Let’s face it. The modern kitchen isn’t built for the homestead lifestyle. Even after several renovations, my relatively small kitchen requires several key tools to create maximum functionality. If you’ve ever wondered the key items I simply can’t live without, well today is your day. From dutch ovens to wooden spoons and everything in between, load up on these simple tools to make your daily food preparation a breeze.
Some highlights from the episode:
For my exclusive spoon butter recipe, click the link below.
If you're falling in love with the idea of an old-fashioned kitchen full of incredible homemade food, check out my free Heritage Kitchen handbook at http://www.heritagekitchenhandbook.com
Welcome to the old fashioned on purpose podcasts . If you're working on creating a homestead kitchen, whether you live in town or in the country and you're wondering what's really necessary. I'm taking you inside my personal kitchen on today's podcast to show you what I cannot live without after cooking like a homesteader for the last 10 years. I'm your host Jill winger and I help people just like you who feel uninspired by modern life. Learn how to leave the rat race and create the life you really want by growing your own food and mastering old fashioned skills. So I would say that the average modern day kitchen is designed basically for folks to make boxed Mac and cheese or microwave those take out leftovers. Am I right? And when we start using our kitchen, like great-grandma actually would have, well things have got to change just a little bit. So mine, as I'm sure many of yours are as as well, is a working homestead kitchen. That means that we do battle together on a regular basis. As I ferment, can, saute, bake, roast and preserve. It is by far the most used room in my entire house. And of course when company comes over, even though we have a big living room, everyone congregates in the kitchen. And the fact that I use my kitchen hard shows in the ever present crusty bits of who knows what that always lives on the cabinet doors and behind the faucet. But I love it. Now my kitchen, even though we've remodeled it several times over the years, is also still a pretty small space, which means I'm very picky when it comes down to the tools I keep or buy . I am fanatic about only using timeless, durable tools. And really most of the things I'm using now are technically things I could pass down to my kids. So here is my list of the homestead kitchen tools I cannot live without number one. Definitely the top spot here goes to cast iron. Sure. You're probably not surprised. It's durable, it's affordable and it lasts forever. So I absolutely refused to use Teflon or other nonstick coated cast , or excuse me, cookware in my kitchen. I don't like the fumes they give off. I hate how they scratch. A lot of those pieces of cookware it feels like are designed to be more disposable. They don't distribute the heat as well. So I am very much not a fan of Teflon, which unfortunately is the most common coating in really any cookware out there, whether you're trying to get it used or you're trying to get it new, it's really hard to find stuff without nonstick. Um, but cast iron cast iron is a really good option and it's not generally too hard to find. And I love that if you get cast iron pieces used, you usually can bring them back to life very, very easily. So one concern that folks have in using cast iron is they say, Oh, I wanna use it, but I'm really afraid my food is going to stick. So in the future we're going to do a whole episode on using and caring for cast iron. So we'll get into seasoning and how that works. But in the meantime, my best tip for food that doesn't stick in a cast iron pan is to use lots of fat. Yes, I said fat as I know in decades past low fat was a thing and I think it's still trying to hang on, but research has shown more modern research that fat isn't necessarily bad for us. Yes, it needs to be eaten in moderation and we have to be careful about what type of fat we're consuming, but we don't have to be afraid of it and we actually need it in order for our body to function optimally. Therefore, I have zero issue using butter, bacon, grease, lard, et cetera . When I'm cooking in cast iron plus, if you're doing things like scrambled eggs, that seems to be the one that gets most people stuck, no pun intended , uh , with cooking and cast iron , uh, add some fat to that pan and you're going to be good to go. Not to mention fat makes everything taste better, so you're going to have that added bonus of good tasting food. Now, cooking aside , I also just love cast iron for its aesthetic value. It has a fabulous homestead vibe and I like to decorate with it. If you come into my kitchen, you will see I have cast iron skillets hanging above my stoves and we actually built a special hook, a board that was specifically for my favorite skillets. So it looks good no matter whether it's on the table or in the oven or hanging on the wall. And a little side note here, here's a decor tip. I don't use decor in my kitchen or rather I don't use things that would be traditionally thought of as decor. Now there's nothing wrong if you are of a different opinion than I am on this, but personally I skip , um , your traditional kitchen decorations, like pictures of coffee cups or