Ok so lets start at the very beginning!
What it takes to cook real nourishing gutsy food you ask? Well, it takes determination, knowledge, skills, and the right tools. To get you started I want to share what my favorite, essential kitchen gadgets are. Remember that I am on GAPS right now so these utensils and appliances are a must for GAPS but also for everyday real food cooking! I have collected my food gadgets over the years from Christmas, birthday, Easter and any other holiday that involves gifts.
It takes practice to get to know your appliances and gadgets, and the best way to do it is to experiment with them and try out all and any foods in them…though sometimes it doesn’t work. I wanted you to see what kind of things I am using in my kitchen, though many things are not necessary but they are helpful and fun! a lot of them also have substitutes too, I will say so in my descriptions.
1.) Vitamix blender: the year I got this, I used it for everything. Now I mainly use it for my morning juices and pureeing soups. It is also very useful for smoothies, nut milks, and chopped veggies. I think it is worth while to get a good blender, other wise you will end up going through a few or several due to being a tad too hard on them. aka. grinding nuts and extremely frozen fruit! * A regular blender does work very well for simpler things (for foods that are made for a blender) , I am just too rough on them.
2.) Cast Iron pan: This is essential if you are going to cook anything on the stove, and you probably are if cooking real food or on GAPS. Also the extra iron can be very helpful for some people. At first i never liked using them because food would always stick. But the trick is to always oil it after using it. I wash it with water and a little soap, dry it, and them drizzle some coconut oil in it a rub it around with a paper towel…after you do this a few times it will become a habit and VOILA! a nonstick pan without the teflon! I also believe that cast iron skillets are the perfect match for using the healthy amount of fat. To make a meal healthy you need fat and the cast iron will certainly tell you if you are not using enough! * A regular stainless steel , or enameled (not nonstick!) pan can work too. I prefer to buy the unseasoned pan and season it myself (most companies use coy or corn oil)
3.) Stock pot: those of you on GAPS know the importance of this one! make sure it is stainless steel or something that won’t leach metals into your system, as well as all your other appliances. I use mine almost every day, its also nice to have a few of them!
4.) Cuisinart food processor: this one is new to me. I just got the 14 cup one for Christmas and have already used it several times. If you are going to make a lot of fermented veggies, onion chopping, nut butter making, or anything that requires a strong blade (slicing or chopping) this is helpful! I love how sauerkraut gets a really delicate shred with it. yum! * A mandolin works well too for slicing thin, but honestly i have not used mine much. I guess it would be better for smaller projects and the want to use your hands
5.) Ball Jars: these are also a must. I use mine for everything, soup, salad, nut milk, juice, juice pulp, ferments, ground beef, liver, fish, pretty much everything. They are very inexpensive and wash very easily. Sometimes the lids rust but they are easily replaceable. I like these BPA free lids.
6.) Dehydrator: this one is also new to me. In the past I just used the oven, but it wasted a lot of every. I LOVE it and have already used it several times. So far I have made soaked and sprouted almonds, liver and heart jerky, and pulp crackers! I can’t wait to do some yogurt making in it. I feel it is worth the money if you plan to take food anywhere because i am constantly finding myself needing snacks while I am out, and anything dehydrated is super easy. *an oven works just a well but it takes much longer, you have to keep it a tad open for circulation, and its not so practical when you only have 1 oven.
7.) Crock pot: The old reliable crock pot is so good! when you need to cook food for along time (bone broth) or just keep something warm, the crock does the trick- and you can just forget about it..how often does that happen with real food cooking? I use mine every day too, I always have bone broth going. I only have one but its not bad to have a few. Make sure to get a big one (to fit all those bones in), we have two of these.
9.) Knife: for years I had dull knives and not until I got a new one recently did I appreciate a sharp knife. trust me, things go much quicker and smoother with a good knife.
10.) Nut milk bag: I use mine currently for juicing, but I also will use it for coconut and almond milk. I love squeezing the bag, it makes playing with food fun! * for a while used muslin from my fabric store, and it worked great
11.) Ladle: a good deep ladle is a definite for all those GAPS soups! I like one nice big scoop or 2 or 3
12.) Meat pounder: I rarely use it for what it is meant for. I am sure it is good to pound meat but I rely on mine to get my garlic quickly out of the shell. I will do a separate post on my way of getting garlic out fast, but for now I can tell you that i just pound away at those little nuggets and it makes life much easier!
