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Summer is arguably the most difficult time to cook. Yes, the sun stays out longer, but it’s all a facade. Between summer activities and the gruelling heat, cooking is often the last thing on our minds. That means many of us go back to takeaways night after night, which can seriously add up. Thankfully, there are a few items that make cooking during the summer easier and can save you a lot of time, so you can get back to enjoying the warm weather.

From utensils to kitchen gadgets, these 11 things will make summer cooking less of a chore this year.

1. A precise meat thermometer

This Is Local London: Perfectly cooked meat every time. Credit: ReviewedPerfectly cooked meat every time. Credit: Reviewed

If you have yet to buy a meat thermometer, your life is about to change for the better. While you might think you know how long to cook your chicken in the oven, a meat thermometer ensures that your meat is perfectly cooked and juicy (goodbye, dry chicken). Plus, it’ll save you the time of constantly cutting into whatever you’re cooking to check on the doneness.

The Harbor Meat Thermometer is one of the best meat thermometers we’ve tested. It’s accurate, affordable and the extra-long probe means you’re less likely to burn your hands while using it. 

Get the Harbor Meat Thermometer at Amazon for £9.99

2. A gadget that makes chopping onions easier

This Is Local London: No more tears. Credit: OXO / AmazonNo more tears. Credit: OXO / Amazon

I’m going to be honest: I still can’t properly chop an onion. The various rings make it exceedingly difficult to dice it and I’m usually left in a puddle of tears because of chopping. The solution to my red-eye woes? An onion chopper. This one has 699 reviews and a 4-star rating on Amazon with reviewers raving about how much time it saves them while chopping.

Get the OXO Good Grips Vegetable Chopper at Amazon for £21.99

3. The best barbecue tongs we’ve ever tested

This Is Local London: These tongs are for more than just grilling. Credit: Reviewed / Lindsay D. MattisonThese tongs are for more than just grilling. Credit: Reviewed / Lindsay D. Mattison

Tongs are often a forgotten cooking tool that make your life so much easier. Not only are they essential for the barbecuing, but they make tasks like grabbing corn from a boiling pot of water much easier and safer (please don’t try to do this with a fork). These ones from OXO Good Grips are the best ones we’ve ever tested because the scalloped pincers easily pick up a variety of foods and textures.

Get the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Locking Tongs at Amazon for £18.94

4. An Instant Pot so you can stay out of the kitchen

This Is Local London: Create an entire meal sans hot oven. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson RuckarCreate an entire meal sans hot oven. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Instant Pot is one of my favourite cooking gadgets of all time. Not only are dump and cook dinners one of the easiest meals to put together, but it also keeps you from turning on the oven and bringing in the heat. The Instant Pot Duo is a great base model for any kitchen and has seven different cooking functions like saute, steam, rice cooker, and the all-important pressure cooker. Basically, you can cook whatever you want in it—and fast.

Get the Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cooker at Amazon for £99.99

5. Scissors that expertly chop herbs

This Is Local London: Cutting herbs have never been easier. Credit: Plant TheatreCutting herbs have never been easier. Credit: Plant TheatreFresh herbs immediately elevate any dish, but chopping them for this purpose can be a pain in the butt. Usually, I get so fed up, I’ll just tear them apart in my hands, which is less effective and not aesthetically pleasing. Instead, people reach for these handy herb scissors, which have five blades for swift slicing of cilantro, basil, mint, and more. 

Get the Plant Theatre Herb Scissors at Amazon for £10.99

6. An air fryer for healthier fries

This Is Local London: Create healthier versions of your favourite fried foods. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey GoldwasserCreate healthier versions of your favourite fried foods. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Air frying was one of the hottest food trends of 2019, and it's still as popular as ever for this summer. I mean, how else could you make a healthier version of your favourite chips sans grease? Plus, it allows you to crisp up smaller batches of food while the oven is taken. After testing a variety of air fryers, we found that the Philips Airfryer XXL was the best of the best. Not only is it large enough to cook a family-sized portion, but it was the most consistent and produced the best “fried” foods of all the air fryers we tested.

Get the Philips Airfryer XXL at Amazon for £279.99

7. A mandoline for perfectly cut veggies

This Is Local London: Hand slicing veggies is a thing of the past. Credit: Reviewed / Lindsay D. MattisonHand slicing veggies is a thing of the past. Credit: Reviewed / Lindsay D. Mattison

Cutting vegetables is pretty time-consuming and you usually can't get your slices a unified size, which can be pretty frustrating. But a mandoline produces perfect slices for your ratatouille, crudité, and homemade veggie crisps in basically no time at all. We love this model from KitchenAid because its V-shaped blade sliced through whatever we threw at it and it has five different thickness options. Plus, it's safer than most thanks to a larger-than-average finger guard and rubber feet that keep it from sliding, which is why it’s the best mandoline we’ve ever tested.

Get the KitchenAid Adjustable Hand-Held V-Blade Mandoline Slicer at Amazon for £52.27

8. A strainer that's better than a colander

This Is Local London: A game-changing strainer. Credit: Kitchen GizmoA game-changing strainer. Credit: Kitchen Gizmo

Pasta salad is a barbeque favourite and plain ole pasta is always a go-to easy meal. But what’s not actually that easy: straining it. It's super tedious to move the pasta into a colander just to put it back into the pot to add sauce or butter. This genius strainer cuts out the middleman by simply snapping to the side of a pot and draining water without losing any precious noodles. It’s garnered over 3,000 reviews and has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, so it’s safe to say that people won’t be returning to their traditional colander anytime soon.

Get the Kitchen Gizmo Snap N Strain Strainer at Amazon for £5.40

9. Our favourite spiralizer

This Is Local London: Courgetti Spaghetti made easy. Credit: OXO / AmazonCourgetti Spaghetti made easy. Credit: OXO / Amazon

Courgetti Spaghetti was a food trend that I can still get behind. Vegetables are just way more fun to eat when they’re in noodle form. And the easiest way to make vegetable noodles is with a good spiralizer. 

Get the OXO Spiralizer at Amazon for £12 

10. A food processor that doubles as a sous chef

This Is Local London: Your new kitchen assistant.Credit: Reviewed / Jackson RuckarYour new kitchen assistant.Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

A food processor is one of the handiest appliances out there. Initially, I got mine to make cauliflower rice, but it has so many more uses, like shredding Brussels sprouts, chopping up all sorts of vegetables, and even shredding cheese. Plus, it can dice things way faster and more finely than you probably can by hand. One of our favourite food processors is this 3 litre one from Cuisinart.

Get the Cuisinart 3 Litre Food Processor at Amazon for £224.95

11. The easiest way to chop garlic

This Is Local London: Better than a garlic press. Credit: Reviewed / Camryn RabideauBetter than a garlic press. Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Chopping garlic is one of the most tedious tasks. The cloves are so small—which is dangerous for fingers—and the garlic scent sticks to your hands for hours later. That’s where the ingenious GarlicZoom comes in. After testing it for ourselves, we found that quickly and efficiently chopped garlic with its wheeled knife design. It also works well with fresh ginger, shallots and other small onions, and small peppers like jalapenos.

Get the Chef'n Garliczoom Garlic Chopper at Amazon for £10.99

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