Some people can't give up their sweet tooth (or they have kids) and they make paleo cookies with nut and coconut flours, and honey or maple syrup. Use for sweet potato fries. You can use to warm up appetizers before serving. Useful for baking green or red peppers, and winter squash halves. You can use for oven drying. They can be used under a smaller pan to catch drips. With sides they are called Bakers Sheet Pans. A half sheet is 13 x 18 x 1. They have increased stability and more sides to grab on to. Some have encapsulated steel rims to prevent warping. They come in plain and with a non-stick surface. A non-stick surface can start to flake off over time. Some non-stick ones also have air insulation between the two aluminum layers to promote even baking. Stick to the plain.
A silicone baking mat prevents cookies and appetizers from sticking and helps in cleanup. Silpat is the recognized brand name for these. Also called cookie sheet liners. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Also for use in the microwave if small enough and in the freezer. Can be cut to size. Easy to clean, just rinse and some soap when finished. Can roll up for storage. The cheaper ones get more negative reviews.
If you do go for cookies you would also need a cooling rack. The top seller is a collapsible 3-tier rack with narrowly spaced steel wires and non-stick coating.
For nut flour muffins, egg muffins (mini crustless quiche), and pemmican cakes. You have a choice of full size and mini (2-1/8" diameter). The mini ones take more effort to clean, but make a more practical sized pemmican muffin.. Non-stick ones make the most sense, but the surface could wear out with use. There are now silicone muffin pans which I have not used (but will soon). With silicone one can simply pop the muffins out and not have to pry them out with a knife. The cups in the blue silicone 6 cup pan are deeper than in a metal pan. Too deep to fully fill for pemmican.
Roasting Pan With Rack
Also called a French Roaster. You need something to put a roast in the oven. You can't slow cook everything, and some like a leg of lamb won't fit in the slow cooker. My first roasting pan was thin stainless steel that warped and juice could easily burn. And no rack. The rack popularity is more recent. I now have a stainless steel one with thick aluminum core and a non-stick rack. The common size is 16-inch across. Some are a little more.
Chestnut Roasting Pan
This is the classic way to cook chestnuts. You need an open flame to use this one (e.g. a gas stove, barbecue grill, or fireplace). They are unfinished steel. They need to be oiled to keep from rusting. Alternatively, for less, an open top Grilling Basket should work just as well or better, and won't rust.
Chestnut Roaster, Superstone
The classic way to roast chestnuts in the oven (also microwave) is to use a stoneware pot. It keeps enough moisture in the roaster to keep the chestnuts moist, but still enables you to get the flavor of roasting instead of boiling. 4" deep, 7-1/2" outside diameter. Not currently available at Amazon.com. Try Cybercucina.
I have a basic glass baster that I use. I can't imagine having a opaque metal one and not knowing how much has been drawn into the baster. On the bestselling Tovolo Clear Dripless Baster (pictured at left) the botton is angled to more efficiently suck up the liquid. It comes with an extra tip and a useful cleaning brush. There are no negatives.
There are two distinct types of basting brushes: ones for pastry and ones used for cooking on the stovetop or on the grill. Barbecue basting brushes are also sold as part of a barbecue tool set. Bristles these days are silicone (in the past they were boar bristle). The silicone are safe to clean in the dishwasher. Also available are basting mops with either removable cotton heads for cleaning, or silicone.
An alternative to brushing on oil is spraying it on. These are a way to get a pure olive oil spray on baking pans. Use when grilling vegetables (both on the grill, and in the oven). Use on the grill. Spray on cookie sheets for sweet potato fries. Coat oven roasted fish and chicken. Spray on salads. Misting action doesn't last long before having to pump it up again. After time, dispersion quality declines due to clogging. You need to follow instructions. Reliability has improved over the years. The Prepara Oil Mister lets users create flavored, infused oils in a spray bottle that won't get clogged with herbs or spices. You can make paleo marinades. See many at paleo marinade recipes. Often the liquid is acidic using a citrus juice, or wine, to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Oils, herbs, and spices are used to add further flavor.
