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.
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. I know there
are ways to start a fire with a magnifying glass, some straw and some
kindling, but believe me, matches are easier. If you're really good at
starting and keeping a fire throughout the 3 daily meals, you could use
as little as 1 match a day. If you're not, 20 may not be enough. We
have found that the most economical matches are book matches, like you
get with a pack of cigarettes. They come in a box of 50 books, 20
matches per book, for about $1.50 in many stores. That's a lot of
lights for cheap. Wooden kitchen matches go for about $3.50 for 250
matches. See the difference?
Can-Opener – we're not talking
about the kind that plugs into a wall. Have at least 2 good, sturdy
hand operated can-openers . The newer ones from China do wear out.
We've worn out a few. We also have an Army C-Ration P-38 can-opener. It
takes a little practice, but once you get the groove going on it, you
can open a #10 can in a few seconds.
Hand Grain Mill – We have said
this before, but we personally like the Wondermill Junior Deluxe Hand Grain
Mill. (This is not a compensated endorsement, it's just what we use
and like.) 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. The uses are
virtually endless, especially if you eat a lot of whole, natural foods.
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. Aluminum
(besides not being good for your health) tends to warp on wood cook
stoves. Black, cast iron pans heat evenly, hold the heat for a long
time and do not warp – not to mention giving you a little dose of iron
in your food.
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.
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. Just don't let it boil down all the way before
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
Cookie Sheets – for breads,
biscuits, cookies, for drying fruits or veggies... Avoid Teflon
coatings or aluminum cookie sheets – get stainless steel.
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:
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
real foods, here are some things you'll want to have on hand:
Sugar (or honey or molasses)–
Essential for coffee, tea, baking, preserving, and much more. Get
Turbinado or Demarara Sugar, which is unrefined and still contains
Salt – Sea salt may seem more
expensive that “table” salt (I didn't know you could get salt from a
table!?!), but it has many minerals and nutrients still in it. It also
Baking Soda – there are
soooooooo 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.
Vinegar – white distilled
vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar all have their uses.
Distilled vinegar can remove lime deposits from cookware, use in salad
dressings, rinse minerals from hair, preserve/pickle vegetables.
Spices – this will be
different for different people (no accounting for taste!), but here are
Dried Veggies – these can also
be used to season dishes, or to make soups or stews. Again, this is not
a paid recommendation, but sfherb.com
(San Francisco Herb Company) has a great bargain – 1 lb of dehydrated
veggies for around $7. A pound lasts me about a month, and I cook a lot.
Cooking Oil – In our opinion,
there are only 2 types of cooking oil safe for human consumption...
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Peanut Oil.