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My Very Favourite Kitchen Gadgets

Updated on March 17, 2016
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Before she became a fulltime quilt artist/tutor, Jan T Urquhart Baillie worked as an interior decorator for a wallpaper specialist.

Kitchen gadgets save time, money and are fun to use

My kids call me "the gadget queen of the west" because I love kitchen gadgets. I have a specialised tool or gadget for every job in the kitchen.

It started because I have trouble doing some jobs, because I had my left index finger amputated after an accident. My first gadget was a great jar opener.

Now I have gadets for so many things that you can almost suggest a task and I have a gadget to help with it.

Why do I love kitchen gadgets so much?

They save me time and money and frustration

On top of that, they make cooking and food preparation easier, and I enjoy it more.

Without some of my gadgets, I would struggle to do my kitchen tasks, as I have a damaged left hand.

My children love to buy me more, especially unusual ones.

A few of my own gadgets


Here you see

Besides the egg display stand (one of Bobby's love tokens):

  • Onion saver
  • Food saver
  • Strawberry huller
  • Avocado slicer/peeler
  • Egg topper
  • Apple peeler and corer
  • Jar popper
  • Lemon saver
  • Tomato saver

What does an onion saver do?

It keeps your cut onions fresh for weeks.

How do you use it?

The gadget comes apart with a simple twist to become two halves. The top is a lid, while the bottom has a grid built into it. On the edge of each half is a small black arrow, used for matching the two halves to close the gadget.

  1. Place the onion cut side down onto the grid.
  2. Position the lid and bottom together so that the arrows point exactly to each other.
  3. Give a light twist to lock the two sides together.
  4. To open: Lightly twist to separate the lid and the base.

Now you can put your Onion Keeper into the refrigerator until you need some more onion.

Buy an onion saver - from Amazon

Hutzler Onion Saver, Red
Hutzler Onion Saver, Red

I love my onion saver. Mine is red like this one, but you can get other colours.

It keeps a cut onion fresh for weeks in the fridge, and no smell!


Food saver saves more than food

Waste foodstuffs no more

  • Seal with a vacuum seal that keeps bacteria from multiplying.
  • Use and re-use until the food is all gone.

Save other items

  • Stop screws and nails from rusting.
  • Open beauty products, such as creams, will last longer if 'saved'.
  • Paint cans can be sealed from the air.
  • Tubes of glue can last longer.
  • Save your best silverware from tarnish.

I'm sure that once you start thinking about what you could use the FoodSaver for, you will have many more ideas.

A very simple to use gadget, see how it works in this video:

How the food saver works

Get your own food saver

FoodSaver FSFRSH0055 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum-Sealing System
FoodSaver FSFRSH0055 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum-Sealing System

This gadget has saved me heaps because now my hubby will eat foodstuffs that have been vacuum packed once cut, without worrying whether they are fresh. Love this one.


Life saver (hand saver)

Do you have lots of trouble opening new jam jars or pickles? Have to ask someone for help? No more!

Try using a Jar Popper.

My friend Marie noticed the trouble I was having with a jar lid one day and, because she has arthritis, she decided to surprise me with a present. She saved my life. Well not my life, but from frustration.

You position the popper on the edge of the jar's lid so that the 'claw' is under the lid edge and the ring is on the top of the lid. Lift the popper upwards and you will hear a 'pop' — hence the name — and the lid will unscrew effortlessly.

It is such a simple little device, made of plastic, and comes in several colours.

How the jar popper works - I was glad this was invented

Pop open twist top lids - Get yours from Amazon

JarPop - Jar Opener - Crystal Green
JarPop - Jar Opener - Crystal Green

Mine is red, and was a gift. The lids on jams, pickles, spreads, pop and then open with ease. Saves my hands.


Easy peasy strawberry gadget

Once when I was using a paring knife to take off the green tops of a punnet of strawberries, I remarked that there had to be a gadget somewhere that could do it more easily.

Way before the Internet, you had to physically search as you around the big shopping centres and at specialty kitchen shops. My lovely daughters remembered that I had said that and each time they went shopping, they look for a gadget that would work.