photos of roosters and I use functional items to decorate with instead. So cast iron on the wall is a big one. I have a cool rack that holds my dried herbs, garlic and onions, and on my shelves I had a few antiques displayed, but I really like to decorate with canisters of food and just think it looks cool. So you can use some of your favorite kitchenware to do double duty as decorations and it creates a really fun feel in your homestead kitchen. Okay. Moving on. Tool number two would be wooden spoons. Now I need to preface this by saying they have to be the good ones now and good really I think depends on your preferences. For me, a good spoon has a good weight to it. It's not super light and it also feels very smooth. You'll notice that some of the cheaper spoons get really rough after you use them the first time, so I like them to stay nice and smooth. Part of my joy in cooking, and this is something I've really honed in on over the years, but a big part of the joy of it comes from using good tools, tools that are very functional, tools that are very efficient and effective and tools that feel good in my hands and for me, plastic or rubber just doesn't cut it, which I know probably sounds bizarre that I like to cook with things that feel a certain way, but it just makes a difference. It just makes me more excited to be in the kitchen. So anyway, I use wooden spoons for everything, mixing doughs, sautéing onions or whatever. And in frying pans I use them for serving. Um, they are out constantly. So my favorite spoons are an investment and I get them from a amazing family run company called old world kitchen and I will link to them in the show notes. Um, they are fantastic. They have held it better than any wooden spoon I have purchased anywhere else and they're my favorites. Now, a little bit of spoon care here because it does matter how you take care of them in relation to how long they will last. So you do not want to put your spoons in the dishwasher ever. Um, you always, always handwash if you put them in the dishwasher, they're going to be prone to splitting or cracking, which is very, very sad. So always hand wash and dry and give them some TLC every so often by rubbing them down with spoon butter, which is basically like hand lotion for wood. And I have an fantastic, very simple DIY spoon butter recipe that I will drop in the show notes if you want to mix up a batch yourself. All right, so tool number three. These are right up there with the spoons. Dutch ovens. I am obsessed with Dutch ovens. I think I use at least one of mine every single day. Now in case you don't know what a Dutch oven is, they are basically just a big heavy pot with handles and a lid. And there are Dutch ovens that are designed to be used outside on a campfire. Those ones usually have little legs. My indoor Dutch ovens are legless, so their flat bottom and mine are made out of cast iron with an enamel coating . You can also just get plain black cast iron ones. I think the enamels pretty. Um, but I literally use these more than any other pot or pan in my entire kitchen. I actually already have like our and I just bought another ne yesterday because it was Amazon prime day. And even though I didn't 100% need another Dutch oven, I need another Dutch oven. So I went and bought another one. It's white and it should be coming by the end of the week and I'm very, very excited because I get excited over bizarre kitchen things anyway. If you get a Dutch oven, you will soon find, you're probably going to be as obsessed with yours as I am with mine. I use them for soups, stews, pasta dishes, roasting chicken or beef making bread, literally everything. And I love that they go from oven to table and look good doing it. Like they're fantastic. Not to mention they last forever and there are some really, really fancy brands of Dutch ovens out there. The most notable would be the LA crew set ones, which are beautiful and someday I will get one at this point, haven't been able to justify the investment because they're pretty pricey. Um, they run I think around three hundred dollars for a Dutch oven. Again, I'm sure it's worth it because it's a piece of heritage, timeless kitchenware . But I on the other hand, usually get mine between thirty and forty bucks at TJ Maxx or from lodge. So lodge is the same company that makes the most common cast iron frying pans. They also make an enamel coated Dutch oven that are pretty affordable. Um, so I found that my forty dollars Dutch oven, there's nothing about it that would make me think I would need to go get the super pricey one because it works fantastic. I find that I use the five quart Dutch ovens the most. I have a seven quart, which is handy if you have a big old hunk of meat that you're trying to roast. But the five quarts are a little more manageable. They're not as heavy. And for my family of five, or even if we're having company, really, as far as quantity goes, like with a soup or a pasta dish, it holds quite a bit. So I would say go with a five or six quart to start with and then you can get smaller or larger from there as you learn how to use it. Alrighty. Tool number four, and I kind of alluded to this a minute ago, but I have a generous collection of glass jars and canisters. Now, of course, this includes Mason jars because we all know that