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The equipment and tools you need in a traditional foods kitchen is a little different than a standard kitchen. Because you are preparing most or all of your food from home, you need more equipment than you would if you were eating prepared, convenience foods.
When our family started following the Weston A Price diet, I found myself in the kitchen more frequently and I found it tricky and time consuming preparing food without certain items. Some gadgets are not necessary but helpful depending on the types of food you like to make.
Instant Pot & Slow Cooker
If you asked me what I think of when I think of my kitchen, the instant pot is the first thing that comes to mind. While this is not how our ancestors prepared their food, it helps me prepare healthy food more easily. It does double as a slow cooker and contains a non-toxic, stainless steel inner pot. However, if you don't like instant pots or pressure cookers, I would recommend getting a VitaClay slow cooker.
I like being able to put a roast in the pot, come home later, and have dinner ready right away. Slow cooking also makes meat more tender and tasty.
You can cook many of these dishes on your stove, but with the instant pot, the cook time is more accurate, it's more hands free, there's less pots to clean, and many things will cook faster in the instant pot than the stove. I have the 8qt Duo Crisp Instant Pot with air fryer lid (which is nice for browning meat, dehydrating, and making crispy food like homemade French fries).
A stock pot or large dutch oven is a necessity when you are making broth and stock regularly. I also use my dutch oven when I make sourdough bread.
Having a grain mill is not essential, but there are more nutrients in freshly milled flour. It also makes my sourdough starter more active, so I prefer to use freshly milled flour. I recently wrote a whole blog post on grain milling, so if you are interested in getting a grain mill, check out that post for more detailed information.
Blender, Food Processor & Immersion Blender
You do not have to have all three of these (you could definitely get away with not having an immersion blender), but they are necessary for making smoothies (I make mine with kefir), sauces, butter, blending soups, and they make chopping food much more efficient.
My food processor has been a huge time saver when it comes to making sauerkraut. If you eat sauerkraut almost daily like we do, then you will be making sauerkraut every week or two. I use the slicing blade on my food processor and feed the cabbage chunks through the chute to save time.
I personally do not have one of these and do not think they are essential. However, if you prefer freshly pressed juices or if you are on the GAPS diet, I would recommend one. If you only juice occasionally, you can use a blender and then strain out the pulp.
This is another device that I personally do not own and wouldn't say it is essential, but it is helpful in some instances. I am able to dehydrate things in my oven, like when I make crispy nuts, but it does use up a lot of energy. I also have to plan to be home during that time since I wouldn't want to leave the oven on while I am out. This can be inconvenient if you dehydrate things often, and in that case, I would recommend getting a dehydrator.
Vegetable Spiralizer & Peeler
This is another optional item, but I personally use a vegetable spiralizer regularly to make veggie noodles. We don't eat as much grain due to food intolerances, so we either have to use gluten free noodles or veggie noodles.
You can get electric spiralizers or manual crank-style spiralizers. There is also a kitchen aid attachment (which also peels produce) if you have a kitchen aid mixer.
I personally love my kitchen aid mixer. You can mix things by hand, however it is a little more effort to put together doughs, whip egg whites, and make whipped cream without a stand mixer.
I love our Berkey water filter. It has served us well and is low maintenance. I especially recommend it for renters or those who aren't able to install a reverse osmosis system. I would not recommend drinking tap water. You definitely need something to filter out chemicals in the water.
For non-toxic cookware, I would stick to stainless steel, cast iron, glass, and stoneware. Avoid non-stick pans and anything made with aluminum. Sometimes pans that have an aluminum core but are coated in something else like ceramic can be okay, but if the pan gets scratched at all, you will need to toss it.
Make sure you are using stainless steel or wood utensils while cooking as well.
Cheesecloth and Strainers
These come in handy when you are making recipes that include cultured dairy, stock, and bone broth. Its good to have strainers and colanders made of different materials and that have different sizes of holes. Some ferments and cultured dairy require that you use a non-reactive strainer like wood or plastic. I normally don't have plastic in my kitchen, but I keep a plastic colander for cultured dairy recipes.
Glass Mason Jars and Fermentation Lids
Glass jars are definitely essential (and cheap!) in a whole foods kitchen. I recommend getting wide mouth jars and lids, and jars in a variety of sizes. It is helpful to get a few plastic lids because the metal lids sometimes leave a metallic taste in fermented foods.
Fermentation lids are optional but I highly recommend them. I have rarely had mold issues since I have been using fermentation lids. When I don't use the special lids, I've had to throw out my ferments more often. Also make sure you have weights to push the fermented produce below the brine and a canning funnel to make it easier to fill the jars.
Non-Toxic Food Storage
Avoid Tupperware and plastic food storage containers. The chemicals used to make the plastic leeches into food, especially hot food. This also goes for water bottles and drink containers. Instead, opt for glass or stainless steel containers.
Our deep freezer has saved us a lot of trips out to the farm as well as money. Its a lot easier and cheaper to buy a bunch of raw milk at once or part of a cow and store it in the deep freezer. This is especially true if you live far away from local farms. It's also reduced our household food waste.
A few other easy swaps are swapping out plastic wrap for beeswax wrap, swapping aluminum foil for unbleached parchment paper, and freezing items either in glass containers or wrapping them tightly in wax paper and tying them up with kitchen twine. When I need to bake something covered, instead of using aluminum foil, I will cover the dish with a silicone cover, making sure that the silicone doesn't touch the food. It's not ideal, but I prefer it over aluminum foil.
These are some of the items we have in our traditional food kitchen. I want to add that these items are in addition to some of the items that you might see in a standard kitchen, like cutting boards, knives, and mixing bowls. However, you need a few more things when you are cooking from scratch and producing your own food.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!