Regardless of how many #10 cans of “just-add-water-ready-to-eat” stuff you have, at some point you’re going to have to learn to use a kitchen in much the same way as your granny, or your great-granny, did. So we’ve put together this list of 38 essential kitchen items for any survivalist.
1. Matches – If you don’t smoke, why on earth would you need matches? But if we’re going to learn to cook like granny, for most of you that would include cooking on top of a wood heat stove, or on a wood cook stove with an oven.
2. Can-Opener – we’re not talking about the kind that plugs into a wall. Have at least 2 good, sturdy hand operated can-openers . .
3. Hand Grain Mill – We have said this before, but we personally like the Wondermill Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill. For the money, it’s the best we have found. What can you do witih it? Grind wheat, rice, barley, oats, rye, lentils into flour. It can also be used to make nut-butters, like pinion butter, walnut butter, chestnut butter. It will also make cornmeal.
4. Cast Iron/Stainless Steel Cookware – If you are going to be cooking over a wood stove of any kind, you need durable stainless steel or cast iron cookware.
5. Roasting Pans – Enamelware is best, and so is stainless steel. Make sure the roasting pan will fit into your oven! Wood cook stoves don’t have the same huge ovens as gas or electric stoves.
6. Tea Kettle – Stainless Steel or Copper. In the winter, a steaming tea kettle on the wood stove not only serves as as-the-ready for tea or coffee, the steam warms and moisturizes the air.
7. Colanders – Metal (stainless steel) is best. If you have or want some plastic colanders, understand that they will break over time, and most of them are made with BPA in the plastic.
8. Cookie Sheets – for breads, biscuits, cookies, for drying fruits or veggies… Avoid Teflon coatings or aluminum cookie sheets – get stainless steel.
9. Cooking Utensils – Again, metal (stainless steel) is much better than plastic, and with stainless steel and cast iron cookware, you don’t have to worry about scratches:
3. Serving Spoons
4. Serving Forks
5. Slotted Spoons
6. Pastry Cutter
7. Rolling Pin
8. Sharpening Steel
9. Cheese Grater/Slicer
- Potato Peeler
- Meat Tenderizing Hammer
- Measuring Cups and Spoons – Once again, stainless steel is the best choice for these. A 4-cup glass measuring cup with a pour-spout would be a nice addition, too.
- Good Knives – Good Knives are ones that will keep a sharp edge for a reasonable amount of time, not go dull instantly upon use. If you can find old, carbon-steel knives in yard sales or flea markets, they are best – Old Hickory, Old Timers, Imperial are some brands to look for.
When you are ready to deal with cooking real foods, here are some things you’ll want to have on hand:
12. Sugar (or honey or molasses)– Essential for coffee, tea, baking, preserving, and much more.
13. Salt – Sea salt may seem more expensive that “table” salt but it has many minerals and nutrients still in it. It also tastes better.
14. Baking Soda – there are so many uses for baking soda besides baking: antacid, drawing poultice, kitchen cleanser, vegetable rinse, fire extinguisher, food preservative, water purifier, toothpaste, bathing, hair rinse, facial exfoliant are just a few.
15. Vinegar – white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar all have their uses.
16. Spices – this will be different for different people.
17. Dried Veggies – these can also be used to season dishes, or to make soups or stews.
18. Cooking Oil – In our opinion, there are only 2 types of cooking oil safe for human consumption… Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Peanut Oil.