The Best Kitchen Tools and Gadgets

Some recommended products based on long term use.

Updated 10th January 2018

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Best Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen Knives

Storage and Sharpening

Non Stick Pans

Vegetable Peelers

Plastic Food Storage Containers

Silicone Oven Gloves and other Silicon products

 

         

I am undertaking long term testing of peelers, scissors, saucepans pans and other important kitchen tools

 

 
 

The Best Kitchen Scissors - Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Scissors are such an essential tool in the kitchen but I am surprised at how many people put up with really hopeless ones, or grubby ones that can harbour dangerous bacteria.

Over the last 20 years I have tested many different makes and my favourite scissors for the kitchen are the type that pull apart in an instant for better cleaning.

I call these separating kitchen scissors.

The German manufacturer Wusthof has made this type of Chefs Scissors for decades and tier design has been copied and improved by the Oxo brand.

Great for fish, meat and opening packaging. They come apart in a click for easy cleaning!

 

Original Wusthof Versus Cheaper OXO Good Grips Scissors

Best Kitchen Scissor Test

Both scissors are so well made and cut everything from fish, small bones, bacon, pizza, and they are especially good at cardboard, which is handy for packaging materials and something that a lot of flimsier scissors don't handle well.

The "killer application" of separating scissors is the quick and easy way they come apart so you can totally clean them.

With so many nasty bugs on raw meat is it essential that kitchen scissors are cleaned well and these scissors are designed to be dishwasher safe.

The Wusthof ones have a crusher between the handles whilst the cheaper OXO Goodgrips ones have a herb stripper.

The Oxo scissors are slightly longer and have larger handles. This makes them more comfortable to use, especially if you have large hands.

The cutting action of both are precise and very impressive.

After 4 years my Wusthof scissors come apart a bit too easily now so overall I prefer the cheaper OXO Good Grips version which has surprisingly lasted better.

 

OXO Good Grips Kitchen & Herb Scissors

Wusthof 5558-1 Come-Apart Kitchen Shears

Fixed blade Kitchen Scissors

Fiskars Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen Devils Control Kitchen Shear & Scissors

 

I am currently testing the latest Fiskars and Kitchen Devils Scissors. Both are made by Fiskars of Finland who have made over 900 million scissors since 1967 and are also one of my favourite manufacturers of garden pruning tools.

So far I am most impressed with the Kitchen Devils - Control Kitchen Shear as it is so comfortable to use and its curved serrated blade cuts through chicken and fish so easily. The safety catch is suitable for left and right handed users. A great feature found on the Kitchen Devils Control SCISSORS is the bottle top opener located just below the handle. I have strong hands but there are some pop bottles that I could only open with the help of my trusty Fiskars Scissors!

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The Best Kitchen Knives

In my kitchen I use a 15 year old  V Sabatier Cook's Knife for larger tasks. It cuts incredibly well and will probably last longer than I will. Please note that not all Sabatier knives may be as good as my old one because Sabatier is not an exclusive brand but a name applied to a range of brands, so the quality will vary between manufacturers. I am told that Sabatier was a family that made knives but split off into various factions who all had the right to use the family name.

The "Chefs knife" is the most versatile and useful of all kitchen knives. You can use it to do most jobs. Specialist knives for bread , fish, etc are great but I think these sets with 15 or so are over the top. I have 7 knives I use frequently, but mostly use my Sabatier Chefs knife and Victorinox Tomato knife.

The secret to fast, easy, cutting and making your kitchen knife last as long as possible is careful sharpening, avoid the dishwasher and store it properly.

 

 Victorinox - Tomato Knife 11cm

At shows and in store demonstrations you will often see a slick operator selling a wonder gadget that will change your life.

Recently at the good Food Show and Countryfile Live I saw so many expensive fancy knives.

If you want a small multi-purpose serrated knife then I recommend the Victorinox - Tomato Knife

Forget the tomato tag, this knife will cut ANY vegetable as thin as you want but I use it on fish and meat also.

The serrated edge is great on bread but the size limits it to rolls and small loaves really.

