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What makes a kitchen a homestead kitchen?


Well, truly not much except the unique tools and supplies that are used on a homestead to preserve, harvest, and cook amazing fresh food. Today in this blog post I am going to share with you the basic tools a homestead kitchen should have, a few planning ideas to help you utilize your whole space, and how to make your homestead kitchen more functionable.



Before you dive in I do suggest that as you read you find and make goals for how you want your kitchen to function! My ideas may be different than yours but we may both have the same goals in mind.


What are you going to be doing in your kitchen? Preserving? Dehydrating? Drying Herbs? There are so many things that need to be done on a homestead!


Functionality


The kitchen is essentially the heart of the homestead! Every part of your homestead’s harvest will start or better yet end in your kitchen. The kitchen is where you cook, preserve and enjoy your harvest. And as a result your homestead kitchen needs to be functionable! If you are in the planning stage of your homestead kitchen then these ideas will help you make the most of any size space you have. A homestead kitchen can come in any shape and size but all need a few simple ideas to make them more functionable and efficient.


Workflow


Consider the workflow of your kitchen. Generally it is good to have a triangle between the fridge, sink, and range. In a homestead kitchen you also want to add the vegetable harvest into that list. Where is the door to the garden, how far will you have to carry the fresh harvested goodies to get them inside. Also during the peak of harvest where are you going to put everything? You might consider having a landing place or organized workflow for your kitchen. Plan a landing area next to the sink so any dirty veggies have a place to go and then another place can be for jars to land while they wait to cool and be put away, while also keeping an area open for everyday cooking during the busy harvest season.



Counter Tops


You probably think I am going to jump right in and say you will need lots and lots of counter space and you just might, I don’t know your goals. But one thing I do know is that you need your countertops to be durable and easy to clean. Many homestead kitchens use natural material for their counter, like butcher block, stone, or concrete for a beautiful cozy country feel. But the true reason is that these materials just stand up to the needs of a homestead kitchen. All of these materials are durable and if push came to shove you could cut right on the counter without damaging the surface. This will allow you to cut up things that may be too large for a cutting board.


And in fact the main reason we opted for concrete countertops here on the farm is because I want to be able to put hot pans on the counter without having to hunt up a pot holder. When you are handling large heavy pots the last thing you want to do is be searching for enough potholders to protect your counter from the weight let alone the heat!


Space Saving Ideas


The amount of counter space you have in your kitchen is going to be essential to the functionality of your kitchen and that is why the last thing you want to do is to cover that space with extra things. You want to be sure you have a space to keep all of your tools and gadgets that can be found in a homestead kitchen. The beauty of a homestead kitchen can be found in a few of these space saving ideas.


Maximizing your Wall and Ceiling Space

Walls in a homestead kitchen are not just for cute pictures but can be a place that you can showcase as well as store your tools. You can hang:


Your pots and pans

Your Knives with a Magnetic Knife Strip

Open Shelving for Storage

Herb Drying Racks

Your Cutting Boards


The beauty of a homestead kitchen is shown when the tools a homesteader uses are out for all to see and enjoy. The options are endless!


You might also think about a pantry in your kitchen. This area doesn’t need to be huge if you have a root cellar or other location for your preserved harvest. I like to use my kitchen pantry for a small amount of my preserved harvest and everyday staples that I can restock from my downstairs root cellar and food storage areas around our house.



Kitchen Sink


If the kitchen is the heart of the homestead then the kitchen sink is the heart of the kitchen and should be large and in charge. This is where all of those large pots are going to need to be filled and washed so be sure you invest in a sink and faucet that can get the job done.


Light


The work in your kitchen is going to take lots of light. Windows can help with this. Consider where the windows are and how the light falls. Having the kitchen sink under a window, will give the busiest spot in your kitchen lots of natural light. Washing dishes in front of a window is also calming and gives a connection to nature even when you are stuck inside. Also it is good not to block natural light with high cabinets or a fridge. Those are better placed opposite a window, not right next to it and creating dark corners.


Be sure to place many light fixtures through your kitchen so that every workplace has plenty of light!


Stove


Before purchasing or upgrading your stove be sure to figure out how you will plan to use your stove. When we built our house 12 years ago we went with all electric because we did not want to invest in propane. But over the years I found out that those beautiful glass top stoves are not very conducive to canning, especially pressure canning. Also don’t just think about the stove top but the oven too. I love my double oven when we have family over because the roast can be cooked in one oven and dessert can be cooked in my other oven.


