Smarter Living: Shopping Wise

kitchen

Photo: litlnemo/Flickr

This time of year, your kitchen likely gets its heaviest use. Parties, barbeques, cooking with the kids, family gatherings and stockpiled leftovers give you reason to rethink what's in your kitchen and why. Most of us have too many pieces of equipment that we don't really need but are still missing essential items. Having a well-appointed kitchen can make your life easier and your culinary pursuits more successful.

This three-part series will show you how to outfit your kitchen with the safest and greenest products on the market. Learn what to look for and how to best use it. We will cover:

  1. Pots & Pans
  2. Bakeware
  3. Knives

Remember, Before You Buy...

  • Clear out the clutter: Unload unwanted items at resale shops benefiting a local charity or put them on the giveaway lists at freecycle.org or craigslist.com (however, toss out old non-stick pans, since these may emit hazardous chemicals and can't be recycled).
  • Take stock: See what you really need.
  • Quality counts: A well-made kitchen knife or pot can last for 20 years or longer when handled with care.
  • Buy used whenever possible: Cast-iron pans and stainless-steel pots, glass food storage containers, glassware, tableware, mixing bowls and kitchen linens are easily found at secondhand stores and garage sales. You'll save money, reduce shipping miles and avoid packaging, without compromising product quality.
  • Choose equipment based on function and material: You don't need a lot of equipment, but you do need the right equipment. When looking for pots and pans never buy a set; you'll always end up paying for pieces that you don't need. You get better results by choosing each piece carefully, making sure that the material from which it's made suits its function.

last revised 7/21/2011

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