This is a poor man's version of the previous entry and the marinating accessory that can be added to one's Tilia Foodsaver (see Storing: Vacuum Sealer below). By creating a vacuum (in this case a partial vacuum, as that is all you can do by hand) you can marinate food in minutes instead of hours or days. Some people don't like the bowl design with a hump in the middle.
Any poultry, meat, or game benefits from being basted from the inside out. Pictured is the best selling marinade injector which is made of plastic and stainless steel. However, it can crack. For more durability get one that is all stainless steel.
For frozen desserts, sauces, and small quantities of flour from nuts. Wide jars are better for chunky things. Look for one that crushes ice at any speed. Can turn small pieces of jerky into powder, but it is not ideal. If you look at the Amazon.com reviews you will find that all have reliability problems. I have a KitchenAid 5-Speed and despite sporatic use powdering jerky it died on me and they swapped it for a reconditioned one for a reasonable amount.
Also called immersion blender or stick blender. Large commercial ones existed long before consumer models. Paleo mayonnaises are limited, so homemade paleo mayo is an option. This is less to clean than a food processor. They are great not only for mayo and dressings, but good for making almond milk, fruit shakes, thickening soups and sauces right in the pan by pureeing vegetables. Can grind nuts to make nut flour and nutbutters. Good for steak tartare and grinding the meat for pemmican. Also use to grind together raisins and nuts to make fruitnutballs. I used to use mine when rendering suet, but now instead I run the suet through my meat grinder before rendering.
This is the ultimate heavy duty blender. People that have them swear by them. There are two paleo things that you can do with a VitaMix that you can't with a regular countertop blender: liquify raw vegetables, and make a smooth nut milk with no filtering. They are noisy. You can also buy a container that has a blade for dry materials. Non-paleo people would use it to grind grains. I tried using the dry container for jerky. It did no better than a decent blender and the dry container option costs more than a meat grinder, which is the best for grinding jerky. If you are into using blenders and can afford one go for it.
Clay Pot Cooking
Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. This technique has a long history, stretching back at least to ancient Roman times, and is commonly used in several cuisines in Europe and Southeast and East Asia. The food loses little of its moisture because it is surrounded by steam, creating a tender, flavorful dish. No oil needs to be added with this cooking technique. The pot is mainly used to cook meat like pork roast, chicken or stew in an oven. Nutrients are not leached out into any water. [Wikipedia: Clay pot cooking] They also work in the microwave. You must follow the instructions. There are two types readily available: The Romertopf has no glazing anywhere and is the primary one. The Schlemmertopf has a light glaze on the inside of the bottom pot. This allows meals to be prepared with the addition of fats or oils and the ability to cook meats and sides together. Foods brown with the lid on. Pre-browning is not necessary and basting is eliminated. Also easy cleanup.
A thick-walled (usually cast iron) cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens have been used as cooking vessels for hundreds of years. They superbly retain the heat. They sat above the coals. Now they have smooth bottoms for use on the cooktop or in the oven, and a porcelain enamel coating. See history at Wikipedia: Dutch oven. Le Creuset has been the well known brand for this, but it is terribly expensive.
One should not microwave in plastic. It has been shown that plastic wrap should not touch food, as the food will absorb the chemicals. (You can still use it as a cover when you microwave, just make sure it doesn't sag and touch the food.) You will see claims that some plastics are microwave safe. But why chance it? A glass vessel with lid is perfectly safe. I find the 1-1/2 quart size in the Pyrex line to be the ideal size to reheat food. The lid can be used on an 8" frying pan and is the cheapest solution for that. I have several. I like knobs on the lids.
Pyrex 1-1/2 Quart Casserole
I currently have a 2-Quart Pyrex and a 3-Quart (no longer made). I can use the 3-Quart for mixing pemmican, though this Pyrex 4-Quart Mixing Bowl would be much better.
