My Top 10 Kitchen Essentials
When starting this healthy living journey I began first with my cleaning supplies and very quickly moved onto the food we eat. I began weeding out a lot of the pre-made foods and replaced them with from scratch versions at home. This meant that this horrible cook would have to figure out how to use the kitchen... it's been quite the learning curve, that I am still on - for sure.
I very quickly learned that if you plan on making most (if not all) of your food from scratch there are a few tools that will make the whole process easier and not so daunting. I functioned without all of these for a while but now that I have added them to my kitchen I know I'd never want to go back!
I am leaving out traditional things like knives, cutting boards, strainers, spoons, mixing bowls, etc....
Some of these are super cheap and some are more of an investment.
1. Mason Jars
I could do a whole blog post on my love for mason jars. We use mason jars all the time in our home. I have an assortment of half gallon size, quart size, pint size, 12 ounce, and half pint size mason jars.
The half gallon size we use for fermentations, storage, and my husband uses them to take a large amount of water to work. The quart and pint size we use for drinking glasses and storage. And the 12 oz and half pint size mason jars we use for kid cups. When giving mason jars to small children you can get silicon sleeves so they aren't as easily breakable. They also have sippy cup tops for when they are very tiny.
All in a variety of regular and wide mouth sizes. However, I do prefer the wide mouth.
What makes the mason jars so versatile is the accessories that you can buy to go with them. We use the plastic straw lids and straws to serve drinks and smoothies to kids. As well as very simple to-go cups that won't spill in the car. We also use the plastic lids to easily store left overs or covers for my fermentations.
I could go on and on about all the different ways that we use mason jars on a daily basis. I just love the fact that I have a cabinet full of different sized mason jars and I can utilize them throughout the day as needed.
Mason jars and accessories I have/use:
Wide Mouth - Half Gallon
Wide Mouth - Quart
Wide Mouth - Pint
Regular Mouth - 12 oz
Regular Mouth - Half Pint
Regular Mouth Straw and Lid
Wide Mouth Straw and Lid
Regular Mouth Plastic Lid
Wide Mouth Plastic Lid
Wide Mouth Fermenting Lids
Regular Mouth Sippy Cup Top
Regular Mouth - Half Pint Silicon Sleeve
Regular Mouth Foaming Soap Tops
Regular Mouth Shaker Top
2. Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets are the first thing I invested in when I started my journey to healthy living. There are tons of articles that talk about the chemicals that are found on traditional non stick pans. I won't get into that here but I recommend doing that research yourself if you're interested.
I admit there is a learning curve when it comes to cooking with and caring for cast iron. But once you get it down it will become second nature. I can easily transfer them from the stove to the oven, cook baked goods (i.e. sourdough english muffins), and get extra iron in my diet. It heats evenly, non-stick, can be used as a pizza stone, and can hold high heats for searing meat.
I will be doing a full blog post on cast iron soon!
3. Cheese Grater
I probably use this tool every other day at the very least. I don't like to buy pre-shredded cheese so instead I buy the cheese blocks and shred them buy hand as needed. We defiantly like to add cheese to most meals. I use it to slice up vegetables finely when a dish calls for it or make hash browns with potatoes. Occasionally, I'll use it to add the vest of a fruit.
I also use this to grate up bees wax and soap blocks.
This is also used pretty much everyday. We are totally a smoothie family. I like to make them for breakfast or an afternoon snack. You can find our milk kefir smoothie recipes here.
I also like to make my own salad dressings, nut milks, sauces, and homemade ice-cream in my blender.
I have an instant pot brand blender. It is on the expensive side. The blender works great and is very powerful, however it is super heavy. I could get buy with a cheap $28 blender just fine.
5. Instant Pot
I don't use this everyday but man does this make life easier when I do. This is probably a 3-4 times a week item. I mainly use this to make homemade yogurt, gap approved bone broth, 7 minute elderberry syrup, and cook up a spaghetti squash in 10 minutes. But we also cook chicken, roasts, and other meals in it too.
It also functions as a slow cooker, however I very rarely use that function.
6. Food Processor
I love love love my food processor. I most likely only use this twice a week but man does it come in handy when I need it. We like to make our own sauerkraut and this makes that process so easy. But mainly I use our food processor to chop up nuts for our homemade granola. It's a weekly staple that my kids absolutely love.
You can a find a chocolate granola recipe here.
7. Swivel Peeler
This one may seem pretty random but we really do use this tool a lot. My kids like to eat carrots as a snack throughout the day and we don't buy the baby carrots. Instead we buy the big bag of whole carrots. I just quickly peel a large carrot and they have a healthy snack.
It also makes peeling potatoes, apples, and other vegetables a breeze.
8. French Press
This one is admittedly a little off the beaten path.... However, I can't leave this guy out. I have a full blog post about how we make coffee with our french press found here. It really makes some of the best tasting coffee.
You can also use it to brew loose leaf tea.
9. Immersion Blender
We use our immersion blender to make homemade mayo, whipped cream, homemade alfredo sauce, single serve smoothies, for homemade applesauce, pureeing pumpkin, and thickening soups in the pot.
I love that it is easy to clean and doesn't take up much storage space. It makes thickening soups so much easier than transferring hot soup into a blender, then back into the pot.
You can also buy separate attachments like a mini food processor and whisk.
10. Garlic Press
We love garlic over here. I like to add it to every dish that I can think of and double the garlic amount in recipes.
Is it hard to mince garlic by hand? No. But since I add it to so much this makes the cooking process much more efficient.
This may not be a true essential, because if it did break I'm not exactly sure how quickly I'd run out and get another one. But I would defiantly miss it.
So, these are my work horses in the kitchen. These have been collected over time, I didn't go out and buy all of these at once. But if you are looking to start cooking more from scratch in your home these will defiantly be worth the investment. If one of these things were to break I'm pretty sure I would need to order another right away.
Thank-you so much for taking time out of your day to hang out here!