I’ve always had a bag of wooden skewers handy in the kitchen, even though I admittedly am not a big griller. While these long, thin, pointy-ended implements are most popular for their use in grilling kabobs or satay, I’ve come to find out that they’re useful for many other things, as well.
They’re a great stand-in for fondue forks—if you’re short a few or want to go the disposable route, just dole out skewers instead. They’ll pierce through just about anything and are strong enough to reuse, although you should designate separate ones for meat and fruit/sweets. You can even color the ends with different colored markers to tell them apart from your friends’ or guests’. Just like fondue forks, they work great for chocolate dipping strawberries, too.
Skewers also work really well for campfire (and campfire-esque) roasting when you don’t have a good stick handy, like for weenies or marshmallows. And when you don’t have a toothpick (or a piece of spaghetti) lying around, you can use them to test cakes or other baked goods for doneness. Try pinning strings of dried or fresh fruits, cheese cubes, olives, and other soft foods for quick snacks on a stick.
Speaking of food on a stick, skewers are like the rock stars of fair food, where anything that can be stuck onto them (often times followed by a nice, good deep fry) will be. Corn dogs, candied apples, fried peanut butter and jelly (oh yes, they did!)—all get a boost from skewers. You might call their thicker variety “Popsicle sticks,” but the concept is there—a long, skinny piece of wood you stick some food on.
You can also snap your skewers into smaller pieces and use them for securing sandwiches or stuffed meats. I found them to make great Popsicle sticks for this week’s Strawberry Banana Ice Cube Pops, although they were harder to break than I expected. After struggling with shears, I had to borrow my sweetheart’s wire clippers to cut them into clean pieces. You can also score them with a serrated knife and then snap them.
Of course, that last bit only applies to the wooden variety, which is widely available and super economical—you can usually find a bag of 100 or so for a buck. You can also get a set of metal skewers, which have all of these other uses, obviously last longer, and are a more eco-friendly option.