Japanese Rice Washing Bowl Review

Review:

After purchasing the Work Bench ‘N Box toy tool set for my son, I realized that I was just a few dollars short of being able to get free shipping from Amazon, so I went looking for something cheap to make up the extra. I happened to stumble on this Japanese Rice Washing Bowl for $4.79 and clicked the buy button faster than you can say “Sushi!” Washing rice, buckwheat groats, and other small grains has been a major annoyance of mine for years, since some grains inevitably fall through or get stuck in my regular colander, and doing it in a bowl makes it difficult to drain properly without risking dumping everything in the sink. This bowl seemed like the answer to my prayers.

I was impressed by the sturdiness of the plastic when I pulled it out of the box and since receiving it, I’ve used it a number of times on various small grains and similar foods, as well as occasional larger things like mushrooms or Bing cherries. The holes on the bottom are so small that it can be a little difficult to get the last drops of water out, but there are somewhat larger holes near the top that can help. There is a lip below the larger holes that slows down the rice (or whatever you’re washing) while allowing water to escape. All-in-all, I’m very pleased with it and only wish I’d discovered it years ago.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

GreenGood Composter Model GG-20

greengood-electric-assist-composter After years of living in our own home, we had to move back into an apartment last year due to a change in jobs and a cross-country move. One of the things I miss most about my house is my compost pile and backyard chickens. My girls would come running whenever they saw me coming out the door with my silver compost pail, and they’d spend hours every day picking through the pile for edible scraps, worms, and other yummy treats. It was not just fun to watch, it also kept several pounds a week of vegetable peelings and other food waste out of the local landfill, while providing rich soil for my garden and reducing feed costs for the girls.

After saying goodbye to this idyllic scene, we moved into an apartment with a cramped kitchen, no balcony, and no municipal composting program, so I’ve been reluctantly forced to consign our food waste to the landfill. I hate it, and miss my girls more with every handful of carrot peelings I toss out, so I’ve been researching indoor composting options.

The most popular option for indoor composting seems to be vermicomposting, but as a lifelong cold composter, I’ve never bothered with fussy stuff like the ratio of green to brown waste – I just dump it all in as it becomes available and assume it will come out in the wash. And it does, albeit slowly. With worms, you have to worry about things like pH or they’ll die. I’ll be honest, it seems like too much work to get it right, and I don’t want to be responsible for a bunch of dead worms if when I inevitably mess up. I’m a softie and that sort of thing upsets me.

Compost tumblers may be another option, but I’ve heard odor can be a problem with them.

I was feeling a little discouraged about it all when I stumbled upon this article by The Green Mama, which introduced me to another option: The Red Dragon electric assist composter, aka GG-20. (Note: the article was written in 2012, and the model now appears to be silver.)

According to the review, the Red Dragon odorlessly converted kitchen scraps into compost within 12-24 hours, all in the space of a typical trash can. Zowie! Perfect for a cramped kitchen like mine!

Here’s a video of the Red Dragon’s big brother the White Dragon at work:

Now the downsides:

First, cost and availability. The Green Mama’s review reports that electric assist composters cost $300-900. Ouch. The Red Dragon itself seems to be a Korean product and not widely available in North America, though I found a Canadian owner who reported a price of $680.

Second, electricity consumption. My first reaction to the concept of an electric-assist composter was bafflement over why one would add electricity to a process that doesn’t need it, especially when a large part of the motivation for composting in the first place is to go green. The manufacturer’s website reports that the unit requires a relatively substantial 60-90 kWh/month which is comparable to the energy consumption of a 14-19 cubic foot Energy Star refrigerator.

Despite my concerns about the energy consumption, I’ve decided to tentatively add the GreenGood GG-20 to my wishlist because the size, speed, and odorlessness with which it operates sounds perfect for my needs in other respects, but I’d love to hear more accounts from people who have owned or tested the Red Dragon or its successor, the Silver Dragon. Does it work as well as reported?

Vidalia Chop Wizard Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Due to a combination of poor knife skills and worse knives, I’ve never been very good at dicing, so I bought the Vidalia Chop Wizard to help. It dices beautifully, and I use it frequently, probably more days than not. Cutting veggies up into smaller pieces makes it easier to get them into my childrens’ stomachs. So I definitely consider this $20 extremely well spent.

However, it’s not perfect. It’s surprisingly loud to operate and depending on what you’re dicing, it can require a fair bit of force to use. It can be a little fussy and time consuming to clean as well.

Note: Be wary of unethical sellers passing off cheap knock-offs as the real thing on Amazon. I got mine at Target to be safe.

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

[Read more…]