Monday, October 21, 2013

Top Five Food Processing Tools for The Non-Electric Kitchen

As part of the series, 10 Things You Need to Know How To Do Before You Lose Electricity, I gave the top five non-electric kitchen tools I use on a daily or almost daily basis. You can see that post here. These kitchen tools are critical to be able to function in a kitchen when there isn't any electricity, but they are not the only tools you will need to put food on the table. So, in this post I will show you the top five non-electric food processing tools I use. If, like me, you don't purchase many processed foods, these non-electric appliances are key for you to be able to feed your family when there isn't any electricity.

While using non-electric appliances is extremely important to the way I live, not buying processed foods is also important to me. When you process your own foods, you cut costs, preservatives, and any extra ingredients you may not like or want in your foods! It is healthier, cheaper and doesn't use electricity: a win - win - win in my book! So, here is my list of the top five food processing tools needed for a non-electric kitchen!

#5: Atlas Manual Pasta Extruder Regina

As part of my food storage program, I store whole wheat berries. As long as I have whole wheat stored, I have the ability to turn it into whatever I want: breads, pasta or pies! One of the things I do most with whole wheat berries is to turn it into pasta. To do that, I have the Atlas Manual Pasta Extruder Regina (Santa gave it to me). It is super easy to use and super easy to clean!

This machine makes five different kinds of macaroni:  rigatoni, maccheroni, maccheroncini, bucatini and fusilli.  My favorite is maccheroni pasta because it looks like standard elbow macaroni with ridges. That is what I am making in the picture below.

You can see more about how this tools works in this post, here. Contrary to some reviews I have read online, I don't have any problems turning the hand crank. The key to easy use is the correct water to flour ratio.

#4: Victorio Food Strainer

This tools is critical for making tomato sauce or applesauce quickly and easily! Before I bought one, I used to cut the tomatoes in half, heat them to boiling and then run them through a food mill. Using a food mill was a time consuming process! With the Victorio Food Strainer, it is possible for me to make a gallon of tomato sauce in five minutes! You can see another post on how to do that here.

This tool isn't just good for tomatoes and apples, you can get an accessory kit that works on berries, pumpkins, salsa, grapes, and other fruits with large seeds! I would not be able to can half as much spaghetti sauce as I do if I didn't have this tool!

#3: Victorio Apple Peeler

While I only use this tool continuously on a seasonal basis, I would not be able to process nearly as many apples every year without it! Not only does it core, peel and slice an apple in about 10 seconds, it will peel potatoes just as fast! (To use it for potatoes, you must remove the corer/slicer blade). Before I bought this, I was limited to canning one or two bushels of apples during the fall season. Now, I can do many more. In addition, peeling and coring apples by hand was hard on my arthritic fingers. They would ache for days after I finished canning. Not so anymore! I will never be without this tool again!

It comes with two different base designs, a clamp or a suction base. The one I have has a suction base. I like it because you can put it anywhere, no need to be anchored to the end of a table or counter.

#2: Yogotherm Yogurt Maker

I use this at least a few times each month. Not only does it make yogurt, it also makes cream cheese, sour cream, buttermilk and anything else requiring a culture. However, I must tell you that it really isn't a necessary tool if you have a warm spot in your kitchen you can place the cultured food while the bacteria are working. A word of caution though, it must be a consistently warm spot, able to stay at the correct temperature the culture needs to perform its work. (Yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk and cream cheese all require different temperatures.) I don't have a consistently warm spot that will stay at the correct temperature, so I bought a Yogotherm yogurt maker. It is so easy and convenient! It stays at the correct temperature no matter where I put it in the house!. It is very inexpensive to purchase!. It has an inner container, styrofoam lining and the outer container. That's it. You can see how it works in a post on making yogurt, here.

I make my own dairy products using a Yogotherm so I don't have to eat any artificial ingredients or  preservatives. It doesn't take a lot of effort or time to make your own when you use a Yogotherm! And, everything tastes much better!

#1 Wondermill  Wonder Junior, Deluxe Grain Mill

Without this grain mill, I would end up eating all my wheat berries as a gruel. While they taste OK as a gruel, I have no desire to eat it every day at every meal! (Besides, if you ever had to eat it that way every day, food fatigue would set in very quickly.)  You could grind your wheat like the Indians did, smashing it between two rocks. However, that isn't a very efficient use of your time and effort. This mill is a bit pricey. I had to save up to get mine. There are cheaper hand mills out there, but they don't last. I have owned a few of the cheaper ones - they all ended up breaking! I have owned the Wonder Junior for about four years now and I have not had any problems with it! It works every time I need it to!

What I like best about this mill is it can grind wet foods as well as dry. Things like peanuts (or other oily seeds), flax, coffee, and cloves! I even read an article where someone used it to grind his own cocoa powder from cocoa beans! It is fast and easy to use. You can set it from a very coarse grind (needed for cracked oat groats) to very, very fine (needed for pastry flour).

In addition to using it for wheat, barley, oats, durum wheat, and peanuts, I also have used it to grind dehydrated chili peppers for insecticide! (For a little powder, I use a mortar and pestle; for a lot of powder, I use the Wondermill Junior.)

The Wondermill Junior is the most important food processing tool I have in my kitchen! With the ability to grind your own flour, a world of different foods opens up to you! You can turn those berries into many different speciality flours to make anything you can think of! You can see how to make some common speciality flours in this post, here. The best benefit is, making your own speciality flours is much cheaper then buying it from the store!

As I have said before, when the power goes out, it is my goal to not even notice! I don't plan to miss a beat in my kitchen, with or without electricity!


  1. I bought an apple peeler (looks just like yours) over last weekend. LOVE IT!

    1. I am sure you are going to wonder just how you got along without one!

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine!

  2. This is some great info. I especially like that you included links on how you use these products. I'm thinking I really NEED the pasta extruder and have added it and the grain mill to my wish list.

    1. Thank you so very much! Perhaps Santa can bring you one for Christmas!

      Please consider using my links when you are ready to purchase! It doesn't cost you anything and I get a few pennies to help support the blog.

  3. I love this post! I have a victorio strainer, and the apple peeler/corer (for my 3 apple trees). I have an old salton yogurt maker but the Yogotherm is intriguing... although I might try using a thermos instead first.... I only want a one quart size but the 2 quart would be good for greek yogurt... Oh, I wish milk wasn't so expensive (wish I had a good source of raw milk).


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