Chatelaine Kitchen

10 thrifty must-have kitchen tools from Chatelaine's food editor

Now that spring is here, there’s never been a better time to grab the classifieds, circle those weekend garage sales and get rummaging to stock your kitchen and grill

One of our amazing test kitchen divas, Kristen, recently wrote a great post detailing our favourite kitchen utensils here at Chatelaine, and while I agree with most of her kitchen picks, I started thinking about the tools I use most often in my own home, and realized the majority of them were garage sale, Goodwill, Chinatown and yard sale finds. In fact, if I put all 10 of them together they’d probably add up to less than $100 in total, and bear in mind that I’ve used all of these things on a weekly basis for many years, and in some cases strangers had used them for decades before I even got my mitts on them!

Here are my top 10 thrifty kitchen finds:

1. The ever-faithful cast iron pan I got at Goodwill. It’s sturdy, retains heat, and once seasoned it magically becomes non-stick. Perfect for making delicious zucchini fritters.

2. The workhorse spoon-rest should not be underestimated (nor should the humble wooden spoon). It’s tops for minimizing mess when stirring up soups.

3. Colanders: Like the spoon-rest, they’re there because we need them. Put one to work with our pasta pomodoro dish. 

4. I love a jam jar for shaking up vinaigrettes and likewise dressings (or should I say a free jam jar – thanks for the salad dressing shaker, empty jar of jam!).

5. My $8 garage sale hand mixer does all the blending and whipping for me when I don’t want to — especially handy when attempting airy cakes

6. The vintage hand-cranked juicer (a garage sale find) is not only gorgeous to look at, but it helps me get all the vitamin C I need.

7. Likewise, my vintage blender (a very thoughtful tag sale birthday gift) proves they just don’t make them like they used to. I use it all the time to make smoothies and milkshakes.

8. The simple and sleek design of my stovetop Italian espresso maker never goes out of style, nor does great coffee. Use it for dessert, too. 

9. Spring-loaded tongs (Chinatown special), are indispensable all year round, but especially so during barbecue season.

10. The old dependable wind-up egg timer (provenance, unknown) has saved more than a few batches of cookies from burning.

Now that spring is here, there’s never been a better time to grab the classifieds, circle those weekend garage sales and get rummaging to deck out your kitchen in the season’s best. Remember, everything old is new again.