Eating Area


Last but not least you have got to think about where you are going to sit down and eat that delicious food. Having a place to sit and work too can make a homestead kitchen perfect for getting all of that hard work done!



Homestead Kitchen Tools


Now let’s talk about the tools essential to a homestead kitchen! Yes, all kitchens have gadgets but I think the ones found in a homestead can be very unique.


Knives


A good set of knives is essential for any kitchen, but especially where someone is striving toward self sufficiency and butchering their own meat. Here is a list of some essential knives.


Boning Knife for removing bones from meat

Bone Saw for cutting during the butchering process

Butcher Knife to make the butchering process easier

Paring Knife for paring or slicing fruits and vegetables

Chef’s Knife the multi-tasking knife of a homesteader kitchen

Serrated Knife for cut tomatoes and bread


And don’t forget to keep these knives sharp with honing steel or sharpening stones.


Cast Iron Pan and Dutch Ovens


Cast Iron has been around for centuries and has just stood the test of time. They are versatile as they can be used on the stove, oven, BBQ, or camp fire.


Classic cast iron cookware is your best bet for a homesteading kitchen instead of Le Creuset or any of the colored and enameled brands. Yes, the enameled brands are pretty, but they aren’t ideal for cooking over open flames since it marks up and blackens the paint.


Wagner and Lodge are my go-to brands for homesteading cast iron. Both companies have been around for over 100 years, and many people have passed down their cast iron through the generations. If you don’t have any, watch for sales to get a great price online.


Cast Iron will take a small learning curve when you start using them. Just remember fat is your friend and to avoid soap. The way cast iron can be non-stick is the seasoning and fat that is cooked into the pan. And using soap is the quickest way to get off that good layer of fat. Now don’t worry if you do cook something and do need to add a little soap it is fine just be ready to re-season your pan when you are done.



KitchenAid Mixer with Accessories


A standard stand-mixer comes with basic attachments like the whisk and dough hook, but you can get dozens of other pieces for it. I love kneading my bread in my mixer. Will save your hands for sure.


The Kitchen Aid brand stand mixer has so many attachments it’s basically an all-in-one kitchen appliance. Here are just a few of the attachments you can get:


Pasta roller

Meat grinder

Sausage stuffer

Juicer

Grain Mill

Ice Cream Maker

Food Processor


With such a wide range of uses, the stand mixer is a time-saving multi-use appliance in any homestead kitchen.



Preserving Tools


Preserving your harvest is the biggest job you will do in your homestead kitchen so you are going to need the tools to get it all done. Here is a list that you might want to consider investing in.


Dehydrator

Vacuum Sealer

Pressure Canner

Electric Pressure Pot

Food Mill

Water-Bath Canner

Jars

Jar Lifter

Funnels

Jar lids

Jar rings

Fermenting Crocks

Kitchen Scale


If you would like help making a plan for your harvest and beyond then grab the Planning Beyond the Harvest Handbook. Where you will find the 5 steps to making a plan for your harvest so that it does not go to waste!


Food Processor


This lovely tool can be used for almost any job in the kitchen along with your stand up mixer. I think I use mine at least twice a week. You can make dough for biscuits, cut up tomatoes for tomato sauce, shred cheese, and so much more.



Here is a list of so many more tools that you just can't live without when you are cooking from scratch everyday!


Large Stainless Steel Bowls for breads and just big batch recipes.

Cutting Boards for cutting up anything on the homestead.

Immersion Blender to mix up those deciduous soups and sauces.

Grain Mill if trying out new and different flours is your thing.

Proofing Box for raising the perfect loaf of bread.

Mortar and Pestle to grind up your fresh herbs and spices.

Stock Pots to make delicious pots of broth and soup.

Wooden Spoons to stir those wonderful baked goods and recipes.


Truly the list of tools and accessories in a homestead kitchen can be endless. My advice is to not focus on the dream tools but to focus on the tools that can work the hardest for you, the essentials and that can do multiple things too.


I hope you have enjoyed this venture into homestead kitchens has been enlightening and useful. The heart of your homestead is your kitchen so plan and stock it well.


Have a blessed day,


Crystal


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