After I wrote about what I keep in my purse, I had several requests for a similar post about what my kitchen looks like and what appliances/health tools I regularly use. Below is the list I wish I’d had before I got married so I could have put most of these items on my wedding registry.
Natural Kitchen Items
I feel that it is important to note that I cook 2-3 times a day and we don’t often use a microwave. All of the items I have in my kitchen now are heavy duty and have multiple uses. Many of these items are pricey but we carefully budgeted for them and most have extended warranties. I should also note that because I am constantly experimenting with new recipes for the blog, I have some appliances and tools I would not have originally thought to register for or purchase.
1. Appliances/Big Items
Besides the usual refrigerator and oven/stove, I have a variety of small appliances that I use on a regular basis.
- Vitamix: We have had a Vitamix since early in our marriage and it has been used multiple times a day for years! We use it daily for smoothies, sauces, blending coffee with healthy fats, chopping, etc. If I could only have one of the appliances on this list, I’d keep the Vitamix. While I really think a Vitamix beats all other blenders, here are my experiences with other blenders that also pass the test.
- Food Processor (I have this one): I didn’t put this on my wedding registry because I thought “how much would I really use a machine that just chops and mixes?” Turns out, I would use it a lot. I thought it would be fun to chop everything by hand at first, which was true for a couple of years, but now when I cook for a crowd (just the family, not to mention guests) the food processor is really helpful. I also use this often for chopping items for soups, slicing cabbage for sauerkraut, pre-chopping salad items for the whole week, etc.
- Mixer (I have this one): Another one I didn’t get early on because I didn’t think we’d use it much (especially since I don’t bake that often). While it is still not my most used kitchen tool, I do use it pretty often for blending things like homemade marshmallows or the dough for coconut flour biscuits, etc. Before we got this mixer, I just had the hand-mixer version and it worked really well too.
- Dehydrator (I have this one): We went through several of the cheaper plastic type dehydrators but the Excalibur is considered the gold standard of dehydrators. Dehydrators are great for drying fruits and veggies, making beef jerky or salmon jerky, and more. My kids especially like apple chips made from dehydrated apples and strawberries. This appliance mainly gets used in the summer when there is excess produce that needs to be preserved.
- Ice Cream Maker (I have this one): Not something I thought I would use all the time, but surprisingly we do. We make ice cream recipes like this strawberry gelato, or butter pecan ice cream, but this is also just a great way to get extra healthy fats and nutrients into my kids without a fight. I can even just blend watermelon and pour in to make a sorbet. For ice creams, I try to add coconut oil, egg yolks, and butter for good fats.
- Crock Pot/Slow Cooker (I have this one): This is one item I had from the beginning. I’ve actually gone through several cheaper ones that wore out before I finally sprung for a high quality one. This particular Crock Pot is also supposed to be tested to be free of lead (which is supposedly present in the crock of some slow cookers).
- Immersion Blender (I have this one): I use this all the time for pureeing soups in the pot, mixing pancake batter, etc.
- Water Filter (We have this one): Not an appliance per se but we use this daily to filter our water for cooking and drinking as it is the best water filter option I’ve found. We used the Berkey Water Filter for years before we sprung for this 14-stage under-counter filtration system. The Berkey is still a great option if under the counter isn’t possible. If you’re wondering why a 14-stage water filter would be necessary, check out this post and you might be convinced.
I cook all the time, so quality cookware is really important to me. I only use cookware that is natural/eco-friendly and also pretty easy to clean. This left only a few options, but my few versatile pieces get used all the time!
- Instant Pot (I have this one): You know those last-minute dinner blues? The Instant Pot can cure them. It makes soups, stews, and casseroles, hard boils eggs, ferments yogurt, and the most tender cuts of meat you can imagine. Food is ready in about an hour or less, and you can even saute right in the pot before pressurizing, saving extra dirty pans. Try it, you’ll be glad you did! Check out my full review on Instant Pot models (and why it is a healthy way to cook) for more details.
- Ceramic Skillets (I have these): These cook evenly and are really easy to clean. The only downside is that they are breakable so I have to be careful when cleaning them. I use these especially for eggs as they don’t stick, but also for foods like stir-frys or meats. (Note: Ceramcor has offered to give WM readers a 10% discount on all orders. Here are the details.)
- Always Pan – I love the Always Pan when I am making scrambled eggs, stir fry or need to steam some veggies. The pan is very easy to clean and you can either wipe it down with a wet rag or throw into the dishwasher.
- Caraway Pans
If you are in need of a matching set of pans, Caraway offers a complete cookware set that I really like. Their pans have a mineral-based coating that won’t leach toxic chemicals into your food and while I know you will love them, they do offer a 7-day cooking trial.
- Cast Iron: A few good cast iron skillets can last forever. I use these for anything that has to go from stove to oven or for meats, bacon, sausage, etc. Another advantage is that trace amounts of iron are left in food to boost the body’s iron levels.
- Enameled Cast Iron: I have a dutch oven and soup pot that are coated cast iron and use these for stove or oven roasting or cooking.
