06 April 2011

A Set of Good Spatulas

There are lots of kitchen tools and gadgets around, most of them pretty gimmicky or only good for one particular function.  Things like tea bag squeezers may seem useful and cute in the shop, but get them home and you really do wonder why you bothered.

One set of kitchen tools I couldn't be without however are my spatulas. I have 5, all different sizes and shapes and made from different materials.

There's the Tupperware pot spatula, just perfect for beating a batter due to the cut-out in the centre.  I'm not sure if they're still available, this one is about 20 years old (Tupperware just keeps on going doesn't it?).  Then there's the soft plastic spatula that fits the curve of my favourite mixing bowls. It does a great job of scraping every last drop of cake batter into the tin.

But my very favourites are relatively new. I have three silicone spatulas, all different sizes and shapes. They were a spontaneous buy, I hadn't planned on them at all. I was in Big W with Mum, looking for cookies sheets and we were checking out the silicone bakeware.

The smallest is just perfect for scraping out cream bottles and jam jars. The medium size cleans a mixing bowl perfectly. The largest is spoon-shaped and ideal for spooning pancake batter into a hot pan and cleaning out large mixing bowls. And they are three of my favourite kitchen money-savers.

It's amazing just how much cream is left in the bottle after pouring it out. I use the smallest spatula to get every last drop of cream out of the bottle, sometimes as much as 1/4 cup - that's around 35c that would have gone into the bin if I didn't scrape.  We use one bottle of cream a week, so over the course of a year that's $18.20 I am not throwing away.  With that one use alone the spatula has paid for itself many times over!

I scrape out all jars - pasta sauce, peanut butter, jam etc. And when I open a tin of baked beans or tomato soup it's always scraped out too. Australians waste billions of dollars worth of food each year, and a lot of it is the food left in jars, bottles and cans. A spatula can help reduce that waste!

Vegemite jars are never recycled until they have been scraped and then swished with warm water (not hot, it will explode) and used to make gravy.  Peanut butter jars are scraped out for sandwiches and then swished with a little warm water that I add to a curry, stir-fry or satay dish for extra flavouring.  Scraping the mixing bowl can get two extra cupcakes from a batter, that's around 40c that's not going in the bin.  I even use a spatula to scrape the pot when I've made mash - with two hungry boys - sorry young men - to feed there's never enough mash!

These little scrapes are all small, quite insignificant on their own. But add them up and it's hundreds of dollars a year that isn't going into the bin or into the supermarket's profits.  I'm always asked how I keep the grocery bill so low, this is one of the main ways.  I make sure we use every last drop of everything and don't throw good food out - that really is just money in the bin.

My spatulas make it easy to save money.

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