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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Kitchen Extras That Save Money

Frugal Kitchens 101

As a foodie I do love kitchen gadgets but with a smaller kitchen I have to be conscious of not filling my kitchen with gadgets that may only be used a few times.  When it comes to kitchen extras there are some that have a very low payback period with considerable savings after the payback period.  Over time these are the true must haves in a frugal kitchen.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 discusses some of the must have kitchen extras that save money in a very short period of time.  The following are some of the kitchen extras that I consider frugal choices:

  • popcorn maker - Making popcorn at home for a snack is not only healthy but quite inexpensive.  A popcorn maker will save you both time, energy and money because it allows you to use bulk popcorn or even gourmet popcorn without all the health risks involved with microwave popcorn.  A popcorn maker will cost somewhere in the $30 range but if it easy to use especially for school aged children will have a very low payback period.  A bag of popcorn is considerably cheaper that snacks like potato chips or commercially prepared bags of cheese popcorn.  Home popped will cost you somewhere in the range of about 25¢ compared to a bag of commercially prepared snacks at about $2.
  • pressure cooker - A pressure cooker cooks foods at 15 lb pressure meaning foods cook quicker and are more tender.  A roast can be easily cooked in a pressure cooker in about 40 minutes yet it is melt in your mouth tender.  Unlike a microwave oven meats cooked in a pressure cooker can be browned.  A pressure cooker also makes very quick work of making homemade stocks reducing the cooking time from 3 or more hours down to about 30 minutes.  A pressure cooker will cost somewhere in the $40 range.
  • pressure canner -  My pressure canners are my most valuable kitchen extras.  A pressure canner operates at 5, 10 or 15 lb pressure and is considerably larger than a pressure cooker.  It is necessary for canning low acid foods.  Home canning your own food is one of the most frugal things you can do.  For example home canned baked beans costs about 10¢ for a 500 ml jar in comparision to 59¢ bought on sale and they have considerable less BPA (suspected carcinogen) because they are canned in jars rather than plastic lined cans (all cans in North America are lined with plastic containing BPA.  A pressure canner will cost between $60 and $400 depending on what you buy but used ones show up at resale stores, yard sales and on Freecycle so you might be able to get one free!  Even on the high end a pressure canner has a payback of less than a year. 
  • countertop roaster - A counter top roaster allows you to cook pretty much anything you would cook in an oven with the same great results while using less electricity and not heating up the kitchen.  Unlike a microwave oven or slow cooker, a countertop roaste does brown foods nicely so you can get excellent results.  Depending on the size a countertop roaster will cost in the range of $30 to $60. 
  • yogurt maker -  Homemade yogurt is inexpensive and easy to make.  Yogurt can be made without a yogurt maker but a yogurt maker will give consistent results.  The nice thing is most yogurt makers will cost about $20 new but can easily be found at yard sales for about $2. 
  • slow cooker - I'm not a huge fan of slow cookers but they do save money.  Having a ready meal when you get home eliminates the urge to stop for take-out or fast food. 
  • KitchenAid stand mixer - A KA stand mixer is seriously worth it's weight in gold!  This is one of the very few small kitchen appliances that I regret not buying sooner.  Not only can it be used for a variety of mixing needs it is wonderful for making homemade breads eliminating the need for a breadmachine.  There are a wide range of attachments available as well so this is one appliance that really earns its place on my counter.  I use mine almost daily quite often multiple times in a day.  It takes the place of a breadmaker, food processor and food strainer.  Soon it will become a pasta maker as well.  A KA stand mixer will cost in the range of $250 or more if bought new but the payback period is very low.  This machine will pay for itself in bread alone within a few months!
  • FoodSaver vacuum sealer - Air is the natural enemy of food especially during storage.  A vacuum sealer removes the air then seals it out which is especially useful for dry and freezer storage.  Vaccum sealing dry foods eliminates humidity problems while vacuum sealing frozen foods eliminates freezer burn both of with cause food spoilage.  A FoodSaver vacuum sealer will cost about $100 but if bought in a kit will come with a mason jar sealer, hose, canisters and a few bags to get you started.  It has a very low payback period as well.  In many cases a FoodSaver vacuum sealer will pay for itself within a couple of months if not sooner.
  • blender - A blender is a must have inexpensive small appliance that costs under $30 with a very short payback period.  Blenders can are multi-task appliances ranging from grinding coffee beans to making baby food, smoothies, soups and dips.  I use the mason jar tip with my blender to make dips, sauces and viniagrettes right in the jar!

2 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Good list. Thanks! :)

Garden Gnome said...

You're welcome :)