The Everything Pantry Essential Tool Kit:

Essential kitchen tools for your frugal

Tools and Appliances For a Successful Frugal Kitchen


A successful "Sweat Equity" approach to your grocery budget begins with your kitchen tool choices.


With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide a list of the "cannot live without" tools I use in my own frugal kitchen.


I am a huge fan of versatile multi-use tools. They save money, time and take up less space than cupboards stacked with single use tools and appliances.


Over the years I have brought home many an exciting gadget only to find myself popping it into the donation box a year later after realizing the advertising oversold the usefulness of the item.


My revolving door of gadgetry and thing-a-ma-jigs will at least have been useful in that I can advise you on the benefits of a pared down kitchen tool kit and what is actually worth spending your hard earned pennies on.


I will be adding to this post as I have time to complete reviews on each tool. Please check back regularly for updates.


The Quarter Acre Homestead at Bulwark Arms blog is reader supported and you may choose to purchase products through links on our posts. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We only post affiliate links to products we use and love!

Essential kitchen tools for your frugal "Everything Pantry" tool kit.

Excalibur 9 tray food dehydrator - Summary


Overall Rating:

4.5 / 5

Quality 

The quality of the construction is sturdy. The fan is a little on the noisy side.

Ease of Use  

Extremely easy to use.

Cost

It is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but ultimately, it's versatility makes it worth the cost.

We Like

  • Versatile multi-use tool. 
  • 15 Square feet of drying space = more prepared food in less time.
  • You don't have to rotate the trays.
  • Optional non-stick Paraflexx sheets make fruit leather a snap. 

We Don't Like

  • Polyscreen tray inserts are non-stick, BUT will warp (like plastic does) if your fruit leather "batter" has not cooled enough. This causes the "batter" to pool in the middle of the tray and not dry evenly. Not a deal breaker, but adds a little extra time on to your prep as you wait for the "batter" to cool enough to put your finger in it without discomfort.
  • Fan is a little on the noisy side. Use in a segregated room like a basement or garage if available.

I love this dehydrator BECAUSE IT IS SO VERSATILE! I use it for everything from "living" food (buckwheat crispies cereal from Ani Phyo's book Ani's Raw Food Kitchen), fruit leather to beef jerky. You can also use it to make yogurt or proof your bread! 


The Paraflexx sheets that lay on top of the polyscreen tray inserts make fruit leather a snap to make. You can fit 9 quarter cup cookie scoops of "batter" per tray and it makes a really nice thin "fruit roll-up" style finished product. My kids won't touch prunes, but stew up Italian prune plums, throw them through a food mill and make leather out of them and the kids hoover it down. 

Excalibur Dehydrator - Fruit Leather "Batter"

Excalibur Dehydrator - Fruit leather "batter" prior to drying.


I also make beef jerky out of ground beef seasoned and spread thinly on the Paraflexx lined trays. It only takes 5 minutes of prep to have a hearty snack for lunches or adventuring.

Excalibur Dehydrator - Beef jerky made with ground beef.

Excalibur Dehydrator - Beef jerky made with ground beef.


My only frustration with this unit, at first, was that the size of the trays were fantastic for making product, but a real pain to clean because they didn't fit in my sink.


I found a solution with a Sterilite Modular Stacker which doesn't appear to be available anymore, but a Type A Clarity Container, 25L from Canadian Tire measures larger than the 15" x 15" tray size as well.


I put my container in the bath tub, fill it with warm soapy water, Excalibur trays/polyscreens and Paraflex sheets, let them soak for 15-20 minutes and then scrub them clean with a brush and rinse. Easy peasy. I also store my Excalibur trays/polyscreens and Paraflex sheets in this container when not in use to keep them dust free in the garage.


You can find the same one I use on Amazon.


T-Fal Clipso 6l pressure cooker - Summary


Overall Rating:

4.5 / 5

Quality 

I find this cooker to be well made and sturdy.

Ease of Use  

Extremely easy to use.

Cost

Reasonable.

We Like

  • Automatic safety valve, pressure control valve and gasket leakage safety features! 
  • Easy fast/slow pressure release system.
  • One hand easy open, easy close mechanism
  • I feel very safe using this product.

We Don't Like

  • I have yet to find something I don't like about this pot except its slightly fussy to clean. Make sure you thoroughly clean the gasket and safety valves after every use.

My grandma instilled a healthy fear of pressure cookers and caners into me ("you'll blow yourself up!") as she had incidents with the pressure technology of the past. I remember a story about having to dig a hole and bury a pot that had welded itself shut during the cooking process.

It took me a year and a half to pluck up the courage to use this cooker after I purchased it and I have been enjoying it ever since. 

You will never buy canned beans to use in a recipe again. It is so quick and easy (not to mention super inexpensive) to cook them from soaked dried beans. A freshly cooked bean tastes nothing like a pre-canned bean in my humble opinion.

 As a terrified new user to this technology, I was grateful for the 5 safety feature system on this product. It has allowed me to learn how to use this cooker with less fear and master this fantastic cooking method.

You can find the same one I use on Amazon.

Penny

I'm a frugal, city dwelling, "homestead where you're at" blogger with a passion for saving a buck (in often creative ways). I really enjoy sharing my money saving tips and sweat equity methods to help others struggle less financially.

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