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Kitchen Appliances & Tools That Save Time, Money

July 11, 2012

The wide range of kitchen gadgets available today would mystify our great grandmothers! Where she had a whisk and an egg beater, we have blenders, bullets, stick blenders, mixers, all in one processors…and the list goes on! Many people get kitchen gadgets and don’t use them. Here are some we’ve found to be worth the money if they’re used.

1. A good quality Excalibur dehydrator. Yes they’re an investment for sure – but have a thermostat for safe making of jerky, as well as drying without overcooking delicate herbs. Sometimes we find onions 3 pounds for $1 – I slice them up, fire up the dehydrator and dry them – safe preservation and it can make a great deal of onion flakes and, if crushed further, onion powder. You might find them in yard sales, or reconditioned from the company. You can also make fruit rollups, dried fruit slices and MUCH more in these…so if dedicated to learning, it’s worth the money! For those in dry climates, there’s also a screen hanging non-electric dryer with shelves…zip it closed to keep bugs off of it and take advantage of your dry climate! If you’re crafty you may be able to fashion something like it. These are also handy for drying herbs.

2. Rice cooker. OK so I’m converted. I used to laugh at displays that had rice cookers, slow cookers, hot dog warmers etc. I got a rice cooker and admit I love it. Put the water and rice in, click to cook and I can walk away to do something else. If a chicken is out and it takes longer to deal with, the timer sets it to warm automatically. I can also use the basket to steam fish or vegetables, or use the rice with a variety of dishes cooked on the stove.

3. Crockpot/slow cooker. I’m torn here. They can be used for many things, but are not exactly energy efficient. We all have choices and those can vary! That said, it’s nice to toss dinner fixin’s in the crockpot on a winter day and have a hot meal when I’m attending #agchat online. We’ve made cakes and other things in them too (takes a little experimenting!).

4. Broiler – this may or may not be something you use a lot. I admit we don’t use it as often as we could…or maybe should. But a table top way to quickly broil things could add some more variety. It’s in the kitchen but I’m lazy about getting it out! (Yes that will change some during this 8 week run!).

5. Cast iron pans. Without a doubt after the tornadoes last year I won’t be without cast iron cookware. We can use it inside or on the campfire. We use it to heat pizza, cook breakfast and when it’s too hot to cook it goes out to the grill without the worry it’ll get banged up like other pans. Yes they’re heavy. Take care of them, keep them oiled, don’t soak them and they’ll last for years.

 

6. Canning jars, pressure cooker, canning tools. In years past this truly extended the season. The only way to have fruits in the winter was to can them. Pressure cookers can be used for cooking, but more commonly are known for processing meats and non-acid things safely. It is not difficult to do but is precise. Buy produce and make your own vegetable soups, ice cream toppings, dried snacks and much more and not worry if the power goes out. The freezer may quit but it won’t affect your stored goods. With a dehydrator and canning equipment you not only help insure your food independence, but you can use low/no salt, sugar etc according to your tastes and food choices.

7. Food processor. This isn’t an item we use at this point, but if you’re doing a great deal of canning, it could be a time saving way to dice, shred or otherwise process your own foods, fresh from the garden or farmer’s market. Even with shopping at local stores, most of us know that there are items that fluctuate in price seasonally. Being able to stock up and process your own food is empowering! If you have a hard time chopping, or just have limited time, this could be an item worth digging out or purchasing.

8. Breadmaker. This may not be something everyone will find of use. Yes bread can be made by hand if one has time. I find it beneficial to put on, set the thing to work and finish the other tasks I have on tap for the day. Fresh bread, almost no effort.

With these items it can help empower your food choices. You can find deals in thrift stores and beyond. You know how it was processed and you control the cleanliness of your kitchen area. Canned and dry goods aren’t dependent on electricity so if it goes out you have things to pick from, and cast iron to heat it in! A wood grill in back and you’re good to go…and it beats going hungry!

If your most used item isn’t on the list here what is it and why?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2012 10:42 AM

    Can use this also as a Christmas gift idea list! I am not sure my brother has a dehydrator, but it sounds like a good idea for him!

    • July 14, 2012 2:24 PM

      I really like the Excalibur – a little more $ than the WalMart brands but USA made, and have heard multiple people say they found one at a yard sale that had a part not working and the folks at Excalibur went over and above to make it right. They have reconditioned machines also – my only regrets was it took me so long to get one and that it’s a 5 tray not 9. 😀 (I should get on their affiliate program but am not!)

  2. Alanna Sakurai permalink
    October 6, 2012 2:54 AM

    I alway buy kitchen gadgets that are made in usa and branded by a known manufacturer. I used to buy chinese made products but they fail miserably. ”;”

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