For around 5 it is a total bargain and my most used kitchen tool.

 

 Victorinox - Tomato Knife 11cm (2 Pack)

 V Sabatier Cook's Knife Size: 20 cm

V Sabatier Paring Knife

 Richardson Sheffield 3-Piece Sabatier Trompette Knife Starter Set, Silver 

 

The latest and Best Chopping Boards Tested and Reviewed

Epicurean Composite Chopping Board

Wooden chopping boards are truly tried and tested and very-eco friendly. However they are hard to clean easily as they are not suitable for dishwashers.

I use the Epicurean, top gourmet boards that are made from natural fibres and are dishwasher safe. They also look extremely cool, especially the black ones.

After 4 years my 2 Epicurean chopping boards have been in the dishwasher many times and apart from a few fine cut marks are in great shape.

Another advantage of the Epicurean chopping board is that it is thin and easy to store.

 

Folding Chopping Boards

I love my Joseph Joseph folding chopping board, it makes it much easier to pour chopped veg into a pan.

So far my one has lasted 3 years of regular use.

 

TopGourmet Kitchen Series Cutting Board Wood Fibre Black 29 cm x 221/2 cm / 111/2 inch x 9 inch

 Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot Plus, Folding Chopping Board, Large - Red

 

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Best Way To Store Kitchen Knives

MAGNETIC UTENSIL HOLDER

The most practical way to store kitchen knives is on a magnetic strip. There is no contact or wear on the blade edge and your knives are easy to identify and access .I much prefer a magnetic knife holder to a wooden block and if you buy a long magnetic holder you can also saw it down and make a smaller one too or cut it to the perfect size for your kitchen.

 

The best kitchen knife sharpeners tested and reviewed

 

Accusharp Knife Sharpener

To sharpen my 15 year old Sabatier kitchen knife I use a tungsten carbide V shaped sharpener.

On the TV you see the chefs wavy around furiously with a big steel rod and hear lots of grating and gnashing sounds. Whilst this makes good TV it is not really necessary and can be dangerous if you slip.

A modern alternative is this specially designed "wipe twice" tungsten carbide knife sharpener that has a V shaped blade to give you the correct angle.

This is the original, top quality, American made Tungsten carbide knife sharpener and not one of the many cheap and nasty Chinese copies that may ruin your knives. Another great knife sharpener that uses the same tungsten blades is the Anysharp Global which sticks itself down on your worktop by suction. It claims to be the worlds best knife sharpener - I would say it's pretty good.

I am now testing the Harcas Knife Sharpener that has the Tungsten Carbide sharpener AND a second slot with

ceramic V sharpener to put a fine edge on the knife. This is a significant improvement and is now my favourite knife sharpener.

  

The small tungsten blade in the USA made Accusharp is reversible and replaceable. So I think its better than the Anysharp.

AnySharp Global World's Best Knife Sharpener (Classic)

 Accusharp Knife Sharpener Blue and White

 Premium Knife Sharpener by Harcas - No.1 Choice For Professional Chefs - 2 Stage Sharpening System.  

 

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Best Non Stick Pans tested

Woll vs Circulon Saucepans  - which is the best non stick saucepan?

My very old but still intact Circulon Infinite  non stick pan

My expensive and heavy Woll pans

TOP TIP FOR LONG LASTING NON STICK PANS

I have been told by experts in the field that the 3 main reasons for wear and degradation of non stick surfaces is

1 overheating - this breaks the bond between metal and teflon

2 washing in dishwashers - heat & corrosive chemical

3 using metal utensils - (so buy the silicone spatula below)

 

After buying dozens of non stick Teflon coated pans from companies like Tefal I got fed up with having to replace them after 3-4 years as the Teflon wore out. I even bought the best Tefal pans from John Lewis with a "lifetime guarantee" but even they got fed up with replacing them and refused so forget the "lifetime guarantee

Maybe they mean the lifetime of a Hamster? 

Next I saw the German made Woll pans at at the Ideal home show and was impressed with their durability. They looked like the ones that are used by James Martin on Saturday kitchen so I took the bait.

