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Kitchen Items for Arthritic Hands


Shel_B
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I'm sometime plagued with painful and debilitating arthritis in my hands. By debilitating I mean that I can't use a pepper grinder, use a manual can opener, garlic press, open screw top bottles, and etc.

Any suggestions for kitchen items that are easy to operate with this condition, which, BTW, comes and goes. However, I expect it may get worse as the years progress. Thanks!

Oh, I already know about electric can openers and pepper mills, but what other items might there be that run on batteries or electricity?

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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One of the things I'm most appreciate of, is the apple/potato peeler/coreer/slicer I asked for/got last year. I have a terrible time holding a knife for very long and this allows me to go back to many old recipes I had stopped making.

http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP1010-Potato-Peeler-Suction/dp/B001DLTD1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384525323&sr=8-1&keywords=apple+peeler+corer+slicer

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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They still make the wall-mounted crank-type can openers that work just fine. I have one as well as an electric one.

I have the battery-powered jar opener, now a Hamilton Beach because the first one (Sharper Image) broke after four or five years of constant use.

And I have the Black and Decker electric jar opener which is expensive but works on larger and odd-shaped jars that the battery one can't handle. It is worth every penny if one lives alone and doesn't have someone with strong hands to help with these tasks.

I can't operate a regular flour sifter so I got one of the big ones with a crank on the side and also a set of the "hoop-type" drum-sieve or "tamis" which don't require repetitive gripping. I bought them from Fantes (along with a lot of other kitchen helpers.)

I have arthritis at the base of my right thumb where it meets the wrist with a greatly enlarged joint which really inhibits gripping. It is the result of many years holding engraving tools with a very firm grip and stressing the joint. My left hand is not as affected.

Ditto the apple peeler corer slicer and a good mandolin.

The one item that has been elusive is a pair of kitchen tongs that did not tire my hand with repetitive use. I have several and none really worked until I got these Progressive International tongs, both 9" and 12" a couple of months ago. I also bought the Good Grips but for me they don't work quite as well. I have large hands and these might be difficult for someone with small hands to use.

Incidentally, I quite by accident discovered this "trick" for keeping the tongs from springing wide open when I don't want them to - when cooking bacon, for instance, I have several of the tube-type garlic peelers, received as gifts and never used as such. I slide one over the hinge end of the tongs and they only open as far as the sleeve allows...

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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andiesenji, I was hoping to hear from you. I recalled you mentioned you had arthritis, and with you knowledge of gadgets and kitchen items, it seemed you'd have a few ideas.

An electric jar opener! Wow! I thought about that a couple of times, but never thought such a thing existed. That would come in handy.

I'd completely forgotten about those wall mount can openers. We used to have a Swingaway ... that, too, would come in handy, and I know just where I'd mount it. I hate electric can openers.

Thanks for the good ideas and for jumping in.

Edited by Shel_B (log)
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 ... Shel


 

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One of the things I'm most appreciate of, is the apple/potato peeler/coreer/slicer I asked for/got last year. I have a terrible time holding a knife for very long and this allows me to go back to many old recipes I had stopped making.

http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP1010-Potato-Peeler-Suction/dp/B001DLTD1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384525323&sr=8-1&keywords=apple+peeler+corer+slicer

Thanks! Don't need that now, but someday ....

 ... Shel


 

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Grab one of these from Lee Valley. Breaks the seal and makes opening recalcitrant lids a piece of cake.

Don't know how good it would be for my hands, never having used one, but it will sure come in handy every now and then. Several times a year I encounter difficult to remove jar tops ... Thanks!

 ... Shel


 

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Grab one of these from Lee Valley. Breaks the seal and makes opening recalcitrant lids a piece of cake.

Don't know how good it would be for my hands, never having used one, but it will sure come in handy every now and then. Several times a year I encounter difficult to remove jar tops ... Thanks!

Kerry gave me one and it is one of my most useful gadgets. Hope it works as well for you.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Get a few expensive thin blade knives and keep them razor sharp.

Get in the habit of slicing food, not chop. Watch a few sushi cutting videos.

dcarch

Why "expensive" knives? What is an expensive knife? Can you provide examples? How does using such a knife reduce pain and discomfort in my hands?

