My top 9 tools I can't go without when doing food prep!
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Being a well-weathered food prepper, there are a couple of things I use Every. Single. Week. Without fail. Over the last years, I've invested in plenty of tools and gadgets I thought would make my life easier while doing food prep. Some things stuck around, others didn't make the cut in the end.
To save you the heartache of feeling like you're doing it wrong, or get annoyed with the money spend on something you're never going to use again, (I'm looking at you spiralizer that looks like a big oversized pencil sharpener) here's my list of tools I use every week.
Fail to prepare, and prepare to fail. There's nothing more annoying than buying too much food while you're away half of the week and ending up with food waste, or not buying enough, or the wrong ingredients for a specific dish! Please, take a moment before heading out to the shops to check your dairy, pantry, fridge and plan what you will eat the week ahead. It doesn't have to take long, but will save you hassle in the long run.
Feel free to use the meal planner below!
I only use about 2-3 knives. A small potato peeler, a chef's knife, and bread knife. The potato peeler is to peel veggies, potatoes, apples, onions, garlic, and I often use it to prick into foods to see if it's cooked. The chef's knife must be my favourite, I use it to cut veg, slice meat, scape foods off my chopping board, crush garlic cloves, and use the back to whack pomegranate seeds out. The bread knife is used for big, non solid veggies such as cabbage, and of course to cut loafs of (gluten free) bread, meat loaf, and frittatas.
Note: look after your knife and your knife will look after you. Keep them sharp, clean, and be sure that they are suitable for the dishwasher before you put them in. (mine aren't) Oh and Never, Never put a knife in a sink full of wash-up water!
Either a steel stick, or sharpener with little rolls that you run your knife into. Sharpening your knife with a steel rod is a skill, so if you struggle with this, pick your battles and use a device that makes it easier. Sharper knives lead to less injuries (ever tried to cut a sweet potato with a blunt knife?), help you cut faster, and cook easier.
LARGE CHOPPING BOARD
And with large, I mean: aim for the size of your kitchen counter. Honestly, small A5 sized chopping boards are a waste of space, they don't hold any of your food (if you're food prepping, you go in big batches), slide everywhere and are simply one of my pet peeves.
I love putting on some veggies to steam, while I prepare a soup/stew/fill in the blanks. There is always some steamed veg in our fridge, that can be thrown into a lunch or dinner at a moments notice.
You probably already have a couple of these. If you're about to invest in some, opt for dishes that have lids available, so you can cool your food down, and cover and move it straight into the fridge. Also keep in mind the size of the oven dishes. I have a variety. Big ones for roasted veggies, small and compact ones for frittatas, nut roasts etc. A metal brownie tray is handy for sweet bakes, but not a must. You can always use baking paper to keep your products from sticking.
No one likes dry meat. It's a fact. Using a probe has made life easy, especially when multiple things are on the go, or when I'm cooking a big piece of meat. If you have to consider different sizes, oven settings and fridge temps, it's easiest to just go by the core temperature of your cooked meat. If you do have to invest in a probe, get a digital one with a seperate needle and wire that you can leave outside the oven, and that has the option to alarm you when the meat has reached your chosen temperature.
This one is probably the latest addition to my list of tools, but it's here to stay. Not only because it cuts down cooking time (no preheating needed), you also need very little to no oil. When your airfryer is going during food prep, it means you have space free in your oven for other things!
I've found an airfryer keeps meat juicy, crisps up potatoes and even sweet potatoes like an oven can't, and I've even used it to bake cake! There are different sizes of fryers available, keep your family size in mind when you go and get one.
GLASS STORAGE JARS
Lots of different sizes! Somehow, there are never enough of them! I use glass so the food doesn't have to be transferred to another dish to get reheated, it's smell free, and can function as oven dish as well. I also have 1 glass dish ready for scraps and rubbish on the counter top while prepping food.
There you have it, these items are always around on Sunday food prep day. There are of course numbers of other tools that might make your life easier, but these will be a good start!