Food preservation and storage season means spending a good amount of time in the kitchen. Many cooking and preservation tasks are made much easier with the right set of tools. I thought I share with you a few of my favorite kitchen gadgets/tools (and, no, I am not being paid for these promotions).
Ball canning set
If you plan to do any canning, you’ll definitely need a water bath canner and accessories
. The water bath canner itself is important of course, but do not skimp and be sure to get both the accessories and a good basic canning book. These tools are essential for proper canning safety. In particular, the jar tongs are a must have. Getting hot jars out of boiling water without the tongs would be near impossible and certainly dangerous. The lid wand (with magnet) makes easy work of lifting lids out of boiling water. This kit comes with the basic Ball Blue Book, but I also recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Dehydrating is also a great preservation technique. Herbs, fruits, and veggies are all good candidates for dehydrating. I mostly dehydrate fruits, but I’ve also dehydrated peppers. I’m also planning to dehydrate a number of herbs soon. You can buy a basic dehydrator with just a rack or two, but I recommend getting a variety of additional racks. This is the reason I spent a bit of extra money to order the Nesco American Harvest
. From an energy perspective, it is more efficient to dry a large batch instead of doing multiple small batches, so make sure you have extra standard drying racks and a couple of fruit leather trays as part of the overall set.
Fagor pressure cooker
My most recent purchase is this Fagor 3-in-1 pressure cooker/rice cooker/slow cooker. I do have a large All American pressure canner, but I also wanted a smaller pressure cooker for regular (non canning) cooking. When I started researching smaller pressure cookers, I came across the Fagor and was intrigued because it would allow me to replace my rice cooker and crock pot and at the same time add a pressure cooker to the mix. Clearing out a bit of shelf space was nice and I have to say I’ve been very pleased with the Fagor so far.
Cuisinart ice cream maker
Finally, I’ll end with another addition this year, an electric ice cream maker. My mother-in-law regularly makes home-made ice cream and the kids always enjoy it, so I thought I’d get an ice cream maker as well. The awesome thing about the Cuisinart ice cream maker is that it doesn’t require ice and salt to freeze the ice cream. All you need to do is freeze the ice cream mixing both, add the mixed up ice cream ingredients, and let it go for about 30 minutes. Super easy and yummy.
What are your favorite kitchen tools?