* Some kind of mallot would work just as well.
13.) Silicone baking sheet: I did a little research and I read that silicone is supposedly safe, tell me other wise if it is not. I used to use unbleached parchment paper but I was using it too much and parchment paper really has a thin layer of silicone on top. When I roast veggies and don’t want to put olive oil on until the end,I use this. Also when I am chopping meat, fish, or veggies and then freezing it, I first lay the food on the silicone making it an easy come out. * parchment paper would be the replacement or if you are just using if for freezing, plastic cutting boards work great too!
14.) Flour sack towels: I love these towels; they soak up a lot, are light for draping over my ferments, and make a good barrier for on top of metal appliances.
15.) Sprouting jar: I have not used mine as much as I should, because I still end up buying sprouts. But I want to get back in the habit of sprouting some seeds. It is also ideal for sprouting grains. * a glass jar with some cheese cloth rubber band around the top woks in replacement.
16.) Mini spatulas: I use mine to scrape out of the Cuisinart, blender, and my ball jars. nothing beats a small spatula. I like the curved one over the straight one. – just be careful not to ruin yours by the sharp blade of the blender or Cuisinart I ruined my favorite one.
17.) Funnel: I think having the jarring size (below) and the regular small nozzle funnel is important. The jarring funnel is good to keep things clean when putting food into jars, while the regular funnel is good to transfer apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, spices and those types of things into small lid bottles. * for dry things I sometimes use a paper plate and roll it up.
18.) Glass containers: Sometimes I don’t want to smash my leftovers into a jar so I use these nontoxic pyrex containers.
19.) Strainer: I use both the small/ medium and the sink size. I use the sink size for washing all my loads of veggies, and i use the medium and small sizes for straining broth and juice.
20.) Mixing bowls with spouts: You probably have your favorite mixing bowl, but mine right now are the ones with the little spouts at the end. I just wish they were not plastic :/ I love the spouts because after my broth is done boiling and cooled, I pour it into these bowls and then into the jars, it makes things go MUCH more smoothly. After I figured this out there were no more massive spills of broth spilling over the kitchen.
**update: found a glass one!!
21.) Big soup bowl: I found that on GAPS you need a big soup bowl. Soup is not always filling and I usually go back for second or thirds. Having your own big soup bowl is more ideal. I also think it is fun for everyone to have their own color. mine is light blue! Dont forget a big thermos for food on the go.
22.) Sauerkraut pounder : I don’t have one but I borrow one from my friend who teaches me how to make ferments! I would like to get some someday because it makes a huge difference in making good sauerkraut, its all about releasing the juices for a good fermentation!!
23.) Good water filter: I know this is not really a kitchen gadget but it is a necessary everyday kitchen MUST. I like the Berkey water filter with the ceramic filter (plus fluoride filters). I don’t trust regular filters (or the black berkey) with coconut carbon because they put antifungals to prevent mold (I know because I have reacted to a few). With Reverse Osmosis, you loose too many minerals.
24.) Freezer: Either an extra freezer, which I have, or a chest freezer is important if you are going to start eating and preparing all your food. Freezing food allows you to buy it in bulk which means it will be less expensive!….right now in my freezer I have 7 lb of salmon roe, a few bags of bones, heart, liver, salmon bellies, beef, soup, broth, and frozen broccoli!
23.) Ice cube tray: I use mine to get cube size frozen food. I freeze broth, beef fat, soup, meat..anything I want to be small so i can quickly pop it out of the freezer and throw it in soup or on the stove.
24.) Juicer: At first we had no juicer and I used the nut milk bag and blender…but after a lot of research that method was not the best. This slow sleep, cold pressed juicer keeps the enzymes in the juice active for 72 hours!! Thats huge, so you can make big batches and still keep fresh. We use ours every other day now and I’m so happy we went with this one. The reviews say its slow, but I don’t think so.
I know I did not cover it all, but these were the top things that came to mind. Also note that I am not very advanced in the GAPS diet even though I have been on it for many months, my body is taking its time to heal. So I didn’t include things for making yogurt, cheese, oven roasting, grain milling, or grilling and etc.
If you have any other real food gadgets/ appliances that you rely on please share? also tell me what you use and what items are worth the investment. I will be in the kitchen today, as usual, making sauerkraut- using my Cuisinart…but hmm any suggestions on what I could use to release the juices in replace of a pounder?