Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Learning How To Cook for Survival: Part 13 Cooking Utensils part 2

Bowls A good set of nesting bowls is very helpful and doesn't take up much space. Metal is better then plastic since plastic will link with fat molecules so they are hard to get really clean. Glass is also great since you can put them in the microwave if you need to heat or defrost something, but they can break. Bigger is often better but don't get one so big it doesn't fit in your cabinet or dishwasher.

Graters Lots of things need to be grated and a good box grater makes it easier, it needs a nice wide base. For hard cheeses, citrus and other fine grating jobs a microplane grater rocks.

Stainers and colanders are for separating foods and liquids. Slots work better for draining liquids and make sure to have a bowl or other container big enough for the stainer to fit in. Wire mesh strainers can be also be used for sifting flour. You'll want a big one that will fit into a 6 Quart bowl for washing large amounts of food like before a canning session. A medium sized one of 2 Quart size for pasta, and a small one of 1 cup size for straining loose teas and other herbal infusions, this is also great for sifting flour and powdered sugar when baking.

Can opener, get at least three of these for your kitchen and two in your emergency kits. You can brute force your way into a can with a strong knife but a can opener is much easier and safer.

Measuring cups and spoons and scale, all recipes have ingredients that need to be measured. Two sets are important, stainless steel is the most durable. An electronic scale is fine, a manual balance scale would be great.

Peelers or vegetable peelers are designed for getting the skin off of foods like carrots. They are also very good at making very thin slices of firm foods like potatoes; homemade potato chips a breeze to make. The most important thing is to get one that's comfortable for your hand.

Scissors are really useful. You want a few of these. A pair of general purpose scissors for opening bags and cutting butcher's twine is a must. They can be good but not great pair. On the other hand a great pair of kitchen shears can save you a lot of work. It can cut the back out of a chicken carcass or the fins off of a fish. Since this is for cutting raw meat, this must be stainless steel and they must can come apart so you can really clean it.

Bench scraper, amazingly useful not just for manipulating dough but also transferring chopped foods from the cutting board to a bowl or pan.

Ladles are really just spoons with a deeper bowl. I like the calibrated ones, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup. It makes potion control easier.

Spice grinders, pepper mills and mortar & pestle. Whole spices last years so they are great for storage, but you need to break them up when you want to use them. Whole pepper is a great and easy addition. Pepper mills are good for pepper, obviously, and other pepper sized spices like allspice. For something like cinnamon sticks or chunks you need something different like a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Mallet or meat tenderizer sometimes you need to flatten food, but don't over do it or you'll make mush. There are two basic styles, Hammer style and vertical style, a flat base and a vertical handle. A matte finish with rounded edges is best.

Food mill is a manual food processor, something very handy for preparing foods for canning or making mashed potatoes.

Storage containers there'll be no more plastic bags after a collapse so some good and durable storage containers are going to come in handy. Plastic is fine as all materials will eventually wear out or break.

Ice trays not just for ice any more, get them in the 2 Tablespoon size which are good for freezing egg whites, and small amounts of stock for helping dishes.

Rolling pin, a solid one piece French style rolling pin is almost indestructible. But an 1.5 inch wooden dowel will work fine.