How can you Save Time in the Kitchen?
Do you often feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do both on the farm and in the house? Would you like to save time in the kitchen? Of course, you would! You are probably responsible for all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children. Then are the farm chores and the projects and the seasonal tasks such as planting and harvesting. Did I mention the garden?
As much as I love farm life, daily responsibilities can be overwhelming. Today, I am going lighten your load by sharing my Four Tools that will save you time in the kitchen. You have enough to do! These tools will help put your kitchen on autopilot (mostly).
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The four tools I am going to share today are modern kitchen appliances that will save you hours of time with both day-to-day meals and utilizing your farm harvest. If you live on a farm or homestead, you may have a vision of Caroline Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, cooking in her living room hearth and fetching water from the creek. It is a slow, yet hard life long since past.
Today’s fast-paced culture with all our activities and obligations calls for simple, fast solutions. Yet, as farmers, we would like to feed our family healthy, homegrown, homecooked meals. These 4 tools will give both fast and simple, yet healthy, homegrown and homecooked meals.
1. Instant Pot
The first tool that will save you time in the kitchen is the Instant Pot. I have owned one for about 3 years. I still have the first one I ever bought. It is a workhorse! I use it at least once a day and usually multiple times a day. Here are my top 4 uses for the Instant Pot.
We have a milk cow who gives us wonderful fresh milk twice a day. I utilize as much milk as I can. One way is by making yogurt on a weekly basis. Making yogurt in the Instant Pot is simple. It is the easiest way to make yogurt because you do not have to monitor the temperature. You can find a wonderful tutorial about how to make yogurt in the Instant Pot here.
Frozen Ground Beef
Have you ever forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for supper? Then at 5:00 p.m., you remember that you must feed your family ANOTHER meal? Me too. In fact, this happens to me a lot. I used to spend a long time trying to thaw a frozen chunk of ground beef on the stovetop. Not anymore! I just put the frozen chunk of beef in my Instant Pot, set the timer for 30 minutes and just like magic, the ground beef comes out like it was browned on the stove. Please note: depending on how frozen it is, you may have to brown the very middle of the chunk, but it is way better than standing over the stove trying to brown it from a completely frozen state.
Living on the farm, we have chickens who give us wonderful, fresh eggs. If you don’t have chickens yet, I encourage you to give them a try. They are probably the most self-sufficient animal on the farm. You can read about Tips for starting healthy chicks here.
During the summer, we have more eggs than we can eat as a family. I utilize the eggs by either selling them or hard-boiling eggs. The problem with hard-boiling fresh eggs, they are impossible to peel. Not if you hard-boil them in the Instant Pot! They peel perfectly!
The formula for hard boil eggs in the Instant Pot is simple. 5-5-5. Five minutes on manual, sit for five minutes before releasing pressure and then remove from Instant Pot. Then place eggs for 5 minutes (or longer) in a cold water bath.
If you produce your own meat chickens on the farm, cooking them in the Instant Pot is a wonderful way to enjoy them. The large Instant Pot that I have linked to can easily fit a whole chicken. I do not enjoy cutting up a raw, whole chicken, but when I put it in the Instant Pot for 45 minutes, it falls off the bone and can easily be used to make casseroles, tacos, shredded chicken sandwiches. You can learn 14 reasons to raise meat chickens here.
The second tool that will save you time in the kitchen is the Vitamix. I have owned one for about 10 years. This is an expensive, yet very high-quality blender. I still have the first one I ever bought. It is also a workhorse in my kitchen! I use it at least once a day and usually multiple times a day. Here are my top 4 uses for the Vitamix.
Our Jersey Cow gives us a lot of rich, delicious cream. My favorite use for cream is in my coffee. But a close second is making butter.
- I simply pour the cream into the Vitamix.
- Turn it on to about 3-4 speed, slowly increase the speed to 7-8 and let it run for 3-5 minutes.
- You will hear the sound of the machine change. It is a whooshing or chugging sound because the cream has whipped. (STOP HERE FOR WHIPPED CREAM)
- Slow the speed down, then off.
- Scrape the whipped cream off the sides.
- Replace cover, turn the machine on low. The sound of the machine will change again to a more liquidy sound. The cream will turn into small bits of butter and buttermilk.
- At this point, I turn the machine on to 10 for about 30 seconds and then off.
- When you open the lid, you will see the butter separated from the buttermilk.
