Essential Thanksgiving Prep Kitchen Tools
Thanksgiving is one of the most cooking-intensive time of year. So you want to be sure to have all of the essential cooking tools lined up to make your food preparation time less complicated and more efficient. The season really is about time spent with family and friends andgood kitchen tools equals less time spent in the kitchen.
Seven Essential Kitchen Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner Prep
- A good peeler
- A potato ricer
- An accurate thermometer
- A pastry brush
- An excellent whisk
- Turkey forks
- Carving knives
A Good Peeler
In terms of prep time, a good peeler will save you lots of time in the kitchen. The type of peeler you use will depend on your own preference. A survey of cooking blogs revealed that most people prefer to have three types of peelers, each with sharp stainless steel blades: a regular peeler, a julienne peeler and a serrated blade peeler for fancier cuts.
A Potato Ricer
Every Thanksgiving dinner has a delicious casserole of mashed potatoes on the table. Many families have their own special recipe and although many will swear by their old fashioned potato masher, the potato ricer is a kitchen tool that is well worth trying. It will result in flawless, finely-textured potatoes every time and will cut prep time by half. Some potato ricers have adjustable settings for texture, and you will find that you can use this tool for squash, rutabaga and many other vegetables, or combinations that you want to puree.
An Accurate Thermometer
Not enough can be said about the importance of a cooking thermometer. To rely on the “pop-up” thermometer in the bird is to vote for dry, tasteless, overcooked turkey. In addition, a thermometer is a reliable tool for many other cooking tasks, such as casseroles, pies, and gravies. It is best to invest in different cooking thermometers for different cooking tasks. How high tech you want to go is purely a measure of your own preference, but investing enough to have an accurate thermometer for each cooking task should be your the main goal.
A Pastry Brush
A pastry brush is going to come in handy for a myriad of small tasks for Thanksgiving dinner. From basting the turkey, to spreading melted butter on a variety of dishes, to basting the fresh bread with garlic oil; you will want to have a wooden pastry brush with natural bristles. This will do the best job of holding whichever substance you are basting and will also clean up easily with hot water and soap.
An Excellent Whisk
There’s no end to the tasks you will perform on Thanksgiving Day that will require a whisk. From stirring the gravy to fluffing the potatoes, this may be the most used tool of all. Most prefer whisks with traditional bulb-shaped wire head, as they are perfect for flattening lumps and quick-whisking gravies. Choose your favorite or keep a handful on call for the many tasks of the day.
An indispensible tool that is vital to any cook’s arsenal of tools is a turkey fork or a pot fork. A pot fork is about 11 to 12 inches long, 4 inches across, and has tongs that are about 6 inches long. With two forks, you can easily lift one large turkey out of its rack and onto the cutting surface. No more wrestling with a bird, wondering if it will get to the plate without falling. These oversized forks are well worth the investment, and they double as carving forks.
There's nothing like a razor-sharp, long carving knife with a well-balanced handle to help you slice up your turkey without tearing the meat. Carving knives have thinner and longer blades that chef's knives and this helps when you want to carve thin, uniform slices of turkey. When shopping for a carving knife, look for something that is 8 - 10 inches long, and then choose between a pointed tip and a rounded tip. A pointed tip will help you cut around the bones so you can extract as much meat as possible from the turkey.
We have two more recommendations which do not fall strictly under the realm of kitchen tools, but which seem equally crucial to the preparation to a good turkey dinner. They are:
- A large turkey roaster
- Oven-to-table casserole dishes
A Good Large Turkey Roaster
Not enough can be said about finding the right turkey roaster. It can be made of aluminum or stainless steel, and have ample room to fit a wire rack that is sturdy enough to solidly rest a turkey with room to drain drippings. You can choose a roasting pan with or without a lid, depending on your preferences. If your roaster does not have a lid, you can rely on aluminum foil to make a tent to hold in moisture when needed. Some people prefer a rack with handles, but this is not necessary if you invest in the pot forks as mentioned above.
In preparing for Thanksgiving, everything that you can do ahead of time means more time with the family. Good casserole dishes can make all the difference. Consider lidded casseroles, at least one, three to four quart size (the equivalent of a 9" x 13" dish) and at least two, 2 to 3 quart size (the size of an 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" dish). With casserole dishes on hand, you can prepare potato and vegetable side dishes up to a day ahead, saving you hours in the kitchen on the big day.
Thanksgiving is really all about spending time with family. Consider the kitchen tools you already own, and whether an upgrade to some of the tools mentioned here might give you some well-earned time out of the kitchen. The tools we’ve mentioned can also improve your presentation and you’ll find your loved ones fawning over your delicious, home-cooked meal.