every homesteader needs a million Mason jars. But I also like to collect different gallon jars or swing top jars or all kinds of different shapes and sizes. I grab a lot of mine at garage sales and thrift stores because they're usually super cheap. But if you're looking for a source , to get brand new jars, Ikea has tons as does T J Maxx . It a little little tip here guys. I don't know if you have a TJ max where you live. I get a ridiculous amount of kitchen stuff there and it's usually really reasonably priced. You know, you have to pick through it. Some of it's junky , but there's a lot of good farmhousey homestead tools there that it's literally my favorite place to shop locally for kitchen equipment. I love glass jars though because they're not going to go out of style. So you can get like, I remember the canisters I've gotten over the years. I had some red canisters and some other ones, you know, they go out of style really fast and I'm kind of like not into these guys anymore. Off to Goodwill you go. But with glass jars, they're timeless. And that's my trick for really anything I buy for my kitchen. I don't want it to go out of style in six months. And I also don't want it to break in two weeks. So my questions that I asked myself, I say , is this timeless and is this durable? And I love things where you can't quite tell what era it's from. Is it a a hundred years old or did she get it yesterday? Like that's my little trick. That's why I love cast iron. That's why I love glass jars because they could be a a hundred years old and you, you know, they look good and they're so with my glass jars , um , I use them to store things. Like I get the packages at the store and then I open up the pack package and pour it into my jars. Whether it's flour, beans, rice, grains, baking powder, chocolate chips, you name it. It comes from the package and it goes into the glass jar in my pantry and that looks cool. And it also makes it really easy to identify when I'm running low. I also love to decorate with these jars. And like I mentioned before, I'll put my popcorn in jars and my beans in jars and strategically display that throughout my kitchen. Cause sometimes I'll stage a little bit with some old books or some antiques. But I use it so like I'm all the time grabbing those jars off my decor display and using it to get the food. So it's utilitarian, but it's also beautiful and it great gives that great kind of old fashioned store vibe. You know, you know those movies where you go into the general store and there's rows and rows of glass jars of full of uh, commodities and candy . Like it kind of gives that vibe, which I think is a really, really fun. Alrighty. So lastly on my list of best ever homestead kitchen tools, and this one isn't super fancy, but as far as workhorses go, this is it. And that would be stainless steel bowls. I do have glass bowls, I have quite a collection of glass bowls or ceramic ones and I also have some wooden bowls, but stainless steel are the ones I use the most. And these ones are less about maybe being functional is decor as well and just plain old utilitarian. But during Canning season, gardening season , they are indispensable. I use them constantly. I love that they can go outside and be left outside the chicken coop, you know, not that that's ever happened of course. And there are none the worse for the ware . Right. Um, I have an old bull from my husband's grandma. It's huge. It's like barely fits in my sink and I dunno how old it is. It's probably very old, but it works just as good as it did the day it came home from the store and it's out in the garden with me constantly, or I'm using it to hold all the beans or the berries or whatever I'm canning. So bigger is better. At least have a couple big bowls because you're going to use them more than you think. I guarantee it. Alrighty. So just to wrap it up in a nutshell, the best tools that I've found for creating a homestead kitchen have your own number one, cast iron number two wooden spoons, number three, Dutch ovens, number four, glass jars in canisters, number five, a stainless steel bowls . Now of course there are more than just that, but those are the ones that I use the most. They're low tech and they're easy to find and I can't underscore this enough, but as you stock your homestead kitchen, keep in mind that you really do not need a ton of gadgets to get the job done. I know it's tempting. You go to the store and you see the , the newest and the shiniest. Just skip those in favor of the things you know have multiple uses, uses. You'll not only save on cupboard space, but you'll save a whole lot of cash as well. So if you are falling in love with this idea of an old fashioned intentional kitchen full of nourishing food and rich memories, you will love my heritage kitchen handbook. I have packed this complimentary e-guide full of my very best tricks for cooking and eating like a farmer. Even if you live in the city, grab it for free at www.heritagekitchenhandbook.com and that is all my friends. Thank you for listening. If you have a econd, I would be so honored if you would pop over to iTunes and leave a quick review so more people can bring homesteading into their lives. I will catch up with you next time on the old fashion on purpose podcast. Happy homesteading. Y'all.