Hot New Trends and Tricks: Tool Takedown

Are these kitchen tools worth their salt?

Photo by: Scott Gries

Scott Gries

It's time for another Tool Takedown! As always, we go head-to-head in a match-up of the latest kitchen tools and gadgets vs. the traditional culinary method. We judge these products on three criteria: Do they work, how much space do they take up, and, most importantly, are they worth it?

Cyclone Watermelon Slicer

This tool has a small plastic windmill at one end and a long trough that runs down its length. As you push it across the flesh of the watermelon, the windmill piece chops it into small cubes that are pulled into the trough.

We love this tool for kids because it has no sharp parts, so they can safely help out in the kitchen. Still, while the tool works well, it seems to only work on the soft yet structured flesh of watermelon. It operates great in the center of the watermelon, but once you reach the edges closest to the rind, it doesn't follow the natural curve of the melon, so you end up with some oddly-shaped pieces. Several companies make cyclone slicers, and they all come in at around $10. In this round of the tool takedown, the first host to cube two pounds of watermelon was the winner. Although the tool didn't beat Geoffrey Zakarian's knife skills, it still worked well. I mean, we are talking about Geoffrey Zakarian—did it ever really stand a chance?

Corn Silk Remover

Once you've shucked the husks off the corn, this tool will remove the silk by surrounding the cob with strong brush bristles and sweeping them away. Although it works well and doesn't take up much kitchen real estate, a regular vegetable brush will yield the same results and is priced about the same (around $6). Of course, you have to be careful and use the tool gently so you don't damage the delicate corn kernels.

The task at hand in this round was to shuck and remove the silk from three ears of corn. The traditional method utilized the silk-removers GZ was born with—his hands. It was neck-and-neck but, in the end, the traditional method won out.

Quickpit Cherry Pitter

Our final tool is perfect for sweet summer cherries. Unlike a lot of other cherry pitters, this tool was designed to be screwed right onto canning jars, with the intention of preserving the cherries. You place a cherry in the center of the lid and gently press straight down on the plunger to impale the cherry on a plastic spike. When you pull the plunger back up, the pitted cherry drops into the jar and the removed pit is held inside the plunger. This tool is also around $10.

Typically, removing cherry pits leaves you with a juicy mess and two stained hands. This tool loses almost no juice in the process and keeps your hands nice and clean. The tool went against an old hack that we've shared on the show using an empty glass bottle and a chopstick. Our hosts competed to pit ten cherries first, and the chopsticks came out on top!

Team Tool took a tumble this round, but there's always next time! If you have a tool that you think is worthy of a round in our kitchen, share with us online using #thekitchen!

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