Self We share some top tips and discover gadgets that will allow you to cook up a feast with ease WORDS: Louise Parfitt KITCHEN WIZARDS T he frustration a jar can cause became apparent to me from a young age. My nan housebound by rheumatoid arthritis struggled to open her favourite jam. Our solution was to undo those tricky lids for her when we unloaded her shopping and put them back on loosely or covered with foil. But occasionally one jar would slip through our system, so nan would have to eat plain toast for breakfast For opening and leave the offending jar for our next visit. jars and bottles, I Fortunately, there are now plenty of gadgets and tools to make life in the use a Baby Boa style of kitchen easier, meaning we dont have to go without our strawberry jam. 1 Jar and bottle lids There are various devices available to help open lids. Dome-shaped openers are made from a slip-resistant material and are placed over the lid to give you a better grip; screw-lid openers have a handle to give you better leverage; and there are openers that are mounted under a worktop that you push the lid into and twist to release. Look out for lids that come in two parts. Inspire reader Chris Harvey discovered these on cranberry sauce jars, telling us: Twisting the outer ring releases the vacuum, reducing the force needed to open the jar. 2 A HELPING HAND opener [see image, above] as I cant squeeze the other designs. Cans and tins An electric tin opener was one of the best gadgets we bought for my nan and many of you seem to agree. Rachel Humphreys says: Its fab it helps me enormously. You can also buy ring pull openers quite cheaply (such as this one from Mobility Smart: 3 Pots and pans 4 Utensils Consider swapping to lighter aluminium saucepans. Look out for ergonomic handles that make holding and balancing a pan easier. Reader Michaela Cotterell also recommends using a metal or heat-proof strainer or colander inside a pan of boiling water for cooking veg, rice and pasta it will be easier and safer to empty the pan once youve taken the food out and the water has cooled. It can be easier to lift pasta, rice and vegetables from a pan using a slotted spoon. The Arthr range, developed with Versus Arthritis, features a lightweight set of kitchen utensils that includes a spoon, a slotted spoon, a spatula and a pasta grabber that are designed to allow your wrist to maintain a neutral position (see A food processor can aid with chopping, grating and mixing. Peeling can be made easier by using a wide-handled vegetable peeler, such as the ones in the Oxo range at Spring-loaded scissors that open by themselves can be useful for packets. Think about how a dish can create more than one meal. Freeze leftovers for the days when you are sore and tired. Janie Brindley, Versus Arthritis Facebook page 5 Be kind to yourself Remember it is okay to adapt. Consider buying pre-chopped meat and vegetables, frozen vegetables, jars of crushed garlic, and packets of grated cheese to reduce the amount of time and effort cooking takes and dont be afraid to ask for help. 6 Slow and steady A slow cooker can be a game-changer. Michelle Auckland says: I like to prep in the morning ready for when Im tired later. One-pot meals are great if Im having a bad day, and my family can help themselves, too. 7 Comes out in the wash If bending over a sink is an issue, try raising your washing up bowl on blocks or putting another bowl underneath. You can also buy bowls with a drainer in them. A HELPING GOOD HAND AskSARA is an online self-help guide that gives advice on gadgets PLACE and equipment to make everyday activities easier. Arthr is a social venture from Versus Arthritis that designs and develops great products to help people with arthritis get on with daily life. Its kitchen range includes a two-handled teapot and the Knork a fork and knife in one that allows the user to cut up food using a simple rocking motion. One user said: It is easy to use and very useful for eating out when I dont want to have to ask someone to cut my food up for me. Diana Harvey, Versus Arthritis Facebook page