Before modern-day kitchen gadgets and appliances were invented, cooking was a lot simpler. People didn’t need an assortment of automated gadgets to cook dinner every day. They used basic hand crank kitchen tools that were surprisingly effective and durable, while also lasting decades.
This post contains affiliate links.
In addition to their durability, these tools provide off-gridders with another perk: zero power draw on our off-grid battery system. Even if power isn’t a concern to you, hand crank kitchen tools are often a bit cheaper than their automated counterparts and last much longer.
With that being said, everyone should have a few of these basic tools in their homestead kitchen. Start with these seven hand-crank kitchen tools to lower your power usage and prepare your kitchen for any situation, power, or not.
1. Meat Grinder
If you do a lot of hunting in your area, you or someone you know probably owns a meat grinder. They’re great for turning non-prime cuts of meat into sausage and ground meat. For example, many hunters like to use meat from the front shoulders and neck area of a large game animal like venison or moose to make homemade sausage.
By having a meat grinder handy, you’ll be less likely to waste “off-cuts” of meat when butchering animals you’ve hunted, or raised on your homestead. Most of these less appealing cuts of meat can be put through the grinder and turned into something you’re more likely to eat.
Also, by making your own sausage and ground beef, you’ll be eliminating the possibility of any additives or preservatives in your meat. If you make it yourself, you’ll always know what’s in it.
Since their invention, electric meat grinders have become the popular choice as people prefer their speed and ease-of-use. Still, a hand-crank meat grinder costs less, has less of a chance of breaking, and even gives you a workout.
2. Grain Mill
An essential item for any prepper or homesteader, grain mills allow people to make their own flours from a variety of grains. Some of the most popular grains to mill at home include rice, barley, and wheat. These can be turned into your own homemade flour and used in all of your baking, helping to increase your self-sufficiency.
Grain mills come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the Victorio grain mill is best-suited for home-kitchen use. This hand-crank kitchen tool has a clamp to firmly attach to any countertop, making it easier to repeatedly turn the handle. It also allows you to adjust the milling size, and even grinds coffee and corn.
Grain mills don’t cost much, but they perform so many tasks in the kitchen it’s a wonder more people don’t have them. In fact, a hand-crank grain mill would make a great gift for the prepper or survivalist in your life.
3. Egg Beater
While a whisk can easily replace an electric egg beater, there’s something just so appealing about the old-fashioned hand-crank egg beaters. They remind me of hand-held manual drills, with a simple gear system to transform the cranking motion into rotary power.
Although simple, these tools are very effective. My mother bought one at a farm auction a few years ago when we were looking for some cast iron cookware. I remember being shocked at how much power and speed it produced with just a small amount of cranking effort.
It may not be as powerful as an electric stand mixer, but the hand crank uses no electricity and is small enough to be stored in a drawer.
4. Pasta Roller
This might seem like a luxury for your kitchen, but if you decide to use a grain mill to make your own flour, why not use that flour to make homemade pasta? If you haven’t made pasta from scratch before, it’s much easier than you might think. Oh, and it also tastes better than any store-bought pasta you’ll find.
Similar to meat grinders and grain mills, pasta rollers clamp onto the edge of your counter to give stability while in operation. A hand-crank arm on the side allows you to roll and press your pasta through the machine with a variety of settings and sizes for different kinds of pasta.
To learn more about making homemade pasta with your manual pasta roller, follow this guide.
5. Food Mill
This hand crank kitchen tool is one of the most versatile and necessary items to have in your homestead kitchen. Using a food mill will save you time and energy by removing the mundane automated tasks like mashing potatoes or making apple sauce.
Food mills come with a few different options which allow you to change the grind size for mashing, straining, or grating. The stainless-steel mills have been designed for easy cleaning and can process hot or cold food. This versatility will also save you time making soups, purees, and canned preservatives.
6. Butter Churner
When most people hear the words “butter churning”, they imagine a pioneer churning butter with a long wooden stave for hours at a time. Luckily, the efficiency of manual butter churning has improved since then.
Nowadays, small hand-crank butter churners with a 34-ounce capacity will make you fresh butter in less than ten minutes. Plus, they take up way less space than a traditional stave butter churner and don’t take as long to clean.
If you live on a homestead with access to fresh milk, a manual butter churner must be an essential item in your pantry. You’ll be making quick, easy butter every day before you know it.
7. Apple Peeling Machine
Compared to other hand-crank kitchen tools in this list, an apple peeling machine might seem a bit niche. However, this machine will save people hours of work during the fall harvest season.
Do you have apple trees on your property or nearby? If so, you’ve probably experienced the endless amount of apples available for picking most autumns. We collect several burlap sacks of apples each year, but processing and preserving them is always labor-intensive.
For baked goods, apple sauce, and other preparations, you almost always need to peel the apples beforehand. When you’re dealing with hundreds of apples at a time, this can seem like a daunting task to do by hand.
To save time and effort, use a hand-crank apple peeler. They clamp onto the counter to provide stability and will also core and slice the apple after peeling. These inexpensive gadgets might seem unnecessary, but they don’t take up much space and can save you an entire day’s worth of work.
Even though basically every process in a kitchen can be automated these days, like wood-burning cookstoves, having the manual, non-electric options are important for those of us living off the grid. These hand crank kitchen tools don't take up much space, but they may be exactly what you need when all else fails. And if you just want to reduce your overall power consumption, switching to the old-fashioned ways is a great place to start.
Do you have any favorite hand crank kitchen tools? Let us know in the comments below.
This post is part of the Homestead Blog Hop #315!