For the home cook, nothing is more frustrating than using inefficient tools. While countless gadgets on the market claim to help amateur chefs prepare a delicious gourmet meal with no fuss, the honest truth is that most of these are no more than marketing ploys designed to part you from your money. See below for a list of the time saving tools that we think are worth your money – some of which are practically free.

1. A glass jar – Irritated at the fiddly process of peeling garlic cloves before dicing or crushing them? Believe it or not, a simple glass jar with a tightly fitting lid is one of the best time saving tools in any garlic lovers' kitchen arsenal. Simply toss a few unpeeled cloves of garlic in the jar, affix the lid and give it your best maraca shake – within seconds the cloves will be shorn of their wrapping and ready to mince.

Glass Jar (PD)

2. Salad spinner – A great way to shave time off of your daily salad prep time is to forgo finicky towel drying after you wash your lettuce, rocket or spinach leaves. Spinning them dry in a salad spinner is fast, efficient and easy to clean, meaning your dinner will be ready in a hurry. This tool can double as a strainer or a bowl, meaning you have less to clean up after the meal.

3. Apple corer – While it may seem limited in its usefulness, an apple corer is the unsung hero of any baker's kitchen, making the preparation of pies, sauces and salads simple and quick. Rather than fiddling around with a paring knife and losing valuable edible bits to the compost, a corer precisely and neatly gives you a perfectly prepared apple or pear, and can even be used to prepare fun snacks out of other fruits and veggies.

4. Microplane zester – A microplane is an amazing tool, useful not only for wood workers but for chef, from amateur home cooks to the commis at a posh restaurant. Ideal for zesting lemons, oranges, limes and other fruits, a microplane can also be used for grating nutmeg, cocoa beans and other hard seeds, as well as mincing garlic and ginger for salad dressings and all manner of hard cheese. Genius.

5. Coffee pods – When it comes to machines that can save you time in the kitchen, a Tassimo coffee machine is key. Portions of coffee are already pre-packaged into convenient pods and can be slid easily into the coffee machine, making this the ultimate in ease for the home. Tassimo's range in particular shows how an affordable machine can transform your kitchen.

6. Can openerA good can opener is the unsung hero of the efficient kitchen – without a reliable and easy to use device you can be left without tomatoes, coconut milk, tuna or beans when you need them the most. A rusty or stiff can opener can hinder your preparations and end up costing you loads of time – ensure you have a great gadget before you get started.

Investing in a few affordable kitchen gadgets can truly change your cooking experience and make you look forward to cooking dinner – even on your busiest nights. Do you have any time saving kitchen gadgets that you can't live without? Share your favourites in the comments below.

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