 ... Shel


 

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Get a few expensive thin blade knives and keep them razor sharp.

Get in the habit of slicing food, not chop. Watch a few sushi cutting videos.

dcarch

Why "expensive" knives? What is an expensive knife? Can you provide examples? How does using such a knife reduce pain and discomfort in my hands?

Good questions. A thin blade knife creates less drag, but a thin blade knife needs to be made with very good steel so that it has the proper flexibility and toughness. By "expensive" I actually meant "not cheap". Good steel will keep a sharp edge longer. If you watch closely the videos on youtube how the Japanese sushi chefs use their knives to slice, you will notices that the edge hardly touches the cutting board.

I can't give you examples to buy because I make all my knives.

Slicing is less stressful to the joins, and by having the knife edge only slice food, a good knife almost never need sharpening.

Here is another inexpensive super tool that is great for opening jars, especially large ones, better than any you can find in a kitchen gadget store. You can get one in an auto parts store. It is a oil filter wrench.

dcarch

opener_zps8add0979.jpg

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Grab one of these from Lee Valley. Breaks the seal and makes opening recalcitrant lids a piece of cake.

Don't know how good it would be for my hands, never having used one, but it will sure come in handy every now and then. Several times a year I encounter difficult to remove jar tops ... Thanks!

Kerry gave me one and it is one of my most useful gadgets. Hope it works as well for you.

I've also got one of those and use it so often!!

Deb

Liberty, MO

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Grab one of these from Lee Valley. Breaks the seal and makes opening recalcitrant lids a piece of cake.

Don't know how good it would be for my hands, never having used one, but it will sure come in handy every now and then. Several times a year I encounter difficult to remove jar tops ... Thanks!

Kerry gave me one and it is one of my most useful gadgets. Hope it works as well for you.

I've also got one of those and use it so often!!

I think that gadget is meant for opening new jars which is under vacuum. It is not for jars which the lid is stock with dried food.

dcarch

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Grab one of these from Lee Valley. Breaks the seal and makes opening recalcitrant lids a piece of cake.

Don't know how good it would be for my hands, never having used one, but it will sure come in handy every now and then. Several times a year I encounter difficult to remove jar tops ... Thanks!

Kerry gave me one and it is one of my most useful gadgets. Hope it works as well for you.

I've also got one of those and use it so often!!

I think that gadget is meant for opening new jars which is under vacuum. It is not for jars which the lid is stock with dried food.

dcarch

Those Lee Valley lid "poppers" are great but as dcarch mentioned, not so good for non-vacuum sealed lids that are stuck on.

You also have to be careful with popping the lids on some "imported' jams and jellies that are in slightly thinner jars.

I no longer use that one but have a couple of these Jar-Pop openers that work fine.

The last time I used the Lee Valley lid popper A large, very expensive, jar of French preserved fruits broke - the "collar" of the jar at the base of the threaded portion cracked and the top part came off with the lid still intact and the jar itself split in three sections. And I cut my hand.

I used the electric jar opener a few days ago when I opened a jar of my homemade mincemeat on which the lid seemed to be welded securely. I tried the under-cabinet opener first and it wouldn't budge the lid.

This is an inexpensive item that does not require a strong grip as the hand-held ones do and you have to use both hands and I wrap some "Grip-It" shelf liner around the jar but in this case that did not work but the Black & Decker did the trick with no effort.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have arthritis in my left thumb. So bad at one point couldn't hold an onion to slice. I use the Wusthof Ikon 4906 16 cm carving knife. It is nice and thin and makes short work of pretty well anything including meats. Highly recommended http://www.wusthof.ca/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-91/159_read-611/317_view-137/categories-137/country-can/wlang-2/categories-210

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One of the things I'm most appreciate of, is the apple/potato peeler/coreer/slicer I asked for/got last year. I have a terrible time holding a knife for very long and this allows me to go back to many old recipes I had stopped making.

http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP1010-Potato-Peeler-Suction/dp/B001DLTD1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384525323&sr=8-1&keywords=apple+peeler+corer+slicer

Thanks! Don't need that now, but someday ....

