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So you want to homestead, do you? While we women are living in a time when we aren’t “expected” to cook, clean, raise the children, and do all of the other jobs inside the home, it’s inevitable that, if you want to be a farming family, someone needs to do these things. I’ll be the first to admit that I fully expect my husband to help around the house. Cooking, laundry, cleaning, caring for the kids – The are all jobs for two people. When it comes to baking bread, I can tell you that I’m awful at it, unless I use a bread maker! My husband, however, is the master when it comes to making bread from scratch! He has perfected his recipe and has even made alterations to make different kinds of bread.
Between the domestic duties inside the home, and the physical duties around the farm, it’s important that all family members pitch in to help and keep things running smoothly. But I can tell you that I am much more skilled at making homemade foods than my husband, for the most part. And there are some very fun, cool, and handy tools for the kitchen that are essential for me so I can continue to make homemade foods, which cuts down on how much money we spend at the grocery store.
- My KitchenAid Mixer is pretty much the best mixer I’ve ever used, and I’ve been baking since I was about 13 years old. While I am a huge fan of frugality, it is also important not to spend money on lower priced items that may not last as long as higher priced, better quality items. I promise, in the long run, you’ll spend a lot less money this way! Sometimes, we have to spend money to save money.
- Second, you need a great set of cast iron cookware. This set is great, and isn’t outrageously expensive. Here’s the thing about cast iron: it’s naturally non-stick, easy to clean, it fortifies food with iron, and they’re pretty much indestructible. Here’s a great article about how to properly clean and season your cast iron cookware so it lasts forever! You won’t be disappointed with cast iron and the numerous foods you can cook in it! Check out this post from the Food Network for suggestions.
- A good, quality food processor is a must-have for the homestead kitchen. You can slice, dice, chop, puree, shred, grind, and more. Now, if you choose to go with the Kitchen Aid mixer above, you can buy a food processor attachment, which will make all of your cooking and baking a snap! Or, you can opt for a separate food processor like this one. No matter which one you choose, you won’t be disappointed. A food processor makes quick work of chopping and dicing! No more tears when you need those onions chopped up!
- A Crock Pot is so super handy, and helps maximize your time in the kitchen. Set it up in the morning, throw in meat, veggies, and potatoes, and you’re good to go for the rest of the day. You don’t have to worry about making sure you’re inside at a certain time to start dinner, or worry about watching the food. The best Crock Pot is a Crock Pot with a timer setting, so it’ll shut off after so many hours. So, super convenient for the busy homesteader!
- A quality knife set is invaluable for tackling all of your cooking and baking fun! Stainless steel is a great option, as well as a set that can be sharpened, so you don’t have to replace your knives every time they go dull.
- Who else likes beef jerky, dried fruit, and veggies? Me too! Well, you can dry and preserve your own foods with a food dehydrator. This will reduce costs, is all natural, and give you the ability to save foods longer. And there you have it! Money saved!
- Plan on making soups and stews? Yes, we can do that with our crock pot, but sometime we need a stock pot, depending on the recipe, and on how we want our food cooked. My husband and I love making kale soup, and while I’m sure we could make it in our crock pot, we choose to use our large stock pot.
- As a New Englander, I love ice cream year round. I don’t tend to care how cold it is outside! But most ice creams in the stores have a lot of sugar in them, and I’m super conscientious about how much sugar I take in and how much I give to my family. My husband is diabetic, and my kids, well, I just don’t want them consuming too much sugar. I try to use stevia when I can. So, what better item to have than your own ice cream maker! You can use whatever you want as a sweetener, meaning, you can eat ice cream and still stay away from that nasty sugar!
- Ok, friends! This next item is so superly, awesomely spectacular! Who doesn’t love their own, fresh squeezed juice? Well, this baby right here is the ultimate! It’ll make apple cider/juice, grape juice, and…wait for it, mama’s! Wine! Yes! Make your own wine! I’m so there!
- If you plan on processing your own meats, a meat grinder is essential in your kitchen. You can add the meat grinder attachment to your Kitchen Aid mixer attachment arsenal (phew! That was a mouthful!) Again, another invaluable tool when you’re living off of the resources on your farm. This attachment is also great for making bread crumbs, shredding cheeses, and combining dips, salsas, and spreads. Multi-purpose!
- Another attachment for your mixer (are you noticing a pattern here?) is a grain mill. Once again, if you’re going to be living off of the resources on your farm, you need these tools in order to process what you grow, so you can use those resources for cooking and feeding your family. That’s the whole point, right?
- I mentioned above that I do not do bread without a bread maker, right? Well, I’ve made some awesome breads in my bread maker! Hawaiian bread, Portuguese sweet bread, oatmeal bread, and more. Luckily, bread makers tend to come with small recipe books, which has been helpful to me. I also find recipes online. My favorite thing about a bread machine is, like a Crock Pot, you can set it and forget it. All of the ingredients go in, you press a few buttons, and done!
- This item doubles as a pressure canner and pressure cooker. If you’re going to run a homestead, learning how to can and preserve foods is an essential skill to have. Just make sure you’ve got a quality canner so you can do the job correctly.
- A rolling pin. Yes, I know. I said it. But we all love pies! You’ve got to have a rolling pin to make pie crust. Or, what about pizza? You might want to make homemade pizza! Yum! You’re going to be working with dough’s and crusts and such. Get yourself a good, quality rolling pin.
- You’re going to need various utensils, colanders, strainers, cheesecloth, spoons, spatulas, and such. While you’re out there shopping for the big items, make sure you’re also looking for quality utensils, otherwise, you’ll be using your hands to stir! 😉
While this isn’t a complete list of items that you may want in your homestead kitchen, these are essential, must-have items that any homesteader, and cook (male or female) can’t live without. These items make short work of so many kitchen tasks, which will free up your time for everything else that needs to be done. While homesteading does require us to be frugal, it also requires efficiency. And, remember, we need quality items so we’re not constantly spending money to replace them. That isn’t frugal at all!
What are your essential, homestead kitchen items? Did we miss something important? Let us know in the comments!