Hello my friends (and family). I hope everyone is having a great day. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in. This is a long post. Raining here today and tomorrow so alas no outside fun. I have completed one raised bed made from cinder blocks, and have started two more. I say started because I keep getting thwarted by fireants. Then I have to stop what I am doing and treat for fire ants and wait for it to work. In between I work between rain showers. Thankful for the rain, don't get me wrong, but this time of year time is precious.
So on to my topic of the day; Kitchen must haves. I believe this is a practical list for those of us with limited funds and limited space.
Cast Iron- And I mean cast iron anything(well except a tea pot. I have one that used to be a wash pot in the olden days. It is a murder weapon on its own, but fill it with water and you are in another weight bearing league all together.). I have three cast iron skillets, a cast iron dutch oven and some cast iron corn stick pans. Seasoned cast iron not only makes awesome fried chicken and corn bread, but is also beneficial for iron intake. Cast iron releases small amounts of iron into the food as it cooks which is really helpful in keeping your iron intake up. Just remember not to cook tomato based things in your cast iron. It will remove the seasoning. Also, only use hot water and elbow grease to wash it. Soap will not only remove the seasoning, but will also make your food taste"soapy". I love my cast iron. They are the only pans that stay on or over my stove because I will use them every chance I get. I inherited my skillets from my mom who inherited them from her mom and so forth back a few generations. Cast iron will last forever if cared for correctly, and once seasoned will be non-stick without the worry of weird chemicals.
Canning equipment-A Pressure canner, Waterbath canner,Mason Jars, Jar lifter, Lids, and Rings. Even if you don't garden, these items can come in handy. Go to a farmers market, buy up bushes of veggies at a great price(you have to buy large amounts at a farmers market or the venders can't negotiate. At least here in Ga that is the case. ) and can them up for use during the winter. I am shocked to see Delmonte Veggies on sale for $1 a can. Seriously? Put up your own and save a bundle. I am fortunate in that I inherited my canner form my grandmother. It was manufactured in 1941. I had it tested out when I got it years ago and I use it still every year. My other canning things I either bought at thrift stores or, in the case of my water bath canner, at Wally World. Seriously a good size stock pot is great for a water bath canner. You just need something deep enough to where you can cover the jars by 1-2 inches of water. Some of my jars were given to me by my mom and grandmother, but many I have purchased at thrift stores or yard sales. Even with just a water bath canner you can make jams, canned fruits,tomatoes, pickles, etc.
Manual Kitchen items - I used to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but the minute I used the dough attachment to make bread, the worm gear broke. I keep meaning to get it fixed, but it will cost me, so it gets put on the back burner for now. It was given to me by my mom, and I will get it fixed. I just can't right now. Instead I use, shock of shockers, a whisk, wooden spoons, a good size mixing bowl, and my own hands God gave me. My daughter "borrowed" my food processor and I keep forgetting to ask for it back so I grate my cheese on a hand held cheese grater,and I chopped veggies with....wait for it.....a sharp knife. I know, shocking really. Don't much care for bread machines except to make pizza crust and dinner rolls. I wasn't happy with the texture of the loaf bread. Once my bread machine died, I never replaced it. I just went on making my bread products by hand. One less thing to store. I tried a rice cooker once before and it just ended up in a yard sale. It is just easier to cook the rice in a pot on the stove.
Crockpot- I do like my crockpot. While I don't use it all the time, I do use it when I am cooking roast beef or chalupas. I use it to cook down tomatoes into sauce in the summer. I use it to cook more often in the summer because it doesn't heat up the house and when I have been canning all day; it is nice to have something in the crock pot for dinner.
Regal Ice cream maker- I bought this little gem at a thrift store for $10 dollars and it has pulled its weight in ice cream. It kept us in good preservative free ice cream all summer long. It uses no ice or salt. You simply keep the base frozen, mix up milk, sugar, vanilla, and a dash of salt, and easy/cheap you have ice cream. For pennies and in about 25 min!
Stir crazy popcorn popper- if you like popcorn and don't have my parents huge skillet to pop it in, this thing is lovely. Use it often. I make sugar popcorn in it and it does great because it is continuously stirring it so it doesn't burn.
I still like having a coffee maker, though that is more for my hubby than me. I prefer the percolated coffee maker(camp coffee pot). I have a yogurt maker, but haven't mastered making a good thick kind yet, but I am always trying. I figure it isn't the yogurt makers fault. I do have an electric can opener. I mean I am not crazy regardless of what people may say. I also have a grain mill that I love that I got at a thrift store, but I wouldn't call it a must have unless you have to have fresh ground grains all the time. But there you have it. My kitchen items in a nut shell. Different strokes for different folks. Everyone has their needs in the lkitchen and these are mine. So there you have it. A really really long post.