If you are dependent of electricity like me and like the rest of the world, you should have a backup plan for your kitchen appliances if the grid goes down. If you aim to become self-sufficient, manual kitchen tools are mandatory for when there is no power.
Cooking becomes a time consuming activity during a grid down event. It pays to have a backup for your modern appliances. There are many reliable hand-operated kitchen tools that can replace their modern electric peers. Even more, you can find these manual kitchen tools at garage sales or you can get them cheap from various stores. Below you will find a list with some manual kitchen tools that my wife bought over the years. They are our backup for when the grid goes down.
Manual kitchen tools to consider for your off-grid kitchen:
If you can’t use a food processor, a manual chopper is the next best thing as it will help you chop food instead of mashing it. These manual kitchen tools are sturdy and provide enough force to grind not only veggies, but also fruit and meat. My wife also uses it as a pastry cutter when she makes her pies.
Although many people will use this tool to mash potatoes, we shouldn’t forget that a quality potato masher can mash just about anything you need. You can use it to make a variety of dishes and the wife uses hers when making jam.
A manual peeler
An apple/potato peeler not only peel, but they can also core and slice. There are many peeler variations and they come with a clamping or a suction-cup type system for added stability. Get a hand crank apple peeler just like your Grandma used to have as it will make your work easier in the kitchen.
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A manual food grinder
If you plan on storing food when there is no power, you will need to be able to grind up veggies, fruits and even meat. Having a meat grinder becomes mandatory if you plan to hunt or raise livestock to fuel your meat addiction. Making hamburgers, meatballs and sausages becomes easier if you have a quality meat grinder.
If you raise chickens, your ‘girls’ will provide you with a steady supply of eggs. You will need a tool to replace your electric mixer. While a manual egg beater will not work as well as an electric mixer, it is the best next thing to mix up eggs and whip cream.
A grain mill
If you store wheat, oats or any other grains in your survival pantry and if you plan on making some fresh coffee every morning, you will need a grain mill. If you are serious about your emergency preparedness plans, you should consider getting a stainless steel mill cone that is durable and makes fine bread flour.
A can opener
When it comes to manual can openers you have plenty of choices. This item should be number one on your manual kitchen tools list if you have a good stash of canned goods. You have the wall-mounted can opener type designed for heavy duty use and you have the manual can openers that you can get at the dollar store. If you plan to travel or bug out, the P-51 military can opener will become a valuable addition to your survival bag. It will provide you with peace of mind if you need to open a can during an emergency.
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I’ve bought this one a while ago and I’ve used it on various occasions during my hiking trips. It is a great tool for making toast when a toaster is nowhere in sight, but you can also use it to cook various other types of foods (I’ve cooked sausages and meat on it). It is lightweight, small, foldable and inexpensive.
My grandma didn’t have a digital timer, but she did have an egg timer she twisted to the desired timer. She was able to handle other chores while she waited for the buzzer. This item is often overlooked by many preppers when they plan their off grid kitchen, considering that time is an important ingredient of every dish.
Mortar and pestle set
If you plan to forage for herbs or if you are used to flavor your dishes with various spices, you will need a mortar and pestle to crush, grind and powder the ingredients. These items have been around for thousands of years, long before electricity became part of our daily lives. They do a great job at crushing and powdering herbs, spices, nuts and pretty much anything you managed to forage. If you plan to get a mortar and pestle set, go for a porcelain type as it is easier to clean. It also won’t absorb food odors like the ones made from other materials.
If you have a self-sufficient homestead, you are probably looking for ways to preserve your produce. Food dehydration is one of the most common methods of preserving food and you don’t need much to do it. While some people prefer to use modern food dehydrators, there are those who are still using the old ways and for them a solar food dehydrator is priceless. There are many models available on the market, but you can also make your own. Just watch some of the DIY videos posted on you tube.
Related article: How to dehydrate food for long-term storage
A manual grater
Having a manual grater isn’t useful just for cheese and you can grate vegetables and nearly everything you can think of (including soap for making liquid detergent). There are many manual kitchen tools available on the market with all sorts of grating patterns. Get the one you prefer, based on your needs.
If you plan on making coffee or herbal teas when electricity stops flowing, a percolator will help you reach the desired strength for your coffee or tea. Getting one with a clear glass carafe will let you see when the beverage is just right for you. This is a great thing to have in the kitchen since it works as quickly as any electric coffee maker. Even more, it is far easier to clean than any electric coffee maker. I bought one to add to my emergency supplies, but my wife uses it every day since the taste of coffee in this percolator far exceeds our drip coffee maker.
A stainless steel kitchen scale should be on your manual kitchen tools list if food measuring is one of your concerns. While guessing the right quantity of ingredients needed for a certain dish may work for the experienced cook, you should probably use a scale instead of guessing. A scale can also be used during harsh time when food rationing becomes a reality.
Now that you have your shopping list of the indispensable manual kitchen tools is time to check what you already have laying around in your kitchen and what you need to buy. These items will make your life easier through uncertain times when off-grid living becomes a normal way of life.
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