At the show a gobby scouser attacked a Woll pan with a knife and bragged how tough it was.  He also said that they are SO slippery that you can fry WITHOUT OIL and nothing will stain them. Suitably impressed I bought 3 for 160 and thought my saucepan woes were over.

Very quickly I found out you cant fry without some oil as the food does stick.

Even using oil within 2 months one developed rusty bobbles and had to be replaced. I found that they did stain and even when I followed the advice of soaking overnight in biological washing powder the stains remained.

At the grand Designs show I found another gobby geezer selling Woll pans, using the same patter. I asked why my pans are stained and wont clean. The salesman asked if I had used Olive Oil in them? As this will cause the fixed on stains. Shame the gobby geezer selling them to me didn't mention this.

Seems like the super hard wearing , top quality pans can't cope with hot olive oil?

My Woll pans are 5 years old now, still work but  and are badly stained . Despite being heavy,  and expensive, I do like them and especially love the easy removable handles that save space and make washing up easier.

 My oldest non stick pan is made by Circulon. It is nothing fancy but has lasted nearly 10 years.

 Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised 20 cm Frying Pan - Black

 Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised 26 cm Chef's Pan with Steel Lid - Black

 

 
 

 

Under testing - Ceramic saucepans

GreenPan on test in the Fredshed kitchen

The latest trend in pots and pans is the ceramic coating that is marketed as being tougher and safer that teflon.

My long term tests do show that the black teflon (PTFE) non stick on even the most expensive pans does deteriorate and I do wonder where those particles end up?

I am testing some ceramic pans and so far they are very good, however other online reviews are mixed which may be due to various qualities of various makes and maybe user error?

Some companies are marketing ceramic pans as being so slippery they don't need oil to cook. I think this is nonsense and will probably lead to damaging the pan. Whilst the ceramic may be very hard it is bonded onto metal and this bond will be a weak point that will not benefit from overheating.

My first ceramic frying pan is 3 years old now and made by Greenpan, it is excellent and still holding up.

GreenPan Cambridge Infinity Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan, Black

 

 Ioven Silicone Spatulas - 10 Inch (Set of 4)

So despite what you may read on the labels and how you see the celebrity chefs cook if you want your non stick pans to last a long time then wash them by hand and don't get them too hot!

I have spent 17 years testing and reviewing gardening and DIY  tools,  so now I will use the same skills to test kitchen tools.

 

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The best vegetable peeler?

I am currently testing a range of kitchen peelers including the OXO good grips peeler, some cheap plastic ones, some Swiss plastic peelers and even a peeler with a ceramic blade.

I am also testing the much hyped Swiss made , stainless steel Titan vegetable peeler with it "ingenious" (not) plastic board thingy.

The Swiss made Titan peeler was too brutal and removed so much peel that I hardly had any vegetable left!

The 3 plastic Swiss made peelers from Kisag came in a set for 12 and are designed to give different results. The green one is a standard peeler and was overall the best I have tried. The  red and orange ones gave a coarse peek and were good for making colesaw and even grating cheese.

If the Kisag green peeler was available on its own I would say it is the best and worth buying. A notable feature of this peeler is that it takes off the thinnest slither of peel so will save you a lot of money in wasted food in the long run. Other peelers in my test removed thick layers and waste a lot of food.

Sold on its own the  OXO good grips peeler as a very good peeler due to its comfortable design, fast performance and quality build. It is available in 2 different forms and has one of the highest Amazon reader review rating of any product I have ever seen. This is a real must have kitchen tool that every home should own.

 

 Kisag Swiss Trio peeler set - The finest peeler set you will ever own

 OXO Good Grips Y Peeler

 

 I tested these 5 peelers as well as the OXO good grips peeler,  and a totally useless designer peeler with a ceramic blade.

Ceramic blade peelers are rubbish because the blade is brittle and can easily be damaged, it is like using the edge of a plate

so imagine how fragile that is if they try and make it as thin as steel!

