If you grow your own fruit and vegetables then your are almost certainly keen to make the best use you can of them in your cooking.
This section is not intended to be a comprehensive list of must have kitchen equipment but covers some of the ‘gadgets’ that we have found useful to us or that we have on our wish list of things to buy.
We grow lots of fruit and as anyone who does the same will tell you we tend to be harvesting large amounts at once and need to have some way of preserving it so we can have a supply throughout the year. Some people use their soft fruit to make lots of jam but we prefer to make our version of a compote which uses less sugar. The end product needs to be frozen but is then great for adding to porridge or yoghurt. We also cook fruit so that it is ready just to thaw out and add to pies of tarts.
Whatever you choose to make with your soft fruit the chances are that you won’t have a apan large enough to deal with all the fruit in one go.
We find our jam pan or maslin pan is indispensable even though we no longer make jam. It’s great for making large quantities of braised red cabbage or piccalilli and other bulk cooking tasks.
If you are making jam a thermometer is essential and a straining bag and stand are required to make jellies.
If you are to avoid getting sticky jam down the sides of the jars you will almost certainly need a jam funnel - it’s not just useful for jam making.
Muslin bags are ideal for squeezing excess moisture from vegetables such as courgettes. If you want to use courgettes in a cake or similar then this is essential.
You may also find yourself having more and more salads and so a salad spinner may be useful for cutting down on your chances of eating wet lettuce!
More salads in the summer months but in the cold winter months you are more likely to turn to a bowl of soup. We find our stick blender indispensable when making soup
You’ll probably also be doing lots of chopping and slicing of your lovely fresh vegetables which can be made easier using a mandolin.
Male sure you buy one with a safety ‘handle’ so that fingers don’t get near to the sharp blades
Our food processor is also a well used piece of equipment . There are many models from which to choose - some have a liquidiser attachment which is also very useful. Ours doesn’t as we have a liquidiser attachment on out food mixer
Another really worthwhile piece of kit is a steamer - we just have one that fits on the hob but you can also buy electric steamers. I suppose the type you choose will depend on space in the kitchen and how often you intend to use it.
I always use a pair of scissors to chop my herbs and must admit to being intrigued by the herd scissors on sale from Harrod Horticultural - I’m not yet convinced that this isn’t just an unnecessary gadget but it definitely sounded interesting. I wonder whether it works - if you have one email me and let me know.