Anyone running a homestead will likely spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, whether this may be preparing daily meals or preserving a harvest for the winter months.
There’s no denying that kitchen work can be time-consuming and tiring, which is why we have put together this list of essential homestead tools, which will make your life that little bit easier.
Whether you are on a homestead or not, there are some basics that every kitchen should have, and a quality knife set is one of these. While a set is the easiest way to go, you do not necessarily need that many knives, so purchasing higher quality, individual knives is another option. All you really need is:
- A cleaver
- A chef’s knife
- A paring knife
- A serrated slicing knife
- A filet knife
If you’re investing in a quality set of knives, a knife sharpener is a must for keeping your knives in good condition. This sharpener makes use of diamond abrasives, and features three sharpening stages. It also has different angles for sharpening European knives and Asian knives.
In addition to using this for regular kitchen knives, you can also use the sharpener for serrated knives, sports knives and even pocket knives.
Just like with the knives, chopping boards are something that can be found in just about any kitchen. However, when it comes to choosing then, wood is the way to go. While plastic may be tempting, especially since these are easier to wash in a dishwasher, research has shown that plastic chopping boards retain significantly more bacteria than wooden ones do.
Bamboo chopping boards are another option, but these are similar to plastic in the way in which they harbor bacteria, and can also be quite hard, meaning that they may damage your knives over time.
While knives are essential for cutting a wide variety of foods, there will be times when you can use a pair of kitchen shears instead.
Here are just a few of the foods that you can use a pair of kitchen shears with:
- Ribs and other small bones
For those who live in warm and dry climates, a food dehydrator may not be necessary, as you will likely be able to dry fresh produce in other ways.
For everyone else, a food dehydrator can be a godsend, especially when faced with a huge harvest. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables make great snacks, and actually retain a large amount of their nutrients.
Here are just a few of the things that you can whip up in the kitchen with a dehydrator:
- Fruit leathers
- Crispy nuts and seeds
- Meat jerky
- Fruit and vegetable chips
- Green powders
- Dried herbs
While water baths can be used to can foods that have a high acidity content, pressure canners can be used to preserve just about anything, including meat. Many would argue that pressure canning is the only safe method to can foods at home, as this method will kill any bacterial spores that are present.
Even with acidic foods, a pressure canner can be used as a water bath, meaning that this is the only tool that you really need when it comes to canning foods.
Of course, if you want to use your pressure canner, you will need jars to use with it. These can be used for other purposes as well, from storing leftovers to storing dried foods and herbs.
Wide mouth varieties are the easiest to work with, as well as the fastest to clean. If you don’t want to splash out on a brand new set of jars, keep an eye out for second hand jars at garage sales and charity stores.
Although a cast iron Dutch oven is not technically an essential, it will definitely make life so much easier. Dutch ovens are so versatile, and, with a cast iron one, you will be able to use it a number of ways, from in the oven to on the stove top to on an open flame.
This versatility makes the Dutch oven the preferred cooking tool for many professional chefs. If you spend some time learning how to care for your Dutch oven, then this is an investment that could easily last you a lifetime.
When it comes to grain grinders, these come in two versions, manual and electric. There is no denying that an electric one is much faster and easier to use, but if you are trying to live more of an off-grid lifestyle, a manual one may be better suited to you.
With an electric grinder, you will be able to make about half a cup of fine flour per minute, or a full cup of coarse flour. Even if you do not need to grind wheat, barley, oats or any other grains, a grain grinder can still be used to grind other ingredients, such as:
- Herbs and spices
- Seeds that are not oily
You could technically use your grain grinder to grind meat, but this runs the risk of bacterial contamination. In addition to this, grain grinders are designed to grind dry substances, and will not be able to cope with the moisture in meat, which is where a meat grinder comes in.
Meat grinders are essential for those who raise livestock on their homestead, or even for avid hunters. You can use it to simply create a mince, or take this a step further and make your own sausages, burgers, meatballs and even pet food.
