There’s a wide variety of great kitchen tools everyone should have, but certain equipment is very important for homesteading. In a kitchen where you will be doing a lot of cooking, baking, experimenting, canning and preserving, you want to have reliable and versatile equipment. Before the fall harvest, make sure you have these seven essential homestead kitchen tools.
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#1. Cast Iron Dutch Oven and Pan
This one’s a no-brainer. Cast iron cookware has been around for centuries and is still widely used today. It can be used in the oven, on the stovetop, BBQ, or campfire. If properly cared for, your cast-iron cookware could actually outlive you! Yup, you can pass them down to your kids and grandkids.
Cast iron skillets, dutch ovens and griddles were used by pioneers and frontiersmen over one hundred years ago. They'd bake their homemade bread, hardtack, and simmer venison stew in their dutch ovens.
The best cast iron dutch ovens come with a lid that has three little feet on it. When you flip it over, it works as a griddle. You could use it on a propane cooktop, regular oven, or even on a bed of coals in a campfire.
Classic cast iron cookware is your best bet for a homesteading kitchen instead of Le Creuset or any of the colored and enameled brands. Yes, the enameled brands are pretty, but they aren’t ideal for cooking over open flames since it marks up and blackens the paint.
Wagner and Lodge are my go-to brands for homesteading cast iron. Both companies have been around for over 100 years, and many people have passed down their cast iron through the generations. If you don’t have any, watch for sales to get a great price online.
#2. Stand Mixer
Don't have a stand mixer yet? Get one! A standard stand-mixer comes with basic attachments like the whisk and dough hook, but you can get dozens of other pieces for it.
The Kitchen Aid brand stand mixer has so many attachments it’s basically an all-in-one kitchen appliance. Here are just a few of the attachments you can get:
- Pasta roller
- Meat grinder
- Sausage stuffer
- Grain Mill
- Ice Cream Maker
- Food Processor
With such a wide range of uses, the stand mixer is a time-saving multi-use appliance in any homestead kitchen.
And while you're at it, remember to pick up at least one good quality apron. We received a couple of aprons from the good folks over at Rush Order Tees - fully adjustable, sturdy, and with enough pockets to hold all sorts of kitchen tools.
#3. Chef’s Knife
Every homesteader's kitchen should have a great chef’s knife. Use it for food prep for almost any meal. A good quality chef's knife makes the job easier whether you're chopping and slicing fresh game meat, harvest vegetables, or even fruit for pie.
When picking a knife, look for one with a single solid piece of steel from end-to-end. Also, watch for one with the handle wrapped around the blade. Some knives have the blade inserted into a handle piece, but these snap easily.
My favorite knives are Global brands and not too expensive. Mine has lasted for years. And it's easy to keep a sharp edge on it. If you do invest in a good knife, make sure you have a sharpener or whetstone to keep it sharp.
So this one is a bit controversial. Because the original homesteaders didn't have blenders. Yet a blender, especially a Vitamix is perfect for a modern homesteading kitchen.
The Vitamix is the Cadillac of blenders. They’re so powerful you can use them to make flour, nut butter, hot soup, and even your own non-dairy milk. For homesteading, the Vitamix is definitely worth the investment.
One word of warning though - they use a lot of power. So if you're living off the grid, like my parents are, you might have to stick to the old mortar and pestle, hand-grinders or even potato mashers instead of a Vitamix!
#5. Vacuum Sealer
Use a vacuum sealer for sous vide, sealing food and then cooking it in the water of a carefully controlled temperature. Or you could use it for simply marinating some meats. As an added bonus, vacuum sealing your food helps increase your storage space efficiency. So if your homestead pantry is filled to overflowing and you don't have space in your root cellar, this could be just what you need.
#6. Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a small counter-top appliance that does exactly what it sounds like. They’re incredibly versatile in the kitchen and perfect for drying out meats, making dried fish at home and preparing produce to preserve through the winter.
Whether you’re making game meat jerky, hardtack, or simply drying out some herbs and berries from your garden, a dehydrator is a must-have. (And while you're at it, take a look at getting a fermenting crock. They sure do come in handy and will soon get their own entry in this list!)
#7. Kitchen Scale
Kitchen scales make following the recipes quite a bit easier. This is especially true when you have to be very precise. For example, if you’re pickling or making a brine, you often need to use a ratio of salt to water weight.
The kitchen scale lets you measure by the gram or ounce, making it easier to calculate the ratio and ensure you have the proper amount of ingredients. For any recipe that requires ingredients by weight, not volume, you’ll need a kitchen scale. And if you're outfitting an off-grid homestead kitchen, look for a rechargeable kitchen scale. Or even an old-fashioned non-electric one.
When you're stocking a homestead kitchen, make sure you have these seven essential tools. They're all ideal for preserving, canning or drying your harvest and give you the ability to create your own base ingredients from scratch, like flour or butter.
Do you already have all of these items? Then keep some of these items in mind as gift ideas for an aspiring homesteader on your gift list.
This post is part of the Homestead Blog Hop #294!