I own a similar one from Pampered Chef (thrift store find) and I have arthritis in my hands. It is a good tool but you still need some grip strength to crank it. I have used it twice this week making a pecan-apple cake, once to test the recipe, the second to send along for friends to enjoy who are at a renaissance festival going on thhis weekend that the DW and I are not part of.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I am obviously following this thread with great interest....as many of you know, I've had rheumatoid arthritis for almost 15 years now. Right at the moment, my hands are not a huge issues in terms of pain (other joints are happily picking up the slack in that regard), but they have been in the past, and the damage has been done and will be permanent.

Because of the joint damage, like the others, I have limited grip strength. Since the RA has also affected my wrists, it's multiplied by that. The damage to my shoulders has also damaged the tendons in one shoulder, so the strength in that arm is further compromised.

For me, the biggest challenge, aside from the strength issues, is the loss of fine dexterity control in my hands due to the joint damage. Picking up things that are not big and bulky is a real PITA. Thin, skinny things.....fuhgedaboudit. Skewers, toothpicks, that sort of thing.

Small caps are also tough. Bottled water/soda tops. Ketchup bottles (if they don't have a flip top....). That sort of thing. Between the lack of dexterity and the loss of strength, I can struggle with opening a bottle of water forever.

The things I've found that help most....the jar poppers like Andie linked to. They have enough leverage to break that v[acuum, the handle is bulky enough that it's easy to grip. OXO opener I use an a lot and really like it. Because of the shape, it can handle the small, "bottle" top caps, as well as the large jars. Thus far, between the "vacuum popper" thingie and the OXO, I'm managing. I gave up using a garlic press years ago. Now I bash and mince. If, for any reason, I want really, really finely minced garlic, I either use my Microplane, or do the press-with-salt-and-the-back-of-the-chefs-knife routine. This this one (actually not exactly that one, but it's basically the same thing) is what I use. Not only does it not ever come into contact with the food, so no gunky wheel (which was the initial attraction), but the large turn knob is easy to grab and the handles are comfortable.

Tongs ARE a challenge....Andie, I will have to check out the ones you linked to. I agree with those that suggested a mandoline. You can find a decent one for less than $50.00, and they're light and easy to handle, unlike a full-size food processor. Sure speeds through slicing a ton 'o' stuff in a hurry. I throw mine in the dishwasher, not sure if that's recommended, but don't much care. I *just* replaced one I'd had (and dishwashed) for about 25 years, so I don't think it's particularly an issue. Just be sure to use the pusher, they are wicked sharp when they're new. Or a cut resistant glove,

That said about food processors, I do have this [amazon='[url=http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KFC3100OB-Series-Chopper-Black/dp/B00005LA9I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384668544&sr=8-2&keywords=kitchen+aid+mini+food+processor]http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KFC3100OB-Series-Chopper-Black/dp/B00005LA9I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384668544&sr=8-2&keywords=kitchen+aid+mini+food+processor']KitchenAid mini chop and use it a ton. Small, good for us folks who only usually cook for one or two, easy to move, again dishwasher safe, and does a decent job chopping and blending. Salsa, pestos, mayonnaise, things like that. Smal batches of fresh bread crumbs. Not heavy duty, but does what it's supposed to.

Also this [amazon='[url=http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KHB1231ER-Speed-Immersion-Blender/dp/B005GFXK1K/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1384668781&sr=8-4&keywords=kitchenaid+immersion+blender]http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KHB1231ER-Speed-Immersion-Blender/dp/B005GFXK1K/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1384668781&sr=8-4&keywords=kitchenaid+immersion+blender']KitchenAid Stick Blender. Whips cream, purees soups and sauces, does what you'd expect a blender to do, but without having to heft around a blender. Easy to store, guess what, dishwasher safe, and sturdy, Had the Cuisinart version and it died in less than a year. So far, after about 3 years, this one's still running strong. Don't be tempted to get the one that has the mini-chop attachments. THEY die about the 3rd time you use them. Get the 2 separate appliances.

