Dec 022011

Our discussion about stockpiling has been interesting and will continue. There is no end to items that would be nice to have in quantity (or with back ups and duplicates) during a transition period. Likewise, there’s lots of equipment that could make life easier. Here’s some of the stuff (for food storage and preparation) we’ve found very useful:

1. Food Saver: used to vacuum seal food. We have one something like this.  Food keeps a lot longer without oxidation. You can buy bag material in rolls and make your own bags to size.

2. Knives: good kitchen knifes are invaluable. Other cutting implements like the lowly potato peeler are a necessity. You can spend a fortune on knives but there are some good, inexpensive ones. I put Rada Knives into the “amazing” category. At the least, get their potato peeler.

3. Roma Food Strainer for making jelly, sauces, puree. This thing is a snap to use and works like a charm. You can have blackberry jelly instead of jam (unless you enjoy picking the seeds out of your teeth).

4. Dehydrator. We have one of these left over from our raw food days. It once was on for a whole year. (Raw foodists claim that dehydrated food is raw if the temp doesn’t exceed 115 degrees. It’s all about the enzymes and keeping them alive). You can make all manner of things like fruit leather, crackers, cookies and bread using raw food recipes. Or, you can just dry apples, herbs, veggies, etc.

5. Juicer. Sometimes there is an excess of stuff from the garden and you can juice it. You may even grow certain plants specifically to juice. We’ve had a Champion juicer but several years ago moved up to a Green Star which will juice just about anything including wheatgrass and probably even pine needles (you could make some of that famous Willows pine needle ice cream). You can easily make ice cream (sorbet) by running frozen fruit through the juicer. An expensive item but it lasts forever.

6. Vidalia chopper. Cheap and handy. Easy to use. There are other inexpensive items that, in part, can take the place of a Cuisinart type food processor like the mandolin.

7. Cast iron cookware. We don’t like no stick stuff. Cast iron lasts forever (we can track the history of our fry pan back to at least 1928), comes in all shapes an sizes, isn’t that hard to clean. Puts a little iron in your diet which is normally not a problem unless you have a rare ailment called hemochromatosis.

8. Vita-mix. Another expensive appliance but one that gets a lot of use for making smoothies, chopping, grinding grain, etc. Green smoothies are another concoction that is best made with the Vitamix.

9. Pickle press. A Japanese pickle press is a plastic bowl with a screw-on lid that presses the vegetables to the bottom of the bowl and quickens the pickling process. You can make “pickles” or pressed salad overnight with a selection of veggies like cabbage, radish, carrot, onion and a bit of vinegar (typically brown rice vinegar).

10. Pressure cooker. Scares a lot of people but the modern ones aren’t dangerous and it’s a healthy way to cook food. Often faster, as well.

Let’s hope the power stays on for a long time.

I’m interested to know what others find invaluable.


  4 Responses to “Getting the Kitchen Ready”

  1. For those anticipating eventually being off the grid, here are some wonderful kitchen appliances:

  2. Thanks for the good suggestions… all useful with or without power! I really covet a Vermont Bun Baker wood stove. It is too small to heat my house, but I’ve actually considered what it would cost to create a second (nonelectric) kitchen. In the meantime, I can almost simmer beans and soup on my cast iron wood stove, but it isn’t good enough to do a lot of cooking on. Check out the Vermont Bun Baker for the cutest wood stove you’ll ever see!

  3. I looked at the website for the Vermont Bun Baker. Would like to have one of those. A neat piece of equipment.

  4. On the cooking off grid thread …was thinking I had it made awhile back, having the ability to cook on my home’s woodstove, until I actually tried it. From a cold start I found that just getting a pot of water to boil took a good 45 minutes and an armload of wood to accomplish. I realized then and there that my cord or two of wood wouldn’t last long if I made my coffee every morning that THAT way …

    Solution? The Rocket Stove. Look it up. Watch video demonstrations on YouTube. It’s for real.

    I bought mine on Amazon for about $115 and had it the next day (the really cool thing is that when you buy one from EcoZoom they send a free one to a needy person in the third world). My first time using it it fired right up, heated 6 quarts of water to a boil in 15 minutes, and theThanksgiving dinner potatoes (for mashed potates) in 20 minutes. And get this – all with only a hand full of sticks.These things really work as advertized.

    So think about it, the grid’s been down for weeks, you’re out of propane, etc. No worries. You have a Rocket Stove (or two) and you live on a large forested island smothered in dead fall. Life is good.

    p.s. Thanks, aubreypub, for the opportunity to share this.

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