Over the years, many of you have asked for a little peek into my kitchen. What does it look like? How is it set up? Where do I keep the ferments, and the broth, and the sourdough? Which are my must-have tools and essentials?
So, I thought I’d take the time to show you.
My family lives in a tiny, cold and drafty home that was built in the 1890s. An old mountain miner’s house that housed many, many families before it housed mine. The eat-in kitchen is, likewise, small – little counter space and no pantry, though I do enjoy huge cabinets on the far wall opposite the kitchens tall windows.
And while it is small with the kitchen table occupying most of the space, it’s also cozy. Intimate and cluttered in an old-fashioned charming way. The cabinets hold our pantry items (read about building a traditional foods pantry here). Our fermentation pots sit on top of the fridge, and our water filter and kombucha continuous brew kit sit in the cabinets on their own special shelf. And every square inch is used in some way that works for us.
So while I’ve share with you how I choose cookware and bakeware and simple tools to get started before, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tools and equipment, worthy of investment, that I use every day or nearly every day. These are investments that we made slowly: one at a time, over the course of years.
While, here in the high mountains, we live at the tip top of the water supply, heavy metals and chlorine are still a problem in our water supply. I take care to make sure that we filter our cooking and drinking water. We purchased a Big Berkey water filter a number of years ago, and still use it. They’re affordable, and while we still rent our home, I don’t intend to invest in a whole house water filter until we purchase a home. You can read more about why I think filtering water is important here.
- Where I Keep It: In the tall cupboards on the fall wall with my continuous brew kombucha kit.
- How Often I Use It: Daily.
- Where to Find a Filter: You can check out the water filter we use here.
Continuous Brew Kombucha Kit
We also brew kombucha and jun tea. For my kombucha, I opt for a continuous brew which provides consistent access to kombucha and, for me, is far less hassle than brewing it by the batch. Last year my close friend Hannah, who runs the site Kombucha Kamp, gifted me with a stunning, personalized continuous brew oak barrel (see it here in my kitchen).
- Where I Keep It: In the tall cupboards on the fall wall with my water filter.
- How Often I Use It: Weekly.
- Where to Find a Continuous Brew Kit: You can pick one up here (they make great gifts)
When my family began to adhere to the dietary principles of the Weston A Price Foundation, we began to pay close attention to how we prepared our grains which is why I favor sourdough and sprouted grains so very much. And, with a fuller understanding of how fragile the fatty acids and vitamins found in whole grain flour can be, one of our first investments was in a grain mill – specifically a nutrimill. By the time it eventually broke, I had saved up and purchased a beautiful Komo Grain Mill which is quiet, and grinds grains from very finely to very coarsely.
In this way, we grind our grains fresh before using them for porridges, or cookies or flours (there are a few exceptions to this).
- Where I Keep It: On the countertop, sandwiched between the dehdyrator and the stand mixer.
- How Often I Use It: Once or twice a week.
- Where to Find a Grain Mill: You can check out the grain mill I use here.
I also use a dehydrator pretty regularly, as well. And it, like the grain mill, was one of the first big items I purchased for our kitchen once we began to change the way we thought about, prepared and enjoyed food. A dehydrator is remarkably versatile. Not only do we use ours for preserving the summer and autumn harvest, but also for preparing things like homemade green powder, beef jerky, and kale chips with miso and garlic.
I also use the dehydrator for keeping an even, elevated temperature for helping bread to rise or for making homemade yogurt. I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator. If you’re concerned about plastic in your kitchen, you can also purchase stainless steel dehydrators which tend to be pricier.
- Where I Keep It: On the countertop next to the fridge.
- How Often I Use It: Daily in summer time, weekly the rest of the year.
- Where to Find a Dehydrator: I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator.
As I expressed in this post about building the traditional foods kitchen, one of the first big purchases I made for my kitchen was a shiny red KitchenAid stand mixer, bought at a steep discount years ago. It’s a gorgeous piece that I still use nearly every day: for mixing dough and batter, for mixing forcemeat for meatloaf and meatballs, for whipping cream and butter. I also use the grinder attachment to grind meat fresh. You can check out stand mixers here. They’re a worthwhile investment.
- Where I Keep It: On the countertop between the grain mill and the food processor.
- How Often I Use It: Almost daily.
- Where to Find a Stand Mixer: I have this model, in red.
With all the fermented foods I make regularly, like homemade sauerkraut, preserved lemons, kimchi, beet kvass and others, and with the importance of keeping those foods in an airtight environment while they ferment, I invested in three fermentation pots some years ago. One is a five-liter stoneware crock. The second is a 10-liter stoneware crock. (You can check them out here). And the third is a custom-made, gorgeous 1-quart fermentation crock that I ordered from an artist on Etsy named Mark Campbell. His work is stunning, and affordable (and makes a great gift).
- Where I Keep It: On top of the fridge.
- How Often I Use It: Perpetual use during summer time, less often in winter.
- Where to Find a Fermentation Crocks: You can check out the German- and Polish-style crocks here, as well as those by ark Campbell here.
This year, after dragging my feet, I finally purchased a pressure cooker and have been so incredibly happy that I did. It has made eating at home much easier, as dinner comes together quickly. It also greatly reduces the cook time of beans and lentils which tend to take forever at high altitude. I picked up an electric pressure cooker – the Instant Pot which has quickly become my favorite piece of kitchen equipment. You can check it out here.
And if you’re concerned about how pressure cooking affects nutritional quality of the foods you eat, I strongly recommend that you read this post on pressure cooking by friend Kristen over at Food Renegade.
- Where I Keep It: On the countertop, next to the sink,
- How Often I Use It: Almost daily.
- Where to Find a Pressure Cooker: We use the Instant Pot, you can check it out here.
I used to use a slow cooker pretty regularly, but the pressure cooker has made a fast replacement of it. Slow cookers are still perfect for making super tender stews and roasts, as well as mulled wine for the holidays. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles on my slow cooker; rather I just need it to cook, so I favor this slow cooker that retails for a super affordable $30.
- Where I Keep It: In the bottom cabinets.
- How Often I Use It: Rarely, now that we have a pressure cooker.
- Where to Find a Pressure Cooker: This slow cooker that retails for a super affordable $30
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