For those who grow their own fruits, especially of the citrus variety, a juice press is such an essential tool to have in your kitchen. You will be able to extract all of the juice, flavor and nutrients from your fruit, without any of the pulp. Plus, a model like the one above, which is easily detachable, is also easy to clean.
While tea balls are designed to be used for loose leaf tea, they are perfect for all of the many herbs that you grow on your homestead. From soups to mulled wines, there will always be dishes which require the infusion of certain herbs, without adding in the herbs themselves.
Spiral slicers have been a huge trend in recent years, but they are actually quite a useful tool to have in your kitchen. While you can purchase small, compact spiralizers, a multi-purpose tool will be far more beneficial to your kitchen.
A mandolin spiral slicer will not only cut your vegetables into spirals of different sizes, but can also just be used as a regular mandolin, meaning that you will be able to cut your vegetables into the thinnest of slices, perfect for a variety of different dishes.
Many people often use blenders and food processors interchangeably, but there are a couple of important differences between the two that make it worth having both.
The blades of a blender are not very sharp, but its motor is pretty powerful. This is important for a blender, as they are designed to be used with liquids. However, even though the blades will not be that sharp, a blender will still be able to cope with harder items, such as ice.
For those who often make soups or smoothies, or any other dishes that need to be silky smooth, a quality blender is a must.
Another option when it comes to blenders is an immersion blender, which enables you to blend foods directly in the pot that they are in, while they are cooking.
This blender also comes with a whisk attachment, meaning you can use it to make everything from cream to mayonnaise.
While the motor of a food processor is not as strong as that of a blender, the blades are extremely sharp and ridged, making them perfect for use with ingredients that are a little chunky.
If you need to quickly chop onions or garlic, or to crush nuts and seeds, a food processor is what you need to get the job done. You can even use it to knead bread, meaning that bread making becomes a much less labor intensive task.
If you grow and eat a large amount of fresh greens on your homestead, then a salad spinner is a tool that will soon prove to be extremely useful.
While this is a tool that you can get by without, it will not be long before you are wondering how you managed to do without one. Some salad spinners simply dry your greens for you, which in itself is useful if you are wanting to eat them straight away, but the spinner mentioned above also washes them, before drying them in just a few seconds.
Since you no longer need to use paper towels to quickly dry your greens, this will also cut back on the amount of kitchen waste.
For those who follow recipes that require precise measurements, a kitchen scale will make your life so much easier. Of course, you can always measure ingredients out by volume, but there is nothing quite as accurate as going by weight.
When it comes to choosing some scales, you need these to be water-resistant, as you may end up using them to weigh damp ingredients. You should also opt for a model that will turn itself off automatically after it has not been used for a while. This may not seem important now, but it will likely save you from having to buy multiple packs of batteries in the future.
While kitchen scales are more accurate when it comes to weighing out ingredients, there will always be times when you need to measure out items by volume.
These measuring spoons and cups are a universal size, meaning that you will be able to use them for recipes from all over the world. The fact that they are stainless steel also means that they are easy to clean, and will last a very long time.
Percolators used to be extremely common in earlier years, but were replaced by automatic drip coffee makers in the early ‘70s. While using a percolator is quite an old-fashioned way to make coffee, this is a tool that can be used on a wood stove, stove top, or even an open fire, making it extremely useful for the average homestead.
One of the main problems with coffee made with a percolator is the taste, as it’s many times strong and bitter. However, all you need to do is experiment with your percolator a bit, adjusting everything from the brewing time to the amount of water you use, until you have worked out a way to make the perfect cup of coffee.
If you grow apples, then you probably spend a significant amount of time in the fall months peeling, coring and slicing your harvested fruit. While an apple peeler, corer and slicer may seem like an unnecessary purchase, this will save you so much time in the kitchen.
The beauty of this tool is that you can choose whether you want to peel, core or slice an apple, or all three at the same time. Whether you want to dehydrate thin apple slices, slice some fruit for an apple pie, or quickly prepare apples for chutney or jam making, this is the tool to turn to.
You probably never heard of a food hugger before, but if you are often left with half cut vegetables, this is a great way to keep them fresh without resorting to using plastic. The set of five means that you will have a food hugger to suit any fruit or vegetable you may be needing to store, whether this is a banana, a grapefruit, an onion or a lime.
