Culinary Equipment

Having the proper tools and equipment for a particular task may mean the difference between a job well done and one done incorrectly. Depending on your level of cooking, professional chef or home cook, could determine the quality you purchase.

Many states require that food service operations use only NSF-certified equipment. NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation. NSF standards reflect the following requirements:

1. Equipment must be easily cleaned.
2. All food contact surfaces must be nontoxic, nonabsorbent, corrosion resistant, and nonreactive.
3. All food contact surfaces bust be smooth.
4. Internal corners and edges must be rounded and smooth; external corners and angles must be smooth and sealed.
5. Coating materials must be nontoxic and easily cleaned; coatings must resist chipping and cracking.
6. Waste and waste liquids must be easily removed.

I would think that the majority of people reading this article, including myself, wouldn’t have a clue about NSF-certified equipment in their kitchen, unless you are in the food service business.

One category of equipment is hand tools. These would include a vegetable peeler, zester, spatulas, whisks, and knives. Knives are the most important hand tool. Good-quality knives are expensive, but will last a long time if cared for properly. The metals generally used for knives are carbon steel, stainless steel, high-carbon stainless steel, and ceramic. A few of the styles of knives are chef’s knife, utility knife, boning knife, paring knife, cleaver, slicer, and butcher knife.

Another category is measuring devices. These include scales, measuring cups, ladles, thermometers, and timers.

Cookware should be selected for its size, shape, ability to conduct heat evenly, and overall quality of construction. The metals used in construction are copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and cast-iron. Other materials are glass, ceramics, and plastic for food storage. Nonstick coatings may be applied to many types of cookware.

Types of processing equipment are slicer, mandoline, food chopper, food processor, blender, immersion blender, mixer, and juicer.

The heavy equipment would include your oven, stove, refrigerator, dish washer, and grill for outdoor cooking. Their quality depends on your budget. Having the most expensive equipment won’t do you any good if you can’t afford to buy good food.

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