The center point of any homestead is the kitchen, how well it is equipped will determine your options when it comes to storing, curing, and cooking. A lot of beginner homesteaders make the big mistake to equip their homesteading kitchen just like any other kitchen. The problem with this approach is that what you might value in the kitchen if you live in a city and what is actually needed for a homesteading kitchen are different things.
There are a couple of homestead kitchen items that are must-haves, without them you are just making things a lot more difficult for yourself. The good news is that you do not need pricey or professional kitchen equipment, the bad news is that the price of small things can add up fairly quickly. Most homesteaders will take their time to get most items and there is simply no rush to head out to the store and buy everything that you might need in the future.
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Every homestead kitchen will have different utensils and equipment, mostly because people tend to equip their kitchen based on their needs. If you are new to homesteading then you should also equip your kitchen based on your needs, there is simply no point in buying stuff that you do not need in the near future but you might need one day. In addition to this if you are living off the grid and generating your own power then you have to take the power consumption into consideration as well.
One of the most important roles of a homestead kitchen is to preserve food, and this is especially important if you are growing your own food. If you are also frequently hunting and fishing then your homesteading kitchen will also have to fulfill the job of butchering and preserving meat. If you are new to homesteading and off grid living then you should check out my recent article How to prepare to live off the grid ( In 14 Easy Steps ).
1. Food dehydrator
One of the first things you will need in your homestead kitchen is a food dehydrator, this will simply dehydrate the food and thus increases its shelf life. What kind of food dehydrator you need will mostly depend on your living conditions and the area where you live. Ideally, you should use a solar-powered food dehydrator, as it doesn’t need any power, although if you are living in the northern parts of the USA then you might need an electric one.
One of the most frequently used items in a homestead kitchen are knives and trust me you do not want to cheap out on them. High-quality knives can last you for decades if you maintain them properly. On the other hand, cheaper knives tend to be extremely low quality and they will often break or have rust forming on them. Not all knives are made the same way, there are a couple of specialized knives which you will need like a butcher knife, serrated knife, bone saw, and a chef’s knife. If you want to grow crops to feed your family then check out my recent article Best crops for homesteading ( Top 16 ).
3. Cast iron pans
You will do most of your cooking in cast iron pans, these are extremely sturdy and will last you for several decades. Pans that are not made out of cast iron are not ideal if you live in a homestead, as they tend to get damaged fairly easily and you will only be able to cook with them indoors. Cast iron pans on the other hand can be easily used outdoors as well, and you can cook with them on an open flame as well.
4. Pressure canner
At some point you will be canning fruits, vegetables, and meat as well, for this, you will need a high-quality pressure canner. Some canned goods need a pressure canner in order to be canned, although you can get away with a water bath for canning some items but the pressure canner can be used for both. Pressure canners are simple to use and a high-quality one will last you for decades. Even if you live on a homestead that doesn’t mean that you have to give up all the luxuries, you can actually have an off grid dishwasher to help you out for more information check out my recent article Best off grid dishwashers ( Top 8 ).
5. Mason jars
Most homesteads do have at least a couple of mason jars, usually, these are used to can foods although with some creativity you can use them for a lot of things. If you are growing your own food then you will need a lot of mason jars and a pressure cooker for canning. Mason jars can be easily reused, as long as you clean them properly. If you are planning to make a pantry then you will need a lot of mason jars.
6. Vacuum sealer
Back in the days when vacuum sealers used to be fairly expensive, most people were using cellophane, although not ideal to seal food they did the job for the most part. Today however a vacuum sealer is a must if you are homesteading, storing food long term with a vacuum sealer is extremely easy. In addition to preserving food, the vacuum sealer makes it also easier to store food as it will shrink the packaging considerably.
7. Stock pot
You will need a couple of stock pots as well, these will be extremely useful when cooking for a large family or while processing food for long term storage. The bigger the stock pot is the more uses it will have, these will be vital if you are often butchering meat. Just keep in mind not to drag the stock pot on the ground once it is filled, as this will sooner or later cause a leak in the stock pot.
