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Using Squeeze Bottles in the Kitchen

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Restaurants use all kinds of tricks of the trade to make cooking tasks easier and more efficient.  I’m currently working on an article for another project about restaurant kitchen tips you can use at home and decided to post my favorite one here.

Restaurant chefs love squeeze bottles – the kind like they used to use for ketchup and mustard. In Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain goes as far as to declare them as “indispensible”.  They come in handy when the cook wants to dispense small amounts of sauces or purees in a creative, stylish manner, but my favorite use, by far, is for dispensing oils.

We’ve all seen a chef or TV cook show host dispense small amounts of oil from a bottle by partially covering the spout with his or her thumb.  It may look cool, but it takes a little practice. Invariably you end up with a little oil on your thumb.

Squeeze bottles, however, work much better.  They give you far more control and none of the mess.  In my pantry, I keep a bottle of olive oil and a bottle of canola, the two cooking oils I most frequently use. When I need to put a little oil in a pan, I grab one of the bottles and squirt in precisely the amount I need.  When I need to be more precise, it’s a lot easier measuring out a spoonful of oil from a squeeze bottle than it is from a larger bottle. And I don’t have to fiddle with a screw cap.

You can pick up a set of three 12 ounce bottles online for well under $8. I recommend clear ones for obvious reasons.  Use an indelible marker and put the name of the oil on the outside.  If you don’t cook with oil frequently, then empty a bottle completely before refilling.  This will prevent mixing old oil with the newer.

This is one restaurant kitchen trick that I guarantee you’re going to love.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Julius February 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Ah, well. That’s actually what I wanted to purchase at the end of the month. I don’t understand why so few people use them. I’ve used them several times and they are simply great. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Erin from Long Island March 6, 2013, 7:12 am

    I like to be eco-friendly and reuse squeeze bottles from things like mustard, ketsup, etc

  • Kevin September 20, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I just bought a couple for myself. Question though… How important is it to cover the oil squeeze bottle after use? Is it safe to keep opened on the counter?

    • David Ellis September 20, 2013, 2:15 pm

      The answer depends largely on how much oil you use. While air is one of the three enemies of oil (heat and light are the other two), the hole in a squeeze bottle is so small, it should not affect the shelf life even over several weeks. However, if you don’t cook with oil very frequently, you might want to use a small plastic cap or store your oil in the fridge.

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