This post is a bit hard for me to write! I spend a lot of time reducing, reusing, and trying to re-purpose; I'm trying to get out of the habit of buying new things just because I want them. However, as I have gotten more into cooking for myself, canning fruits & jams, and eating seasonally, I'm discovering a few kitchen tools that would expand my capacity to eat locally and in tandem with the seasons. If you've had any experience with these tools, I'd love to hear feedback and thoughts!
Mortar and Pestle
I had never used one of these guys until our buddy Paul moved in to our house this past fall. I had jars of herbs like whole clove and coriander that were just sitting around, unused; I didn't know what to do with them! Now that I've had the use of a mortar and pestle for the past 6 months, I will definitely need to get one when Paul moves out; especially since I'll be harvesting lots of coriander and other herbs from the garden.
This one has been a long time coming! I've been canning for nearly 4 years. I love canning fruits, but there's only so much jam a person can stock up! A friend lent me her pressure canner, and it was great to use in the end of summer- I canned up sweet corn from the end of the season, and the last round of green beans fresh from the Farmers' Market. I need to stop holding the borrowed canner hostage :) While I am all for sharing, and really appreciative to have borrowed it, I could use a pressure canner of my own.
Family Grain Mill Hand Base + Grain Mill
As I mentioned last week, I'll be splitting a full share of a CSA called Stone Soup Roots and Grains! Part of my share will include (over the course of Sept-March):
- 30 lbs. wheat berries
- 12 lbs. rye berries
- 12 lbs. oat groats
- 6 lbs. dried corn
Wouldn't it be totally awesome (in a completely geeky way) to be able to hand grind my own flour that was grown and harvested less than 100 miles from me? Call me silly, but that's just downright romantic!
10" Cast Iron Skillet
Again, this is a story of "I didn't know what I was missing until our roommate had awesome kitchen tools". Cast iron skillets are a) really efficient b) awesome c) durable. I also love the idea that they're low-tech and that people have cooked in cast iron for hundreds of years. I think I'm a convert, people!
Ok- I don't really need a pasta maker. This one is more of a guilt please. But I am a fan of the hand-crankiness of it, and with all that hand-milled flour I'll be processing, there's gotta be some pasta making that will happen, right? This particular model is also a meat grinder and a mincer. I think the idea of grinding meat and pasta in the same tool is a bit gross, but I guess I'd get over it if I needed to. You can laugh if you want- I'll be over here swooning over the thought of handmade pasta.
What's your favorite kitchen tool or gadget? Any suggestions for me?