11 Kitchen Hand Tool Must Haves

On today’s podcast episode, Rachel talks about 11 kitchen hand tools she considers must-haves on the homestead and why she recommends them.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 223 – October 11, 2023

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Welcome to the Modern Homesteading Podcast! I’m Rachel Jamison, and today we’re delving into an essential aspect of homesteading life: kitchen tools. Specifically, we’re focusing on hand tools, those without power, saving the powered ones for another episode.

The journey in the homesteading kitchen often begins with common items like non-stick pans and aluminum, but as we progress, many of us shift towards higher quality, less toxic alternatives. This episode is about sharing my personal choices and experiences in this transition.

For Cooking/Baking


Heats evenly, makes crispy crusts, once seasoned it is nonstick, heats to high temps and its toxin free. (make sure what you purchase is lead tested to be safe). I have many Pampered Chef and a Unicook. Pampered Chef has a wide variety of stones but they are only safe to 450 degrees F. The Unicook is designed for breads, pizzas so they don’t have much variety but you can use these up to 1,450 F. If you are a pizza or artisan bread maker, sometimes we do cook this high. Cons: They clean like cast iron and have a learning curve. They are heavy.

Cast Iron

Lasts forever, I have some of my great grandmothers, literally. Gets super hot and stays hot, retaining heat. Makes nice crispy food and breads, I cook my gluten free free form loaves in a cast iron dutch oven.

Cast Iron

I have a fairly large collection from Griswold & Lodge. I have some with no names on them at all. And they are non-stick once you get them seasoned. Cons: They do have a learning curve and are heavy. You don’t want to cook acid foods like tomatoes or things with vinegars in them, the taste will be off.

Stainless pots

I mostly use stock pots since I have my cast iron. I have old copper bottom stainless (vintage Reverware). The copper helps the heat distribute evenly and the stainless means you are using a non toxic cooking surface. They will last forever as well. As I said my cookware is vintage, it was my mothers and is over 50 years old. Cons: not non-stick. You also will have to learn that low and slow are your friend when cooking with these.

Stovetop Pressure cooker

This is my go to for fast meals when camping or when the Instant Pot is busy and you don’t need power to use it. The pros are all the same as for using a Instanpot or any other fast cooking device. It is a bit of a learning curve and I do suggest you babysit it.

Presto Pressure Cooker

For Preserving


The bottom line here is you can buy a really expensive All American, which is the Cadillac of canners but you can still can on something as simple as a Presto. Both can also be used as a water bath provided you buy one large enough to cover quart jars in a couple inches of water. You can also purchase a stainless steel canner for water bath canning if you want to can a larger quantity at a time.

Jars, lids

I use mine for canning, storing dry and wet goods, fermenting and everything else. The only con is they can break. I have two piece lids and one piece lids. I also have plastic lids. I suggest you buy lids from a local place, Amazon has a lot of fakes. ACE, Walmart, etc.. Fillmore Container is a great place to buy in bulk, they also have some quality jars.

For Processing

Knives and sharpeners

I just like sharp. I don’t own sets, I own a knife here and there that I love. Most started as hunting knives. I’d love to get feedback on a good quality set that won’t break the bank. Currently my favorite knives are from this company-

Funnels and Strainers

Stainless and many sizes for small nasal spray bottles to large ones for canning. Strainers are the same.

Amish hand crank food mill

This is one of my favorite things in the kitchen. I love that it is silent, it’s fast and it’s easy to clean. I’ve had mine for 15-16 years.

Cutting board with a moat

A must to have various sizes and the ones with a moat for when you are dealing with juicy things. There used to be a worry about wood but new research has shown it’s not a worry. I just wash mine with hot water and soap. If we butcher I use food grade hydrogen peroxide.

Silicone baking mats and forms

I use these on my aluminum sheet pans that I have yet to update to stainless. I also use some of the flat sheets for dehydrating liquids or for noodles. I have cubes for freezing juice, broth etc..

Stainless bowls

I have several of these of many sizes. My largest holds many quarts. I love these because you can sanitize them and they are virtually indestructible.I have a different set that was purchased at the Amish store, these have great reviews and I do wish mine had lids.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cindy

    Good one, Rach, very helpful!

  2. Jamie

    I enjoyed this podcast a lot! Nice job on your first solo episode

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