In general, I like the OXO Good Grips line. They give me the heft and bulk in my hand that I need. Anything that can give me leverage, a big surface to grip on to, and is relatively easy to store/lift/move is a winner in my book. The best advice I can give you is to hold something as though you were using it in your kitchen. Only then will you know if it's a good tool for you/

Now, if I could only find a motorized lifter to help me heft around my Le Creuset and Calphalon pans and the KitchenAid mixer.......*sigh*.....

....Eagerly awaiting more suggestions to make my life easier (I like the looks of that apple corer, a perennial pain in my hands.....)

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Here is another inexpensive super tool that is great for opening jars, especially large ones, better than any you can find in a kitchen gadget store. You can get one in an auto parts store. It is a oil filter wrench.

dcarch

Very cool idea! I'm on board with it ... definitely my style!

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 ... Shel


 

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"----For me, the biggest challenge, aside from the strength issues, is the loss of fine dexterity control in my hands due to the joint damage. Picking up things that are not big and bulky is a real PITA. Thin, skinny things.....fuhgedaboudit. Skewers, toothpicks, that sort of thing. ----"

For entertainment, go on youtube and search for "Japanese robots".

It is amazing what they are doing with robots. I believe at some point there will be versions of mechanical intelligent home assistants that will help people with various physical needs, or for people like me, just plain lazy. :-)

dcarch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klzSN2giygY

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The wife ha RA so I do most of the cooking. She does use the OXO stuff and the Victorinox Fibrox line of knives. Some are pairing/steak type knives with the small handles. Others are like this one (CLICK) with the larger handles that seem to work on some days.

Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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"----For me, the biggest challenge, aside from the strength issues, is the loss of fine dexterity control in my hands due to the joint damage. Picking up things that are not big and bulky is a real PITA. Thin, skinny things.....fuhgedaboudit. Skewers, toothpicks, that sort of thing. ----"

For entertainment, go on youtube and search for "Japanese robots".

It is amazing what they are doing with robots. I believe at some point there will be versions of mechanical intelligent home assistants that will help people with various physical needs, or for people like me, just plain lazy. :-)

dcarch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klzSN2giygY

Much of the time I am working in the kitchen, I wear gloves - the nitrile powder-free type because things do not slip as easily in my hands and when my joints are aching, the "warmth" of the gloves eases them somewhat when I have to put my hands in cold water - as when washing vegetables and fruits.

I got in the habit years ago when I was doing some catering (before arthritis) and it has save me a certain amount of discomfort.

  • Like 4

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Much of the time I am working in the kitchen, I wear gloves - the nitrile powder-free type because things do not slip as easily in my hands and when my joints are aching, the "warmth" of the gloves eases them somewhat when I have to put my hands in cold water - as when washing vegetables and fruits.

I got in the habit years ago when I was doing some catering (before arthritis) and it has save me a certain amount of discomfort.

Another interesting tip. As it happens, I have an almost unlimited supply of nitrile gloves, and they're free. Want some?

 ... Shel


 

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The wife ha RA so I do most of the cooking. She does use the OXO stuff and the Victorinox Fibrox line of knives. Some are pairing/steak type knives with the small handles. Others are like this one (CLICK) with the larger handles that seem to work on some days.

I have a few Victorinox Fibrox knives. I just bought a 6-inch chef knife from Swiss Knife Shop, but I couldn't help myself; I got one with a rosewood handle. Same blade as the Fibrox, though ...the rosewood looked so nice, I just couldn't pass it up.

 ... Shel


 

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The wife ha RA so I do most of the cooking. She does use the OXO stuff and the Victorinox Fibrox line of knives. Some are pairing/steak type knives with the small handles. Others are like this one (CLICK) with the larger handles that seem to work on some days.

I have a few Victorinox Fibrox knives. I just bought a 6-inch chef knife from Swiss Knife Shop, but I couldn't help myself; I got one with a rosewood handle. Same blade as the Fibrox, though ...the rosewood looked so nice, I just couldn't pass it up.

I have 2 of the 10" Victorinox knives, one fibrox and one rosewood. The fibrox is NSF-rated. IIRC the rosewood is not.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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