Reviewed by Louise Totton
Useful Christmas presents might not seem to be the most exciting gifts in the world, but they are almost invariably the ones that are used the most and the ones that make a real difference to us all year. Little kitchen products and gadgets are some of the things that we will use the most often, so if you are looking for a practical Christmas present, kitchen products are a great place to start your search. Zyliss make some great quality and truly innovative little gadgets that would make super stocking fillers and be appreciated all year. We were sent five of them to try out, and with four of them being under a tenner, there are some super little bargains available. We were sent:
- Zyliss Twist & Roll Mini Chopper
- Zyliss Multi-Function Food Keeper
- Zyliss 4-in-1 Avocado Tool
- Zyliss Quick Slicer
- Zyliss Greens & Herbs Stripper
The first item we tried out was something that I’d actually had my eye on for a while – the Twist & Roll Mini Chopper (RRP: £19.99). This little chopper is perfect for chopping small amounts of herbs, onions, chilli, garlic and more. The device is dome-shaped and has a clear plastic chopping chamber containing a double-edged blade in the middle, a lockable lid on the top and a textured, rubberised and rollable base.
Using the product is really simple – all you need to do is pop a small quantity of your ingredient (it holds up to half a large onion, to give you an idea of capacity), screw the lid on and you’re ready to start chopping. The chopper can be used in one of two ways – either by using both of your hands, one on the base and one on the lid, in a twisting motion on the other with just one hand, rolling the dome-shaped rubberised end on the counter top to get the same effect. Because the twin blades are double-sided, you can twist backwards and forwards and both ways have a chopping action, cutting the time that it takes to prepare your food in half.
I found this product to be really easy to use and super easy to hold and grip – it would be ideal for people with dexterity issues or problems gripping securely. Because of the size of the product, it’s perfect for chopping onions as well as other things that are traditionally rather aromatic – garlic, chilli, ginger and herbs – so you can keep your hands and chopping boards free of odour and staining. The lid locks on securely, so it’s super safe and won’t slip off causing the blades to come out or you to cut yourself.
Cleaning it is just as simple as using it and all you have to do is pop the blades out which leaves you with a perfectly flat surface which is a doddle to clean under a running tap. This is a great little item and is a great price at £19.99. It is ideal for chopping and mincing ingredients that are too small to go in a food processor and it’s an awful lot easier than using a pestle and mortar, with results that are finer and more uniform than chopping with a knife.
The next item that we tried was the set of three Multi-function Food Keeper storage containers which cost £9.99. The three containers are all on the smaller side (the largest is only 7.2cm x 11.5cm), and are perfect for storing small quantities of food, and the food keepers can be used either way round depending on what kind of food you are looking to store.
You can use them the ‘normal’ way round if you are storing liquids, soups or leftover casseroles, and the lid fits the bowl perfectly by snapping onto the top, or you can use them the other way round for storing things like half fruits, half veggies and more. If you are using them this way, the food is placed on the inside of the lid which is textured and ribbed to allow for air circulation and to stop the food sweating or spoiling, and the bowl part is placed on top as a lid.
Whichever way you decide to use them, they are designed to stack securely on top of each other and you don’t even have to stack them in size order, although it’s obviously more stable if you do! The bowls are made from crystal clear, BPA free plastic and can even be put in the dishwasher after use. I think these are incredibly useful and great quality items, and at £9.99 are a great stocking filler item if you’re buying for someone who is fond of practical gifts.
We also road tested the Zyliss Quick Slicer (RRP: £9.99), which is a super handy little tool that allows you to make eight evenly sized slices from a number of foodstuffs, including tomatoes, eggs, cucumbers, mushrooms and more.
This slicer is a purely mechanical design, so doesn’t use batteries or require charging. Instead, the food you want to slice is placed on the base of the slicer and the serrated blades are then pushed down onto the food, creating the slices. Because the blades are serrated, as well as slicing things like cucumbers and kiwi fruit, you can also use it to cut tomatoes and eggs – the types of food that could just squash rather than slice with a normal blade. Our favourite use for it was cutting potatoes into really thick ‘crisps’ and using them instead of mashed potato to top a cottage pie.
We found this to be really simple but functional product that quite simple works! It’s nice and easy to clean with no nooks and crannies for bits of food to get stuck in. it’s really comfy to hold in your hand even if you have to exert a bit of pressure to get your food sliced and we haven’t had an issues of it slipping during use at all, it’s been fantastic.
Next up is the 4 in 1 Avocado Tool (RRP: £9.99), which is a 2-piece tool that allows you to prepare avocados in four different ways. You can use the plastic cutting edge to slice the avocado in half before using the destoner to flick the stone out in one simple movement. From there, it’s up to you whether you want to use the stripy side of the other part of the tool to create slides of avocado, or go one step further and use the mashing end to mash these slices and make something like guacamole.
We’re big fans of Mexican food in our house, so couldn’t resist the opportunity to use our Avocado tool to prepare and mash the avocado as well as using Twist & Roll Mini Chopper for finely chop some onions, garlic and chilli along with some coriander and tomatoes to make a delicious, fresh guacamole. It was absolutely delicious and was so much nicer than even the most expensive shop bought guacamole we tried, and I reckon it’s worth buying for the homemade guacamole alone!
The final item that we tried was the least expensive – the Greens & Herbs Stripper is a bargain at just £7.99 and it allows you to de-stem both leafy greens and herbs in just seconds. The tool has two different parts – the central V-blade is for de-stemming larger leafy greens and cabbages. It has three different positions, depending on the thickness of the stem that you are trying to remove and it works incredibly well. De-stemming is as simple as placing the greens in the right notch of the tool depending on thickness, holding the tool firm and pulling the stems towards your body. The leaves are then removed from the stem, landing on the chopping board in front of you.
The second part is designed for woody herbs such as thyme and rosemary. There are three different eyelets so, again, you can choose the right size for the herb you want to de-stem. It works exactly the same way as the part for the leafy greens and was really effective when we used it – the tool really does make de-stemming and de-stalking super easy and takes all of the hard work out if the prep.
We were really impressed with all of the items we tried from Zyliss – all of the products were really easy to use, the build quality of them was great and they all felt very sturdy and substantial in the hand. But most importantly, they just worked really well and did what they were designed to do superbly. They each would make a great stocking filler idea for someone who likes useful and functional gifts and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone.
For more information or to buy visit www.zyliss.co.uk.