8. Bread maker
Ideally, you should make your own bread if you are living on a homestead, the problem with making bread is that it is a lot of work. Some people prefer making their bread manually, although if you do not know how to make bread from scratch then a breadmaker will be extremely useful. All you need to do is to add the required ingredients and a couple of hours later the bread is ready to be eaten.
9. Food mill
Food mills also have their place in most homesteads, generally speaking, they have two porpuses, mashing and straining. The mashing part is good for making mashed potatoes, and different sauces. The strainer part is good for peeling off the skin and the seeds of fruits and vegetables. Most modern homesteaders will tend to replace the food mill with a blender so you have some options.
10. Grain mill
If you are growing grains then you will need a grain mill in order to make flour from the grains. Grain mills are of two types, manual and electric, in addition to this, some of them are made to mill large quantities of grain. What kind of grain mill to get for your homestead will depend on what your needs are, if you grow a lot of grains and you want to make flour in bulk then go with an electrical one which can mill a lot of grains at once.
11. Kitchen scale
Most homesteaders do have a kitchen scale in their home, either an old fashioned one or a digital one. You will need the kitchen scale for measuring a lot of ingredients, for some things you can not simply eye it out. If you get a digital one then make sure to get extra batteries, if you are on a tight budget get a used old school kitchen scale, as these will have no problem working for decades, and maintaining them is extremely easy.
12. Measuring cups
Measuring cups are cups for measuring, it is as simple as that. Measuring cups are graded so you know how much of something you have in the measuring cup, combined with the kitchen scale will make cooking a lot easier. There are some people who do not use measuring cups but a kitchen scale instead, although if you are new to homesteading and cooking in general than get a couple of measuring cups.
13. Mortar and pestle
Mortar and pestles have been used for a very long time, and I bet that you can probably find one at your grandmother’s house as well. Generally speaking, these are used to grind different ingredients either alone or by combining them. They are especially useful if you want to grind some spices, as a mixer would be way too large for such a small job. I often use the mortar and pestle to grind black peppers.
14. Fermenting Crock
A lot of people tend to use a fermenting crock as decoration although they can be extremely useful. Fermenting crocks are often used for fermenting vegetables and in some cases even fruits. Although you can also ferment vegetables and fruits in jars as well, but if you want to ferment them in bulk then a fermenting crock is a must. The downsides of a fermenting crock is that it is fairly expensive, so only get one if you are going to use it.
15. Stand mixer
If you are constantly cooking in the kitchen then one of the most useful items which you should have is a stand mixer. A stand mixer is especially useful if you are often making dough, instead of manually working the dough you use the mixer. This is another item on which you should not cheap out, although high-quality ones tend to be expensive but they will last you a lot longer. If you are also generating your own power then you have to keep in mind the wattage.
A blender is extremely useful especially if you have a large family, chopping all the vegetables, fruits, and so on takes a long time and a blender can do it in a matter of seconds. The problem with blenders is that they tend to use a lot of power, so if you are generating your own power you have to keep that in mind. There are a lot of high-quality blenders on the market, so you have plenty of options, although you should get one that has low power usage and high RPM.
17. Meat grinder
Grinding up meat for later use is a good way of storing a lot of meat. No matter if you are just grinding up one type of meat or you are combining several types of meat you should also vacuum seal them and place them in the freezer. This way you will have a lot of ground meat which can be used for a lot of dishes, from hamburgers to soups and so on.
18. Cutting boards
A lot of people do not think how important cutting boards are until they find themselves without one. Every kitchen needs a couple of cutting boards and these are especially important if you are living on a homestead. Generally speaking, cutting boards are of two types, plastic and wooden. Wooden cutting boards will last you a lot longer than plastic ones. The problem with plastic cutting boards is that black mold will grow on them after a while, no matter how well you clean them.
As you can see there are a couple of items which you will need in your homestead kitchen. Now I am not saying that you should go out and get all of them, instead think of what you actually need, and what you can actually use. If your main goal is cooking then get items that make it easier if your main goal is to preserve food than get items that make preserving food easier.