A few of my favorite kitchen things

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

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.
Nesco dehydrator

Nesco dehydrator

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

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

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?


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3 Responses to A few of my favorite kitchen things

  1. tina c says:

    the 3-in-1 intrigues me as we are short on space in our kitchen. but honestly the best thing we bought this summer was our ceramic compost pail with the carbon filter to reduce odors. bigger than our old yogurt container (yes, we used a yogurt container), and no smell of rotting banana peels. 🙂

  2. kitsapFG says:

    The 3-in-1 looks interesting. I have a regular on the stove (smaller for just cooking purposes) pressure cooker and I use it quite a lot to cook dried beans (much faster than using traditional cooking methods), and certain meats.

    About two years ago, I broke down and upgraded my food processor by buying a Kitchenaid brand food processor. I had a small and not so good one before that. The Kitchenaid is a work horse and it sits right next to my Kitchenaid stand mixer on the counter – as I use both all the time.

    The only other appliance that I use regularly is my Nutrimill grain grinder. This is a top of the line mill and produces a really fine grade flour from whole wheat. I don’t have room on the counter for it – so I take it out periodically and grind a couple of freezer bags full of whole wheat flour and then just pop the flour into the freezer where it stays fresh and available. Works really well.

    Otherwise, I tend to go simple. A really quality well engineered knife that is kept sharp and good cooking pots etc.

  3. I love my Kitchenaid stand mixer too. I don’t have a Kitchenaid food processor. I think mine is a Cuisinart and good food processor is super handy to have as well. And totally agree about the importance of a good set of knives. As for cooking pots, I’ve recently started purchasing some cast iron pieces and have been really pleased with them. I am shifting away from all my old non-stick because it just doesn’t hold up and there are health concerns about the non-stick chemicals.

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