- Strain the buttermilk into a jar with a kitchen strainer. (Save buttermilk for using in baking)
- Form a ball with the butter, and run under cold water while squeezing out the last of the buttermilk
- Form into the shape you would like and place it in a container in the refrigerator
Making Whipped Cream is essentially the same process as making butter explained above except you stop after you hear the change to a wooshing sound. Add sweetener if you desire. I use a spatula to mix in the sweetener rather than turning the Vitamix on so I don’t end up with butter. But it may happen the first few times until you learn the sounds of your Vitamix. Also, the temperature of the cream can affect how long it takes to make whipped cream and butter. Room temperature cream is better, but I almost never remember to take out my cream so I do it from refrigerator temperature.
Our family loves smoothies. We use yogurt, kefir, or just raw milk along with in-season or frozen berries. I also add kale or another seasonal green, along with stevia to sweeten. It is a refreshing healthy dessert or even a meal. I simply throw it all in the Vitamix and turn it on high for 1-2 minutes or until well blended. Then serve. The ingredients for smoothies are endless.
I also use the Vitamix to grind fresh wheat berries. You will need the dry container. This container is sold separately. I would love to have a grain mill, but the dry container takes up less space and was less expensive. We don’t grind a lot of grain so it was the best option for our kitchen. I use fresh ground flour in bread, muffins, and pancakes.
3. Slow Cooker
The third tool that will save you time in the kitchen is the Slow Cooker. A classic, yet extremely helpful kitchen appliance. I don’t use the slow cooker daily, but I do use it weekly. I love putting a meal in the slow cooker in the morning and then forgetting about it until dinnertime. Here are my top 3 uses for the Slow Cooker.
As a beef farmer, we eat a lot of beef. We love to have a simple roast with vegetables Sunday Dinner. I simply throw the roast and vegetables and spices along with some liquid (usually home-canned tomatoes) into the slow cooker before church. Cook it on high while we are at church and when we get home our meal is ready. Easy peasy!
My other favorite use for the slow cooker is cooking a whole chicken. I put the chicken with some spices and water into the slow cooker and cook all day on low. For dinner, we eat the delicious, tender chicken. I return the carcass into the slow cooker after dinner to make chicken broth.
I love making chicken broth after we have whole chicken from the slow cooker because I can just put all these things in after dinner.
- chicken carcass
- 2 onions, cut roughly
- 1-2 carrot or two, cut roughly
- 2 stalks of celery, cut roughly
- 2 Tbs. of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- fill the rest of the slow cooker with water
Return cover to slow cooker, allow to cook 12-24 hours. Strain the carcass and vegetables. Put chicken broth in jars and allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you make chicken broth each time you cook a whole chicken, you will never have to buy chicken broth again. This is a frugal, healthy alternative to the storebought broth.
4. Kitchenaid Mixer
The fourth tool that will save you time in the kitchen is the Kitchenaid Mixer. I have owned one for about 25 years. The motor finally burned out on my 20-year Kitchenaid Mixer about 5 years ago. I was lost without it, I even tried a cheap replacement, but it was no comparison. So, I got another Kitchenaid Mixer. I don’t do a lot of baking, but when I do, the mixer is super handy. Also, there are many attachments you can purchase to change your mixer into other tools. If you process your own meat on the farm, the food grinder would be an excellent choice. Another attachment on my wish list is the Spiralizer. This would be a wonderful attachment if you are a gardener or if you eat a lot of vegetables. Here are my top 3 uses for the Kitchenaid Mixer.
Pancakes, Cakes, and Cookies
Basically, any batter that needs mixing, the Kitchenaid Mixer is a must-have. I use it to make Gramma’s Oatmeal Pancakes every Saturday morning. I use the 6 wire whip attachment. This attachment also works great for cakes and whipping eggs or any loose or runny batter. For firmer types of batter, such as cookies, I use the flex edge beater. It does a great job scraping the sides as it mixes.
Favorite Farm Kitchen Tools Freebie
I hope that this list of my essential, favorite kitchen tools has been helpful. These tools are expensive but look at them as an investment. These are high-quality appliances that will last many years. I have acquired these tools over the years and they have taken the overwhelm out of all the daily kitchen tasks. These tools will help you overcome the kitchen overwhelm.
How about you? Which of these kitchen tools do you own? Which one is on your wish list? What tool would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
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