Many kitchens have electric can openers instead of the manual kind, but the latter can obviously work without electricity. These are made to fit a wide variety of can sizes, and while they do require a bit more effort than the electric versions, newer designs feature handles that eliminate any hand pain.
Crock pots are fantastic kitchen tools, as you can simply throw in a few ingredients and leave them to slowly cook over the course of the day, meaning that your dinner is ready for you by the time evening arrives.
Crock pots with digital timers are always handy, if you aren’t able to come back to the kitchen after a few hours to turn it off.
Here are a few of the dishes that you will be able to easily make with a crock pot:
- Soups and stews
- Pot roasts
If you like Italian food, a pasta machine is something that you will probably end up using quite a bit. Store bought pasta in no way compares to the homemade version, and while it may take a bit of practice to master pasta making, you’ll never go back to store bought pastas.
The different accessories that come with the machine mean that you can make a variety of different pastas, from lasagna to tagliolini to fettuccine.
One of the problems with harvesting large amounts of herbs is that you need to either use them immediately, or to dry or freeze them. If you choose to just store them in your fridge, you will find that they only last for a few days.
However, an herb keeper changes this, and will have your herbs staying fresh for up to four times as long. It does this thanks to a small compartment at the bottom of the container, in which you put some water. This helps them stay fresh, while the large glass container ensures proper ventilation.
For homesteaders who have access to fresh milk, a yogurt maker is a great way to easily whip up batches of yoghurt. All you need to do is mix together the necessary ingredients and then pour them in, and let the machine do the rest.
Since you’ll be able to set your own fermentation time, you will be able to dictate exactly how tart your yogurt is, as well as the level of probiotics contained within it. Yogurt makers also work with non-dairy milks, and will produce a yogurt that is far healthier than store bought alternatives.
While a hot air fryer may not be an essential for everyone, it is definitely a must for those trying to cut back on oil.
They work by circulating hot air around your food extremely rapidly, which cooks it without the need for any oil. Whether you want to fry, bake, grill or roast, a hot air fryer can do it all, and will work with both meats as well as vegetables.
If you enjoy perfectly cooked meat, a meat thermometer is a must. Digital thermometers are more accurate, and will provide a reading in just a few seconds.
Even if you do not eat much meat on your homestead, a meat thermometer can still be used to measure the temperature of a wide range of foods. From coffee and milk to candy and beer, they’re surprisingly versatile tools.
Silicone baking mats are nothing new, and have been used by professional bakers for years. If you bake a lot, such mat will not only make the task easier, but will also reduce the amount of waste.
The baking mat basically replaces the baking paper or aluminum foil that you would have used, and comes in a variety of sizes, to ensure that they fit the baking trays that you already have.
While you may think that this only means more washing up for you to do, the baking mats are surprisingly easy to clean, and they are also extremely non-stick, meaning that even foods that have a gooey, sticky glaze will be able to be lifted up off the mat with ease. For those who knead dough, this is yet another way to use the mat, as its non-stick surface means that you will no longer have to deal with sticky dough clinging to your work surface.
Funnels are another basic tool, but one that many homesteaders do not actually have in their kitchen. While some think they won’t actually use one, here are just a few of the kitchen tasks that a funnel could help with:
- Transferring ground coffee to a jar
- Pouring hot jams and chutneys into jars
- Placing herbs and spices into jars or shakers
- Transferring oils and vinegars into bottles
- Adding different mixes into water bottles
The kitchen is such an important part of a homestead, it really does pay off to spend a bit of time picking all the essential tools for it. If you have any kitchen tools on your homestead that you simply cannot live without, do tell us all about it in the comments section below.
Alina was a born and bred city girl, until she moved to the Scottish countryside in 2013 to live the self-sufficient life. Thrown in at the deep end, she spent all her time learning as much about homesteading as she could, putting theory into practice each and every day. T
oday, Alina grows large amounts of food in her garden, greenhouse and polytunnel, and also has a number of different animals that call her little farm “home”.