Space Saving Tools and Gadgets
Space saving gadgets that collapse or fold down to a fraction of their full size are available for nearly every task in the kitchen. Whether they are a reflection of the trend towards a smaller footprint lifestyle in general or the need to have every gadget under the sun with not enough room for it all is a tough call. Either way, these storage-friendly products combine functionality with design to cut down on clutter and deliver usefulness at the same time.
Progressive International has come out with a wide collection of collapsible products that range from preparation to storage. The brand has not shied away from taking on larger challenges and the products offered are notable in that they are not relegated to only small prep items.
The Collapsible Salad Spinner, for example, can shrink to half its size with both the outer and inner components collapsing to save space, plus the spinner basket can double as a colander. The patented design brakes the spinner when the flexible sides are pressed.
Other standouts from Progressive International include Collapsible Produce Keepers. Available in a two- or four-quart capacity, these storage solutions feature adjustable vents to regulate air flow to suit the contents. The keepers can be used in the collapsed mode, which is one third of the regular size, to store smaller amounts of produce like that last handful of lettuce you don’t want to throw out. Within the keeper, a perforated layer above the removable base keeps the produce from touching the bottom, enabling it to also act as a colander. Water can be added inside the removable base if needed, and the produce won’t get soggy from soaking in it. Progressive International also offers a variety of other collapsible carriers that are large enough to transport 24 cupcakes, a casserole, or 28 deviled eggs, depending on the model.
Smart Planet offers every type of on-the-go meal kit imaginable in a collapsible body. There’s a soup and salad bowl shaped like a cylindrical cup, a pizza meal kit with an insert that lets you bring along one or two slices of pizza, a round meal kit, a square meal kit and double-decker meal kits, all of which include a reusable spork utensil that stores in the lid.
The Portion Perfect Meal Kit collapses and stores at half of its expanded size. It has four compartments with measurements ranging from one-half to two cups for healthy portion control. The lid features a built-in condiment dish and space for storing the matching spork utensil. The space-conscious designs are perfect for commuters who bring along lunch and don’t want to worry about carrying around bulky empty containers for the rest of the day.
Between brands Chef’n and Squish, every type of collapsible colander and measuring vessel out there is covered. From Squish come unique items like the Folding Box Grater and the Over-The-Sink Cutting Board with Colander that collapses, but perhaps most noteworthy is the Collapsible Mesh Sifter. With a three-cup capacity, the sifter includes interchangeable fine and coarse screens for sifting flour or sugar. It’s unique because it is the only collapsible sifter offered from any brand.
Meanwhile, Chef’n approaches space-saving by offering both collapsible items as well as a variety of nesting products. Clever nesting products include the set of three Sleekstor™ Measuring Beakers and the Scoop Troop™ Set of two flexible fruit scoops and a melon baller. The FreshForce™ Scoop Colander resists temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit so it can scoop foods directly from boiling water. The expandable scoop doubles as a colander that is ideal for rinsing and straining small servings of food.
Rösle elevates the realm of silicone collapsibles by sandwiching the silicone body of its Collapsible Colander with a stainless steel top and bottom. Available in a variety of bright colors, the colander is 10 inches in diameter and folds down to just 1.6 inches in height for space-saving storage.
Collapsibles are making their way into the realm of small electrics as well. Escali offers the Pop Collapsible Bowl Scale to measure foods and aid in portion control. The collapsible bowl included serves triple duty: fully extended, it measures 1.5 quarts, but after collapsing it can serve as a shallow tray and protective cover.
Finally, Brod & Taylor’s Folding Proofer delivers the benefits of a commercial kitchen tool with accurate temperature control and predictable results in a sleek countertop appliance that folds down flat for storage. With a temperature range of 70-120 degrees Fahrenheit and optional humidity, this generously sized proofer can make up to two gallons of yogurt or three loaves of bread, yet it folds down to the size of a cutting board for storage.
This story was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Kitchenware News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.