Product Type: Jamie Oliver gadgets
Newest Review: ... sure you don't lose it! The rubber is engraved with Jamie Oliver's name and the simple Flavour Shaker logo. To use the shaker you unscr... more
Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker
Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker
Member Name: alexandjef
Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker
Advantages: Mixes dried herbs well
Disadvantages: leaks, small
If a bit of kitchen kit is endorsed by a celebrity then its usually a big turn off for me, I can only imagine if it needs a celebrity name scrawled on the packaging they must be hiding something. I know this is not true, but the staunch cynic in my won't let this go - never-the-less, this 'Flavor Shaker' from Jamie Oliver is a handy tool in my kitchen and is something that gets frequent use.
I like Jamie Oliver. I know 99.9% of the population are sick to the back teeth of him by now, but I still like him. I still consider that slide down the banister thing he did at the start of 'The Naked Chef' to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I love his cooking and his recipes, for the very fact he uses simple ideas and techniques that result in great quality food so fitting then that this 'Flavor Shaker' is really simple and easy to use but can have really great results.
------THE FLAVOR SHAKER-----
Quite simply this kind of does one of the basic functions of a pestle and mortar, but in a bit more of a fancy way. I have the red one as pictured but they come in a few different colours, all however are the same elongated egg shape, again as pictured. The shaker consists of two halves which screw together and inside is a heavy little ball - feels like the weight of a marble. The shaker when screwed together has a black plastic grip that helps it from slipping as you shake it. Quite simply you unscrew it, put what you want to shake in the bottom, put the ball in screw on the top (make sure its clicked into place) and shake it.
A simple example of the result would be coriander seeds (something I smash up to use in various Indian dishes). The seeds are dry and whole before you put them in, after when you have shook some in the flavour shaker they are crushed and releasing the flavour. Once you've 'shook' what you want you can unscrew it, take the ball out and pour the just tip the contents out - its pretty straight forward.
Now, the flavour shaker is by no means doing a unique job. You can crush seeds in a pestle and mortar, with a rolling pin or end underneath the back of a spoon under a chopping board - the flavour shaker is just a bit of a cleaner, slightly quicker and slightly more effective way of doing this.
As I mentioned, this gets a lot of use in my kitchen, but it is good for some things and bad for others.
-------WHAT ITS GOOD AT-------
Its good at crushing dried herbs and mixing them together. Say a recipe called for coriander seeds, turmeric and pepper corns - all to be crushed and mixed in. Just put all these ingredients in the shaker, shake and tip out. Its a simple process that takes just a few seconds and its pretty much mess free.
Its good for releasing flavours. If you crush, say a pepper corn in this you will smash all the flavour out meaning more of it will end up in the food rather than in the pepper corn, so you can use it to enhance the flavours of you food by crushing certain ingredients.
------WHAT ITS BAD AT---------
Unfortunately, the list of what its not good at is a little longer than what it is good at. Its not very good with non-dried food. Put wet food, such as fresh basil leaves and it won't do much to them - with most sticking to the sides of the bottom, not getting crushed of mixed very well. This is something a pestle and mortar could do well as you have more control over where you are crushing and can apply more pressure.
Its not good for making dressings or mixing liquids. Its advertised as being great for mixing dressings - such as salad dressings, but when I use it for this it tends to leak an awful lot so much so I've stopped using for this purpose. Instead I mix the herbs in this and then transfer them into an old small bottle with a screw lid and then add oil, and use this. None leaks from this unlike the flavour shaker that leaks not only a considerable amount but has leaked more and more the older it has got, suggesting the screw is wearing out.
Its small. You can crush quite a bit in this, but say you we're making salad dressing as it suggest you do you could only make a enough to dress 1-2 salads.
The cleaning of this however is a big plus point as its super simple. Take the ball out and rinse the ball, then just run the two halves under a tap, wipe with a soapy cloth and then rinse. The entire cleaning process takes 30 seconds max.
Something great about this is even with a quick clean the flavours from the last use are washed off easily so next time you use it, it won't taste of the last thing you mixed.
All in, I like this despite is actually has limited use. When recipes call for various herbs I mix them in this together first as it enriches the flavours and generally lifts good food to great food. I would hope it would leak less, but alas - it doesn't so I this function is only there if you're OK inadvertently risking redecorating your kitchen. I have tried adding raw garlic to it to see if it will crush it as you could in a pestle and mortar, but it just comes out a bit squashed - so I still use a pestle and mortar for this, which takes a little longer but is a bit more satisfying.
A huge part of me wants to write this off as a useless kitchen novelty, but despite the fact it does several jobs poorly and one well - I still find myself using it quite often and would recommend it if you cook with dried herbs a lot, or generally like experimenting in the kitchen. It will set you back about £10 on Amazon at the time of writing.
Summary: Despite its short comings, this mixes herbs well
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