Minimal Kitchen Essentials

Updated: Dec 11, 2021



My goal for my homestead kitchen was having minimal essentials. I didn't want a cabinet full of plastic containers with no lid, or 15 mixing bowls. I wanted the absolute minimum that I could cook any dish, or prepare any food with.


On a homestead, this is more supplies than you would think! After I took up canning, cheese-making, bread making and other skills, I found that the minimum might not be so "minimum" after all! This is a list of what's in my homestead kitchen:


The Basics

This is my basic setup. My pots and pans, mixing bowls, utensils and what I use for general food prep. I don't use everything every single day, but on holidays and large dinners(we love to celebrate with food,) I break them out.


Cast Iron

In my opinion, cast iron is the absolute best. I love mine. They're tough, they will probably still be here one-hundred years from now. There's a reason why cast iron is so commonly found in antique stores, because it's made to last.


I always buy Lodge. It's my go-to and they're tough, extremely durable, easy to find at thrift stores and even in the antique shops. Tip: Don't let a little rust discourage you. Cast iron is almost indestructible. I wish I had pictures, but I don't, of revibing the same skillet I talked about using above. It was completely coated in thick rust and now I use it daily.


With cast iron, they can be sanded, scrubbed and even sand blasted. With mine, I baked it in the oven at 400° for about four hours, then sanded with some rough sandpaper. I would wash it with Dawn soap(it won't hurt it) and sand some more. After this, I baked again for a few hours, scrubbed down with some dawn(be sure you wait until the pan is cooled before putting water on it, or it may crack from the temperature change) and then scrubbed with some steel wool. I repeated until the rust was gone.


Quick tip: Add course salt if the rust is stubborn.


Once the rust is gone, I scrub it down really well with Dawn and water, just to get off any sandpaper, rust or steel wool residue. I place it back in the oven until it is bone dry, and then take some olive oil or bacon grease(controversial, but I've always had luck with it,) and rub it down.


I place it in the oven upside down, at 400º for around four hours. The goal here is to have the oil melt into the pours of the pot, thus creating a "sealant" if you will. With a restored pan, this process may need to happen several times until the pan is completely seasoned. Once the season is established, maintain with light washing and occasional reasoning.




Cast Iron Frying Pan

I use this pan every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I cook up bacon, eggs, fry up turkey sandwiches then bake some chicken later for dinner. I use this pan heavier than any other cookware I have.


Cast Iron Deep Skillet

This a great one-stop pan. By that I mean, you can cook an entire dinner using this one pan. I can fry some ground beef, then add in some chili fixins, or I can make a some chicken noodle soup without dirtying up three pots.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

My dutch oven is an essential in my kitchen. When I'm not making bread in my bread-maker, this is my go-to. I also use this to slow-roast chicken and for making vegetable soup or larger dishes. I can bake a roast for dinner, then add in some onion soup fixins for lunch the next day. I love it!


Cast Iron Small Skillet

Last but not least, my small cast iron skillet. It's great for frying an egg before bed or cooking sauces. I actually use it to make infused butter for topping my chickens or bread with. Sourdough with a clove-infused glaze?


Pots and Cooking Large Batches

We like to eat in my house. We are always looking for a reason to celebrate, because we celebrate with food. Tuesday? It's a beautiful day to be alive, let's have some tacos. When the holidays come 'round, I cook a batch of food large enough to feed us the rest of our lives(kidding.) So, I do keep some large batch cookware on hand. Also for canning. I make huge batches of chili and soups, then can it for quick meals.


Stock Pots

I love using my stock pot when I'm cooking a lot of something to can. I also actually use it for water bath canning. I'd try checking around thrift stores before buying outright. That's where mine came from! Unfortunately, I couldn't find the brand of my stock pot but, so I didn't link to one. My mom found mine at a thrift store, then gifted it to me. Last time I went thrifting I found so many of different sizes, and with it being deer season, I bet they're readily available. Deer chili, anyone?


I do have a couple of smaller pots, but I only use them for the holidays, so I can cook several dishes at one time, or when I make large batches of noodles. I keep them in storage the rest of the year.



Canning

For canning, I try to keep it as simple as possible, even though I like to keep a few tools on hand to keep it easier.


Pressure Canner

The #1 reason why I went with this pressure canner is because it's easy to find replacement parts. I lost the pressure valve to mine, and it was a $12 replacement. It was super easy to find as well.


Jar-Lift

When I first started canning, I didn't purchase one of these. I was just using a dish towel. I was roughing it. I bought this one because it was cheap, and I haven't had any issue with it.


Cheese Making

I haven't been able to get into cheese-making as heavily as I'd like, but this is what I use to make my farmer's cheese. It's three-ingredient cheese, with no rennet. You can find that tutorial, here! Tip: Mix in some garlic for a yummy garlic-cheese spread.


Dehydrating Food

I have a dehydrator like this one, but I don't really care for it for making meat. It's great for veggies and fruit, but so hard to clean off the grease residue. What kind of dehydrator do you use? What do you like about yours?


Bread Making

A bread maker to takes most of the work out, so I usually use this to save on time. I use my dutch oven, sometimes, but I LOVE my bread maker. All I do is dump in my ingredients, and it does the rest!



Mixing Bowls

I invested in a good set of stainless steel mixing bowls. I only use one on the regular, but the others come in handy for canning and large-batch cooking.


KitchenAid

I love that this mixer has so many accessories for just about anything, and I love that these mixers come with a reputation for durability. Before I had a bread maker, I used this mixer to mix and knead dough and I also used it to make butter.


My idea of minimal kitchen essentials are what I use, even if it's not often. Essentials that make my life easier, even during the holidays. I wanted to rid my cabinets of random bowls, tupperware and gadgets I haven't used in years. I have a designated cabinet for essentials I use for special occasions and I organize them accordingly. Everything else I keep handy in drawers or cabinets for ease of use.


I also wanted to switch out non-stick pans(that I may only get a few years use out of) for something with some durability and longevity. That's why I also switched out my cookware for stainless steel spatulas and spoons(something that switching to cast iron allowed me to do.) Stainless steel is recyclable, but I doubt I'll need to dispose of these anytime soon. They're super durable and I've already gotten about three years of use out of them!


Next on my list is disposing of all of my plastic, by investing in some glass food storage containers.


What do you have in your minimalist kitchen? Thank you so much for reading, we post every Monday and Wednesday and are so happy you're on our journey with us. Connect with me(Rebeka) on Twitter @Rebeka_White


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