Peelers with ceramic blades are a gimmick - don't waste your money.

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The best plastic storage boxes since Tupperware

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Lock & Lock Food Storage Containers

I still remember my sister having Tupperware parties in the 70's and the incredible excitement caused by a plastic box. (or was it the free cheesy watsits?) Tupperware was great but they don't party like they used to. Today my excitement is caused  by a new plastic box.

;Having used these boxes for 6 years I can honestly say they are the best I have tried. (and I own dozens of different types)

I am - sadly, a plastic food box Anorak!

The precision made mouldings are easy to secure and undo as they have four good sized clips.

The boxes are sealed airtight by a silicon seal that has lasted well even after constant dishwasher use.

I bought some cheaper "knock offs" from Tesco to test and the blue seals in these fell out after a couple of months and the lids warped, rendering them virtually useless and a total waste of money.

 The picture opposite shows some of my Lock and Lock collection. I have 10 different size containers but there are many more.

After 6 years all of my Lock & Lock boxes are fine apart from the small round ones where one of the flaps has snapped off. I think the round lids are more likely to break as it is harder to position them correctly than the square lids. Not a big problem if you are careful but worth a mention.

 

 Lock & Lock Food Storage Set 6 Piece

 Lock & Lock Stackable Airtight Container Rectangular 350ml

 

Breaking News- Fantastic new product!

Food Containers with Air Removal

These superb quality plastic containers are similar to my beloved Lock n Locks but have a small valve on the top that allows you to suck the air out and create a vacuum.

Food decomposition is largely due to air so if you can take the air out the food lasts so much longer.

I chopped some lettuce and left it for 2 weeks in the frige and 2 weeks in the boot of a car and when I opened the lid the lettuce was fresh and edible and only showed a slight sign of browning on one small edge.

Try some and I am sure you will be impressed - use the links opposite for more information.

 

FLAVIA VACUUM SEAL PLASTIC FOOD CONTAINER

 

 Vacuumsaver Flavia 3 piece food container set - with vacuum pump

vacuumSaver air&liquid tight food containers. Storage boxes. Set of 3 x 600 ml rectangular containers + pump

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Best  Silicone Kitchen Products

Silicone lends itself to a wide range of uses in the kitchen due to its resistance to heat and stains and the fact that it is easy to clean.

A silicone spatula is easy to clean and also protects your pans from scratching and its fine edge leaves no debris when you slide it around the sides. The silicon spoon rest is another good product that is dishwasher safe too.

 

Silicone Oven Gloves Tested and Reviewed

Orca Silicone Oven Mitt

 Mastrad F82301 Orka Plus Silicone Oven Mitt, Smoky Black

I first saw this glove being demonstrated by a man at a Trade show.  At first I thought he was a lunatic with a glove puppet but soon I discovered that it was a new type of oven glove.

It protects more of your arm than most oven gloves and is easier to keep clean but the silicone is a bit thick and makes gripping anything a little tricky. My smaller more flexible silicon oven glove is better, but could do with being a bit longer, I also tried the the red Mater Class oven glove.

This was better bit now Mastrad have redesigned the Orka to make it more flexible and have added a cloth liner. Other silicon products I use are the collapsible funnel and superb collapsible  kettle shown in the links below.

This silicone glove protects your wrists but this one was a bit too stiff to enable a good grip on the pot.

I now use the latest bright green version shown below which is more flexible and has a cloth liner 

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Most Efficient Kettle

 Vektra Electric Vacuum Kettle, 1.5 Litre, 1800 Watt, White

I am currently testing the Vektra insulated kettle as I got so fed up with cheap and nasty kettles from the big brands.

The vektra kettle has a unique energy saving feature.

The body is insulated and surrounds a metal flask and the lid forms a tight seal when closed.

Pouring is slow but whatever water is left in the kettle stays hot for hours so if you need another cuppa it can boil much faster and save energy and money.

I am really liking this kettle as it feels nice to use and is well made.

If it lasts a long time I am sure it will cover repay its high initial cost - lets see!

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 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

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