Mother Earth Living

8 Kitchen Must-Haves for a Self-Sufficient Home

These kitchen must-haves make preparing wholesome, homemade foods a snap.
By Jessica Kellner
July/August 2013
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Le Creuset Batter Bowls in Cherry, Soleil, Caribbean and Marseille
Photo Courtesy Le Creuset
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These kitchen must-haves make preparing wholesome, homemade foods a snap. For more powerhouse products for a healthy homestead, read the original article, 24 Goods for a Self-Sufficient Home.

1. The first thing I do when I make pickles is get out my batter bowl, which is marked for measuring cut veggies and allows room for packing cut cukes in salt and ice. Mine stays in service constantly during food preservation season, when you can never have enough big bowls. —Barbara Pleasant
Featured product: Le Creuset Batter Bowls in Cherry, Soleil, Caribbean and Marseille
    
2. Nothing livens up beverages on our homestead like bubbles! The Sodastream carbonates water, and we mix in syrups made from garden fruit, saving money and avoiding the high-fructose corn syrup and other chemicals in commercial soda. —Lisa Kivirist
Featured product: SodaStream Fizz in Red
 
3. I resisted buying a digital scale when I was learning to make soap, but it is now my most-used item! In addition to weighing oils and lye for soapmaking, I also use it for weighing produce for canning, weighing my goat milk to track daily production, and to weigh milk when making cheese. After wearing out three cheap scales, I finally decided to buy a My Weigh KD-8000 that has a 30-year warranty. It weighs in grams, kilograms, ounces, pounds and ounces, and pounds and tenths of pounds, so I don’t have to do any math when converting recipes. —Deborah Niemann
Featured product: My Weigh KD-8000 

4. A good quality, instant-read thermometer lets you gauge the temperature of water for yeast (ideally 110 degrees), which means your doughs have a better-than-average chance of performing exactly as the recipe states. You can also use it for soapmaking and to instantly test the doneness of meat.  —Karen K. Will
Featured product: Taylor 9840RB Classic Instant-Read Pocket Thermometer

5. Rösle fine tongs are the only way I like to handle food, besides my hands. They are accurate, lightweight and delicate—great to get ingredients in and out of canning jars, to turn food on a grill or in a pan, as well as to elegantly place food onto plates. —Matthew Weingarten
Featured product: Rösle Fine Tongs

6. My favorite tool for grinding herbs is the traditional molcajete, the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. Made in the traditional way from volcanic stones, the molcajete makes the taste and quality of your herbs really stand out. I made pesto in a molcajete last summer, and every one of my guests commented it was the best they’d ever had. The only difference was hand-grinding! They are inexpensive (and will last a lifetime) in the Southwest or Mexico. They can also be found in kitchen shops or online. (Be sure to get an authentic one made from rough volcanic stone.)  —Rosemary Gladstar
Featured product: Sur La Table Molcajete
     
7. Graniteware canners are charming to have in the kitchen. Their mottled finish is as iconic as gingham and looks great in country and modern kitchens alike. If you don’t have graniteware, however, you can process canned goods in any pot with a tight-fitting lid, as long as it is at least 3 inches taller than the tallest jar you are processing. —Sherri Brooks Vinton     
Featured product: Lehman’s Black Enamelware Canner

8. No kitchen is complete without a couple of reliably sharp knives. When shopping for a chef’s knife—essential for numerous tasks—hold a few sizes to discover which feels most comfortable in your hand. An offset serrated knife makes easy work of slicing bread. The sharp knives made by Korin, Wusthof and J.A. Henckels are of the highest quality and craftsmanship.  —Tabitha Alterman
Featured product: Wusthof Classic 8-inch Cook’s Knife


Kitchen Connoisseurs

Barbara Pleasant is a regular contributor to Mother Earth Living and Mother Earth News magazines. She is the author of numerous books, including Gardening Essentials.

Lisa Kivirist is an innkeeper at the solar- and wind-powered Inn Serendipity and the co-author, with husband John Ivanko, of the books Farmstead Chef and Rural Renaissance.

Deborah Niemann lives on 32 acres where she grows food, raises goats and chickens, spins wool, and makes cheese and soap. She’s the author of Homegrown & Handmade.

Karen K. Will is co-author of Plowing With Pigs and Other Creative, Low-Budget Homesteading Solutions and operates Prairie Turnip Farm in Kansas with her husband.

Matthew Weingarten is a New York City-based chef who specializes in heritage comfort food. He is a proponent of sustainability and director on the board of Chefs Collaborative.

Rosemary Gladstar is a renowned herbal teacher and practitioner and the author of many books, including Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.

Sherri Brooks Vinton is a local food and preservation enthusiast and author of several books, including Put ’em Up! and Put ‘em Up! Fruit, both published by Storey Publishing.

Tabitha Alterman is a sustainable, local and seasonal food advocate and the food and garden editor of Mother Earth Living.


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