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My Top Kitchen Gadgets for Cooking from Scratch

Years of cooking from scratch for myself has honed my kitchen tools to the best and brightest.

If you are serious about cooking for yourself for health and/or financial reasons, it is more than worth investing in some solid kitchen tools to make that time more efficient and enjoyable. Below is a list of my can’t live without kitchen gadgets for cooking delicious meals on the fly. Enjoy!

INSTANT POT
This electric pressure cooker has gained fame over the last few years and I’ve been using it for more than 5 years to make homemade bone broth, stews, braised meats, homemade yogurt as well as cook sprouted beans and rice in no time.

WHY ITS WORTH IT: You set it and forget it. With an automatic shutoff into keep warm mode you can start your broth or stew and then go to an appointment, take a shower or whatever you need to do. No more watching the pressure cooker like a hawk on the stove. It also cooks things in a fraction of the time of a slow cooker or traditional pot on the stove. For example, traditional beef bone broth simmers for 48 hours on the stove to properly extract. In the Instant Pot, it takes around 3 hours to come to pressure and then cook. You can also braise meats in that same amount of time that usually take 8 hours in the traditional oven to fall off the bone.

SOUPER CUBES
These silicone freezer molds pair perfectly with the instant pot. I use these 1 cup portion bricks to freeze bone broth and soups for later use. They invert easily so you can pop out the bricks with ease.

WHY THEY ARE WORTH IT: These simple molds make batch cooking for weeks ahead of time super easy. Get sick and need bone broth STAT? No problem - you have some stashed in the freezer! Store ten 1 cup blocks in a 1 gallon freezer zip lock. AMAZING! I have three souper cube molds so I’m able to freeze 12 cups of food at a time. They also stack on one another in the freezer to save space.

PLASTIC FREE WATER KETTLE
I make tea and coffee frequently and having an easy way to boil water without watching the stove is key for me.

WHY IT’S WORTH IT: Avoid teflon coated tea pots or plastic pouring spouts with this solid kettle. You can also walk away once you start the water and it shuts off once it’s boiled.

OTHER OPTION: Instant hot water system. This is great if you own your own home and want a super fast way to have boiled water at the ready. This installs under the sink and filters and boils water. I’ve used one for years at my last house and admittedly its hard to go back to the electric kettle once you’ve had boiled water on demand.

VITAMIX
This epic blender is top of the line but worth it in my opinion. You cannot get a smoother hummus or nut butter than what this baby can do. Store bought hummus will never be the same than what you can crank out at home in just a few minutes.

WHY ITS WORTH IT: A 7 year warranty makes it so even if yours breaks down 5 years from now, the company will repair or replace it. The high speed motor makes blending nut butter or other thick foods no problem. It’s also an easy way to make affordable smoothies in the morning instead of going to grab one at a juice bar.

PLASTIC FREE FRENCH PRESS: People usually don’t think of a french press as a necessity, but I use mine multiple times a day. This is because it’s an easy way to make both strong rich coffee and also perfectly steeped herbal tea.

WHY IT’S WORTH IT: A french press covers your brew, keeping the beautiful volatile oils from your coffee or tea in the beverage as well as keeping it warm on longer steeps. The good ones are made of glass, so offer a nice inert surface for brewing your drinks. The press also allows you to squeeze your coffee grinds or herbal tea to get the last drops out.

COUNTER TOP TOASTER OVEN: This is my go to for reheating foods instead of using a microwave. Yes, it takes a little longer but I like to avoid microwaving my carefully prepared meals.

WHY IT’S WORTH IT: Makes great toast, roasts small trays of veggies, makes pizzas and more. It’s much faster than preheating your full sized oven and reheating a plate of leftovers only takes 10 mins. The new convection versions are nice to get a more even heating effect.

MILK FROTHER: I know, I know. A frother sounds like a ridiculous gadget as a necessity, but let me explain. I use my frother every morning to warm and froth coconut milk for my french press brewed latte. But I also use my frother to reheat 1-2 cups of liquid at a time, which is surprisingly often. Have cold coffee you want warmed? Perfect, just wait 3 minutes. How about iced herbal tea that you want to drink hot? No problem. Want to make a matcha latte at home? Just stick a teaspoon of matcha powder in the frother with your milk of choice and boom, matcha latte delivered. I like the jura brand because the vessel is stainless steel and not a teflon coated interior. The one drawback is the black plastic frother wheel but I am actively trying to get a silicone one made.

WATER FILTRATION: Filtering your water is actually a pretty simple and impactful step for wellness and cooking healthy meals. Avoiding chlorine and fluoride are especially important for hormone balance. Also filtering out any other toxins or leached byproducts that may be in your local water is a nice bonus.

WHOLE HOUSE WATER FILTER: For whole house filtration I recommend Aquasana.

REVERSE OSMOSIS UNDER SINK SYSTEM: If you dont want to do a whole house filter, you can get an RO system just for the kitchen sink. Amazon has some choices and if your area has Costco, they also usually carry them.

INSTANT HOT WATER AND REGULAR RO SYSTEM: If you use boiled water quite often, this may be preferable to the regular RO under sink system. This is the system I plan to install in my own home.

COUNTERTOP WATER FILTER: For even less of a commitment, you could do a counter top gravity fed system from Berkey. These are also nice for hurricanes, tsunamis or other emergencies where tap water is not clean to drink and you have lost power.

GLASS FOOD STORAGE: Having healthy options for storing food is important because cooking your beautiful organic meal and then plopping it piping hot into a plastic Tupperware container defeats the point. My preferred material for storage is glass and I either choose mason jars or glass snapware. The half gallon mason jars are amazing for storing broth or bulk soups. Quart and pint size jars are nice for kraut and smaller portions of food. The snapware is nice to keep in the car to put restaurant take out in. Also nice is the fact that mason jars and snapware are water tight meaning that they dont leak unlike the pyrex glassware that has lids that are not water tight.

Blair Townley