My secret to having an arsenal full of specialized cooking utensils without going broke is the hardware store. In many cases, the only difference between a hardware store tool and the kitchen version is price. Read on to see what cheap kitchen tools you can find at your local hardware.
Skip the small packages of kitchen twine sold at supermarkets and buy a cheap roll of twine at the hardware store. Just make sure to look for cotton twine only as nylon and other synthetic twines will melt. Twine comes in handy for trussing up poultry, tying together bouquet garnis, and holding roasts together.
Basting brushes are the same quality as paintbrushes at hardware stores, but there so much cheaper. They’re usually less than $1 so it may be worth stocking up on different sizes to tackle different tasks. You can use brushes for basting and glazing everything from roasts to fruit tarts.
A chef’s blowtorch starts at around $30, but hardware store torches are much cheaper and hold more fuel. These are a must if you want to caramelize the top of a creme brulee. Yum! The torch also comes in handy when making bananas foster.
Pizza Stones and Bricks
The secret to a crispy pizza is a pizza stone. Awhile back, I share how you can make your own pizza stone with unglazed ceramic or quarry tile from the hardware store. You can also buy a cheap brick to use as a weight (just cover it with foil) when making paninis or chicken under a brick.
Graters and Zesters
Head to the woodworking aisle to find cheap graters to zest lemons and other citrus fruits. Did you know Microplane first release it’s graters and zesters as woodworking tools? You’ll find quality rasps for a fraction of the cost as those found in fancy cooking supply stores. Make sure to buy one made out of stainless steel so it doesn’t rust.
Cedar Planks and Hickory Chips
With summer just around the corner, head to the hardware store to get ready for barbecues. Add flavor to your food with wood planks or chips. Cedar pairs well with salmon on the grill and hickory chips will impart a woodsy taste to you meat.
These are a must if you have small kids that like to eat fish. You can use pliers to pick small bones out of fresh fish. Needle-nose pliers from the hardware store are inexpensive and precise. They usually cost less than $2, while fish tweezers at cooking supply stores cost $15 or more.
Scrapers and Knives
Drywall scraper and paint knives can double as tools for bakers. These hardware finds are cheap compared to pastry knives and cake decoration tools and work just as well. They can run you anywhere from $1 -$2 compared to $7 – $15.
Funnels come in handy when you want to transfer oil to a spritz bottle. Hardware stores usually sell them in a set of two or three for less than $5. One funnel at a cooking supply store can set you back $15!
Have you tried any of these less expensive alternative kitchen utensils? What other hardware store finds double as cooking tools?
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