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Top 5 Kitchen Utensils

Here are my top 5 kitchen essentials, the ones I have come to really appreciate since living on a Portuguese smallholding.

1. Portuguese Knives: I have never found better knives than the Portuguese ones. Similar to Opinel but at a fraction of the cost, they come in a variety of sizes and you can buy them almost anywhere – from your local market to the big supermarkets. I’ve never known anyone who’s used them to not be impressed. Not only essential for the kitchen, but for the garden too.

2. Potato Peeler: This is only second to knives because if I was without this I could get by with a decent knife (though I wouldn’t be happy!). Peeling potatoes, carrots, apples, beetroot – anything you want to peel in fact – is easy peesy with this simple gadget, and it doesn’t take most of the fruit / vegetable with it. I love lemon peel in my tea and I use this to get the zest without the pith.

3. Jam Funnel: This is another simple item that saves a ton of time (and mess)! I use it for filling storage jars with anything from seeds, lentils, tomatoes for bottling, as well as home-made jams.

4. Storage Containers: In particular jars and baskets – I’m not sure it’s possible to have too many of either! Jars are used for almost everything – to decant staples like rice, pasta, lentils, seeds, etc from bulk buys as well as for home-made jams and preserves. Pantry shelves well-stocked with surplus from the garden for winter is one of my joys. Baskets are great for harvesting and storing all manner of fruits and vegetables, there are currently two baskets on my kitchen table and another 3 on the kitchen shelves – they hold apples, diospiro, potatoes, onions, courgettes and walnuts. You can buy fabulous hand-made baskets from the gypsies at local markets from 5 euros.

5. Compost and Chicken Buckets: OK, so maybe not a gadget exactly, but for me a kitchen essential that I would be lost without. One bucket for the chickens (most peelings, leftovers, etc) and one for the compost heap (anything that the chickens can’t eat – tea bags, coffee grounds, etc). Definitely amongst the most-used items in my kitchen.

For more inspiration on kitchen and foodies gifts:

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