain the cuts.
- Safety holder to keep your fingers in tact.
This is a huge value in one product. Check out the pricing now on Amazon.
9. Cherry Pitter.
Whether you are canning cherries, making jelly or jam, a huge cherry pie or eating them fresh, you have to deal with the pits. Cutting these tiny fruits by hand can be time consuming and finger cramping work. There has to be a better way and I think I found it. This hand-operated cherry pitter is awesome. Just load your cherries in the top and pull the lever. The stones fall into the container for easy disposal at a later time and the fruit falls out ready for you to cook it up and preserve it for the winter months ahead.
8. Knives with Scenery
Have you ever looked at the blades of your cutlery and said, “Man, these are some boring knives. I wish there was a picture on the blade or something.” Yeah. Me either. But somewhere, at some point in time, someone DID think just that. And they thought about it enough to take action on it and produce a set of knives that are suitable for framing. Each blade is made from high quality stainless steel and has a non-stick coating. They make a great gift for any man or woman with culinary talents, seasoned or budding. I have to admit. They are quite nice. I wouldn’t mind having a set of my own.
7. Cut Resistant Gloves
Like I said before. Cleaning and cutting are a huge part of preserving food. That means you will be dealing with knives. And if you are dealing with knives, there is always a potential for getting yourself cut. Not with these gloves. They are 4X stronger than leather gloves with none of the bulk. If you have ever grated your knuckles along with your mozzarella on a box grater or nicked your thumb with a potato peeler, you know how painful a cut in the kitchen can be. Working with cut-resistant gloves will save you the pain, time, and cleanup of a nasty cut in the kitchen.
6. Custom Lid Stickers
If you sell your preserved products or like to give them away as gifts, you can add a little personal touch with these stickers. The stickers are sized to go directly onto the lid of your jars and let the world know that you made the contents with pride. The stickers are 2” and come 40 to a pack. Each sticker is printed with the words “handmade with ♥” in a script font.
5. Lid Rack
This gadget takes the concept of the lid wand one step further. It can be used in conjunction with the lid wand, too. This handy rack holds all of your canning lids and allows you to submerge them in boiling water until you are ready to place them on your jars. When you are ready, just pull the entire rack from the water with the extended length handle, select your lid, and submerge the rest. If the lids are too hot. Use the lid wand to grab and place the lid. No scalded fingers.
4. Jar Band Tightener
We talked about a tool for getting bands off of jars, what about a tool for tightening those bands. Sometimes you need a little extra grip strength. This Jar band tightener is perfect if you have a touch of arthritis or if you just want to ensure that your lids are secure on the jars. The comfortable grip will help you get the job done with minimum discomfort.
3. Baggie Holder Opener
Yes, there is such a thing. This “V” shaped tool holds your plastic baggies in an open position so you can ladle in your soups, salsas, corn and other foods that you may be freezing. It’s nice to have an extra hand or in this case, 2 hands free to do what you need to do. It sits on a sturdy base and holds your plastic bag in the perfect position for filling.
2. Sauce Maker
Making sauce is a tiring event. Removing the skins and seeds from tomatoes, and then cooking them down until you have the sauce. It takes forever and is a lot of hard work. Thankfully, the company that defined home canning in the USA, Ball, came out with a product that ends all of that. It is an automatic sauce maker. There is no need to peel or seed your tomatoes. It processes 15 quarts of sauce in just 20 minutes. You can also use it for baby foods, salsas and other purees. Best of all when you are done, you just take it apart and throw it in the dishwasher for cleanup. What a time saver!
And finally, The number one kitchen gadget every home canner needs
1. The Automatic Jam and Jelly maker.
If you locked Ron Popeil and Jerome Smucker in a room for a couple of hours, this machine, also by the Ball company, would be their love child. This stand alone appliance makes jam and jelly automatically. It stirs itself so you don’t have to. It has the timing down. All you have to do is load it with your favorite recipe. Set it and forget it. The automatic jam and jelly maker does the rest. When it is done, you can use the jelly fresh, load it into your jars and can it in your water bath canner or freeze it. Technology is great, isn’t it?
I hope you enjoyed this list. There are a lot of cool gadgets here. If you have seen something out there that you think would be list worthy, or have an idea for a gadget that you have made yourself that makes you canning and preserving life easier, Pleas share it in the comments below. I appreciate you stopping by and checking out the blog.