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Food & Drink

9 kitchen utensils you don’t actually need (and what to use instead)

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Getting stocked up on kitchen stuff for uni? Don't waste your cash on these kitchen tools that have easy (and way cheaper!) alternatives...

woman with apron and kitchen appliances

Credit: ViDI Studio, PixelSquid3d, Valentin Valkov, ApoGapo, Vadym Zaitsev – Shutterstock

Figuring out what you will and won't need for the kitchen when moving into a new house can be a bit of a nightmare. This is particularly the case when you have no idea what your new flatmates will bring with them. You could end up with three of everything if you're not careful.

Whilst there's loads of guidance out there to help you work out what to bring to university, there's little warning about what not to waste your cash on.

We thought we'd take a bit of time to fill you in on the items we've found to be pretty useless over the years...

Unnecessary kitchen utensils

Here are some kitchen utensils to avoid buying, and what you can use instead:

  1. Colander

    Colanders are handy if you're particularly clumsy and tend to pour half your dinner down the sink every time you try to drain it. But for the majority of the population, these aren't essential.

    A simple alternative to the colander is just to buy a pot with a lid that has a steam hole instead. Just take your time pouring!

  2. Egg poacher

    We love a posh poached egg as much as the next guy, but there's no denying these things just aren't worth the cash.

    You can create similar results using a mug and a microwave, anyway. We explain how in our guide to quick microwave recipes.

    Essentially, though, you just need to cover the brim of the mug with a sheet of clingfilm and crack the egg into the middle. Twist the film closed, fill the cup two-thirds with water and blast in the microwave for around 60 seconds – easy!

  3. Pizza wheel

    As fun as a pizza wheel can be to use (and the designs can be pretty cute too), unless you're working in a pizza kitchen, they're pretty useless.

    Try using scissors instead. They're arguably more effective at cutting all the way through.

  4. Knife set

    Rather than a full knife set, you only really need one good knife at uni.

    Buy one knife and a sharpener to keep it in good condition. It should last you a long time, and will save you a fair amount of money compared to buying a set.

  5. Garlic press

    If you're particularly lazy and not a fan of having garlicky fingers, we understand why you might feel the need to buy a garlic crusher.

    However, they're a nightmare to clean, and chopping your garlic cloves the old-fashioned way is still very effective.

  6. Food processor

    If you like soups and smoothies, splashing out on a food processor might seem like a good idea. But, in reality, they take up a lot of room in cupboards that you'll likely be sharing with a few others (and who knows what sort of bossy flatmates you might end up with!).

    A good alternative is to buy a hand blender. They tend to cost a fraction of the price and don't take up too much room in the kitchen.

  7. Tupperware

    Tupperware containers are crucial when you're a student. How else will you freeze leftovers and carry lunches to uni with you in one piece?

    However, you might well find you don't actually need to buy a Tupperware set – especially as you often get free reusable boxes when you order a takeaway.

    If you don't yet have any, it could be worth seeing if your parents/guardians have some spare food containers that they're happy for you to bring to uni.

  8. Potato masher

    Unless you're planning on cooking mashed potato for the masses, a good cooking tip is to mash a few potatoes with a fork. The result may not be the perfect puréed potato, but add a bit of milk (plus cheese or mustard if you're feeling a bit posh) and the taste is just the same.

    Potato mashers are always bulky and annoying when they get stuck in the kitchen drawer, plus they're a pain to clean, so you'll actually be saving yourself a lot of hassle by leaving it off your university essentials checklist.

  9. Toaster

    This is a bit of a controversial one to add to the list. We know some students treasure their toasters.

    But, what if we told you you could basically do the same thing with your oven grill? Ideal.

Check out these great ways to get free food.

Laura Craddock

WRITTEN BY Laura Craddock

Alongside blogging about baking, Laura Craddock shares top tips and recipes for Save the Student to help our readers spend less on food. Laura studied English at the University of Dundee.
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