- Large Stock Pot: I have a restaurant grade 5-gallon stock pot that I use for bone broth and for pre-cooking large batches of food.
- Glass Baking Dishes: for everyday cooking and baking
- Steel Food Service Baking Pans (I have these): Since we try to cook in bulk when possible and since I now often have to cook large amounts even for single meals, these come in handy. I use them for roasting veggies, cooking large amounts of foods, and serving to large groups. They can also double as a roaster for large cuts of meat.
3. Kitchen Tools
Besides the bigger items like the appliances above, I have a variety of smaller kitchen items that I use all the time. I actually had a lot more of these smaller items and have weeded out single use items, especially those that took up a lot of room. The ones that made the cut and that I still have:
- A French Press (I have this one): is great for making coffee or tea without them coming in to contact with plastic like they would in many coffee makers. I also find that I like the flavor of coffee and teas made in a french press much better and this is much smaller to store than a full-size coffee pot. We also use a Chemex quite often and you can check out our whole coffee set up in this post.
- A Fermentation Crock (I have this one): There is usually something in some stage of fermentation on my counter and a crock like this makes fermentation much easier. I use this most often for sauerkraut.
- Quality Knives (I have these): Knives are still one of the most used items in my kitchen. From chopping veggies for omelets to meat or veggies for dinner, these get used all the time. I’ve even invested in teaching the kids to use them (with the help of this awesome online course) as it’s a valuable life skill.
- Tea Kettle (I have a glass one, a cast iron one, and a steel one): We drink a lot of herbal tea in our house and I also just love the look of a tea kettle!
- A Julienne Peeler (I have this set): I use this to peel carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, etc. into noodle shapes to use in place of regular noodles in recipes. This is also a job that my older kids can help with in meal prep.
- A Crinkle Cutter (I have this one): Not too sharp and makes fun shapes so my kids can use them to help with meal prep. I keep this and a bamboo cutting board and the kids get to take turns helping cut veggies for meals. They also are able to get this out and a carrot or cucumber and cut slices for a snack whenever they want.
- A Mandoline (I have this one): When I don’t feel like using the food processor, this is great to grate, slice, or cut (warning: it’s sharp!).
- A Kitchen Thermometer (I have this one): For testing temperature of meats, etc.
- A Candy Thermometer (I have this one): For testing temperature of mixture for marshmallows and cough drops, etc.
- Bamboo Cutting boards (I have these): An eco-friendly alternative to plastic cutting boards and a less breakable alternative to class cutting boards. I use these daily.
- Bamboo Cooking Utensils (I have these): For use in anything I’m cooking.
4. Random Items
- Cloth Napkins (I use these): I’ve written about how we try to avoid paper products in our kitchen and we use cloth napkins at every meal.
- Huck Towels (I have these): I use these in place of kitchen towels and paper towels. They are super-absorbent and are even used in hospitals as surgical towels.
- Large Steel Bowls (I have these): For mixing and serving
- Lunch Bots (We have these): For use packing lunches or meals on the go. The big ones are also great for food storage.
- Stainless Steel Straws: Eco-friendly options for drinking smoothies and other drinks.
- Metal Water Bottles (We have these): For use in sports or when away from home.
- Glass Water Bottles (We have these): For use with smoothies, drinks, etc when not away from home.
- Stainless Steel Dinnerware for Kids: Our kids love these fun plates and cups and we love them because they are non-toxic and free of plastics.
I use jars for everything so they have a category of their own. We use them for storage, drinking glasses, fermenting things like beet kvass or water kefir, and salsa, as well as for second ferments of kombucha. I love glass jars and have a collection of sorts in my kitchen:
- Quart Size & Pint Size Mason Jars: Use for drinking glasses, storing food in the fridge, packing salads and foods for lunch, etc.
- Cuppow Lids (We have these): Convert mason jars in to drinking cups for hot or cold beverages.
- Plastic Storage Lids (We have these): For use when metal lids are not recommended like when fermenting.
- Pour Cap Lids for Mason Jars: Often use for drinking or for liquid storage in the fridge.
- Sprouting Lids for Mason Jars: Great for covering open ferments like water kefir and ginger bugs.
- Gallon Size Jars for Fermentation: Or for storing drinks in the fridge.
- Large Spigot Jar for Continuous Brew Kombucha
- Storage Jars with Glass Lids (I have these): Many items in my pantry and on my counter are stored in these jars.
6. Other Items
In addition to these kitchen items, the following unusual items can often be found on my kitchen counter:
- Assorted fresh herbs in pots
- Fermenting water kefir or second ferment to make soda
- Continuous brew kombucha
- Some sort of vegetable fermenting
- Sprouts or microgreens growing
- Yogurt in the Instant Pot or yogurt maker
There’s lots of other additional kitchen items, but these are by the far the ones that I use the most regularly.
What’s in your kitchen? Are there any great kitchen tools that I’m missing out on? Do you have some of these same items? Share below!