Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.
Nifty Herb and Spice Gadgets
by Sandra Bowens
Here's one that's full of our favorite recipes because we wrote the book! It is also full of information, helpful hints and ideas for using herbs and spices in your kitchen.
Gadgets, in general, are small tools you don't know you need until you see them. Browsing that giant wall of gadgets at the home furnishings store or wandering the aisles at the department store will prove to you that some little something is definitely missing from your kitchen.
Browsing for gadgets online is more difficult or at least more time-consuming. I have come up with the following list of nifty products that might enhance your spice cabinet, your cooking or your kitchen.
Stainless Steel Sauce Cups
My favorite gadget find lately is a set of 2-1/2 ounce stainless steel sauce cups. You have seen these holding cocktail sauce at seafood restaurants or salad dressing if you order it on the side. I like them for not only sauces but also for mixing up spice blends or melting butter directly on a burner. I keep a bit of kosher salt in one next to my stove and use another to hold sugar for espresso. I found them for about 50 cents each at the local Target discount store but you can order a set of twelve for less than $6 from amazon.com.
For online information, see one dozen stainless steel cups.
Sold only at Melissas.com, this collection of spice bottles with built in grinders is a unique find. For $24 you get a garlic salt and herb blend, Italian seasonings, rainbow peppercorns and herbed sea salt. Before you gasp at the price, remember peppercorns are pricey and I'll bet you could reuse the nifty bottles.
For more information, go to Melissa's.
Nutmeg loses flavor rapidly after grating so you must use a nutmeg grater to get the most from this versatile spice. The traditional tiny tool will work but watch for ruining your manicure or nicking your knuckles. William Bounds has a grater with a ceramic grinding mechanism and room for storing extra nutmegs under the glass dome on top. It's as lovely to look at as it would be to use. It may seem high at $29 but if it lasts a lifetime, I'd say it's worth the price.
For more information, go to
Fresh Herb Keeper
Rumor has it, these vase-like plastic containers really do help your herbs stay fresher longer. You could just store your bunches herbs in a glass of water covered with plastic wrap but this keeper has a snap-on rubber lid that eliminates spills or possible cross-contamination.
The one pictured above is from
Keep Spices from Clumping
If moisture is a problem in your spice cabinet you know how annoying it is when spices get clumped up in the jar. Dry Spice has the answer! Tiny canisters of silica gel that fit right into your spice jars prevent problems and help keep things fresh.
Find out more about Dry Spice at their website.
Every chef on the Food Network who uses one of these comments on what a wonderful invention the microplane zester is. Quick to take only the rind, no pith, from a citrus fruit, these razor sharp tools (be careful!) work for ginger and spices, too. The flat surface is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. The one pictured above is from Amazon.com for about $8.
Visit Amazon for information about the
Tools for Cooks Book
Christine McFadden's Tools for Cooks is a source for new cooks or those who are just interested in learning more about cookware. She compares different pots and pans, explores more than 400 tools like potato peelers and knives as well as offers techniques for using each item. Fifty recipes are culled from famous chefs around the country.
Visit Amazon for more information about
What's Your Favorite?
Gadgets may not be necessary but they are fun. If you have found one you would like to share with fellow readers of aPinchOf.com, let us know.
By the Way...
Just so you know, we are an affiliate with Amazon.com but we do genuinely like these products that happen to be available from their site.
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