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What's in your junk drawer?: Top 10 items that help you manage your kitchen 

Everybody’s got that drawer in their kitchen. You know, that infamous junk drawer with no semblance of organization, housing a mish-mash of random items. But it’s just those non-essential, non-cooking items which often help you run your kitchen (or aid in your culinary efforts) in the most essential ways. Are you sure you have the right stuff taking up space in your drawer? Check out my Top 10 List to find out! 

MORE: Top 10 Essential Baking Items

1. Bag Clips: Save the waste and expense of stale food being thrown out with the simple invention of the bag clip. Packages that are closed properly will keep food fresh (and unwanted critters out).

Kitchen Hack: A box of small pressure clips (think office supplies) will take up less room and work just as well.

2. Rubber Bands: Besides being a great way to tie up small packages of beans or brown sugar tightly, rubber bands are essential for securing materials – an extra measure of closure around a bowl that has been covered with plastic wrap, for fastening garnet bags or to secure cheesecloth over a bowl when straining liquids.

3. Kitchen Twine: Whether trussing a chicken or tying a roast, the heavy-duty string will be a food-safe lifesaver during cooking.

4. Plastic Gloves (disposable): Some kitchen jobs are “dirty jobs” – either messy jobs no one wants to do with their bare hands or a job best done with gloves to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.

Kitchen Hack: No gloves? Use a sandwich bag in a bind…it will still keep your hands clean!

MORE: Travel Hacks: Kosher Cooking In Your Hotel Room

5. Toothpicks: (A throwback to my last Top 10, but this is the drawer where you keep them!). One little poke will answer all your probing questions about the “doneness” of your cakes, muffins, etc. without leaving a noticeable mark in your baked goods. Classic baking wisdom 101: if it comes out clean, it’s done! Toothpicks are also a handy item for small detail work – smoothing (or removing) excess frosting, meringue, etc.

Kitchen Hack: A skewer works well too!

6. Permanent Markers: A permanent marker is the key to good labeling in a kitchen where liquids run rampant and can wash away any evidence of what you tried to mark properly. Permanent markers also work well on multiple materials (where pens or other markers don’t) – plastic containers, tin foil, glossy cardboard, etc.

7. Labels: If you freeze or store anything, then good labeling is a must. Deciphering unrecognizable containers or bags are not the kind of adventure you need in your kitchen. Get some labels and use them!

Kitchen Hack: Post-it notes work well too – it will prevent having to remove sticky adhesive residue from good containers.

8. Meat Thermometer: A small appliance that will ensure juicy, perfectly cooked meats and poultry. The question really is: why wouldn’t you own one?

MORE: Kitchen Conundrums: Baking Disasters Solved

9. Cheesecloth/Garnet Bags: An easy wrap-up for the quick removal (and disposal) of herbs or spices; and an effective way of fine straining for sauces or custards (or yes, cheese too…that’s why it’s called “cheesecloth”!).

10. Band-Aids/Ointment: Let’s face it: the kitchen is a dangerous place and accidents do happen. Be ready when they do and always keep Band-Aids (and ointment) ready and accessible. No one likes to run around the house when bleeding.

Note: This blog, Naomi’s Kitchen Hacks, is part of a series of tips and secrets to help you in the kitchen, in any situation!


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