Imagine my delight when I opened a tiny package to discover the very gadget.

A stainless steel strawberry huller. It looks like a small tea bag squeezer, or tiny ice tongs, but its edges are so sharp.

Works a treat. Thanks girls!

Strawberry huller - from Amazon

Better Housewares Strawberry Huller
Better Housewares Strawberry Huller

My girls searched high and low for one of these, when I remarked that there had to be a gadget to take off the hulls on strawberries. I use it often.


Tired of peeling avocado? Slicing them?

Want to stop wasting the rest of the fruit?

Here's some great news for you. There's gadgets for those jobs, too!

First, you need to cut the avo in half. Living for some time in Queensland, where avocados are very inexpensive, meant that we ate these fruits often.

The best way is to hold the avocado in the palm of your non working hand, and press the blade of a reasonable sharp knife into the skin along the length of one side.

Pressing with the knife into the fruit, turn the avo around while holding the knife still, until you reach the start of your cut.

Using both hands, twist the two halves in opposite directions, and they will separate.

If you want to keep half, place the one with the seed into an Avo Keeper, seed side down, attach the strap, pull firmly to seal, and place into the fridge. It will stay fresh for days.

Now for the slicing

Again holding the half avocado, skin side down, in your non working hand with the rounded end at your fingertips, position the peeler/slicer at the rounded end and push into the flesh of the fruit.

Draw the slicer towards you and lift out of the skin.

Perfectly sliced avocado for you to relish.

Cutting and slicing avacados - perfect every time

Avo savers are great - Buy yours from amazon

Slice and peel avocados easily

Forsous International Avocado Slicer
Forsous International Avocado Slicer

Easy to use, and perfect results. You will love this one if you like eating avocados.


My best ever can opener

Because I have had part of my left hand removed after an accident, I have trouble with various kitchen tasks, especially opening cans. Soup cans, sardine cans, ham cans, meat pie cans…

My late husband Paul continuously looked for different types that he thought would help, brought them home, only to find he was still asked to open the tricky ones. We tried electric can openers, benchtop can openers, hand held openers of various types, none were right for my hands.

I was invited to a Tupperware™ party some time after Paul was killed, and only went for the company. Guess what I bought?

The best one ever.

Tupperware Can Opener

Tupperware E-Series Can Opener
Tupperware E-Series Can Opener

I have no trouble using it, even with my not so good hands.

I have had many different types of can openers over the past fifty years, and this is the best by far!


Do you like gadgets for your kitchen? - Tell us what you think

Can you have too many gadgets in your kitchen?

See results

Trick your friends

By asking them what they think your most unusual gadgets are.

I always stump people when I show them my prawn peeler, and ask if they know what it is for.

© 2011 Jan T Urquhart Baillie

Are you a kitchen gadget fan? - Tell us about your gadgets

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    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens being chosen to be featured on the Fall Harvest Fest monsterboard. The most useful gadget I use is a jar opener/can opener combo.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @0zymand1a5: It's one of my favourites.

    • profile image

      0zymand1a5 6 years ago

      I've had one of those jar poppers for some time now and I reckon it's the most useful gadget I own. I would recommend it to anyone who is ever injured/frustrated by super-tight jar tops.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @Vikk Simmons: And it really works!

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

      Like the avocado gadget. Very cool.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @Beaddoodler: Anything that makes kitchen tasks easier gets thumbs up from me, especialy the ones that save money! VBG

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @LyricalVenus: Brilliant aren't they?

    • LyricalVenus profile image

      LyricalVenus 6 years ago

      wow, I love the stuff to keep cut veggies fresh longer!

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 6 years ago from Lubbock TX

      I don't have too many kitchen gadgets, but as I've gotten older, I've lost strength in my hands. I've been contemplating a jar opener. The savers are great too.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: The grandchildren are always fascinated as they watch it work. Thanks for dropping in!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      All of these gadgets look great! It would be fun to cook in your kitchen! I'd never seen the apple peeler, corer, slicer before. Amazing!