Marinex 0.6 Quart Casserole
I once had a 1-Quart Pyrex casserole. Unfortunately it is no longer made. For a small size I now have several Marinex 23.7-Ounce Small Round Casserole with Lid. They stack nicely. They are made of borosilicate glass, which is the heat resistant glass that Pyrex was made of, but no longer is. They will only hold 19 ounces of liquid. The stated size includes the domed lid. Ideal for storing leftovers that you know you will be reheating.
This bamboo pot scraper gets the stuck-on-food off without scratching your cookware. Hand shaped, finished and burnished. Each corner has a different radius to find the best fit into the pot corner. Measures: 2 3/4" square.
People love using the pictured best selling Oxo for drinking glasses and water bottles with wide openings. You can also get a set for smaller openings.
Cleaning Brush, Grill
The Grill Daddy is the bestselling cleaning brush. It has a water reservoir that creates steam when you put the grill on low. It is pictured at left. Brush bristles usually are stainless steel, though some are brass. The T-Brush (for reaching into grate corners, between rods, and along edges) has become popular. There are scrapers. And brush-scraper combinations. Some have longer handles than others. Some are oversized. And there is one motorized one that requires 8 AA batteries. Amazon.com has the grill cleaning tools split. To find see:
If you have an outdoor composter for garden and yard waste, you should also collect vegetable waste in the kitchen. Most of the pails have a charcoal filter to absorb odors. A few are ceramic, but they are fragile, heavy to carry, and harder to wash. You want stainless steel and one not too small. Buy a 1.5 gallon.
This has traditionally been a heavy 100% cotton in a waffle weave. I use one when hand washing more than an item or two or if the item is very large. Sometimes to wash the counter top. The problem in buying from Amazon.com is they are sold in sets of 12. That's like a lifetime supply! Or spread the others around as gifts. For double the price there are now Microfiber dishclothes.
I keep two towels in my kitchen. A terry cloth hand towel for drying my hands. And a cotton/linen blend to dry whatever I've hand washed in the sink. Besides not wanting to contaminate the washed item with what was on my hands, I want the kitchen one to be lint-free. Looking to write this entry I find many lint-free towels, but they are all 100% cotton or microfiber textile. What happened to the linen/cotton blends? Linen is more absorbant. Searching at Amazon.com I only found many designs by Armani (one pictured at left). For classic designs and also 100% linen go to Elegant Linens.
Muffin Pan Cleaning Brush
Useful to remove any suet or egg cupcake residue on metal muffin pans. It won't damage non-stick coating. Brush head is 2-inches in diameter. Not for mini sized pans. This is quality product for the institutional market.
Vegetable Cleaning Brush
Vegetable brushes come in different bristle stiffnesses. I use a mushroom brush to clean my eggs. I buy my eggs from a farmer that does not wash them. Not washed they last longer. Most people use these brushes for cleaning carrots, beets, mushrooms, etc. The bestselling Oxo is too stiff for eggs or mushrooms.
Slow Cooker (aka “Crock Pot”)
Useful. Many consider this a must have in a paleo kitchen. Can start before you go to bed or in the morning. You want one with a removable sleeve. Then you can prepare it the evening before and put in the refrigerator. Before going to work you simply put it in the base and start it up. And much easier to clean. An option on one is a probe that will shift to a keep warm mode when the meat is done. But this is not useful for tough meats, as it is temperature-based and will shut down too soon. A slow cooker is the best way to cook pulled pork. Slow cookers work best if they are at least half full. Don't buy one that is too big. N.B. Long cooking times with acidic foods can lead to hydrolysis of proteins.
Countertop Ovens A slice toaster has no use for us now that grain-based breads aren't eaten, but you can use a toaster-oven as a small oven or broiler when you don't want to use your large oven. Or when you need an extra oven. Or to keep foods warm. Toaster-oven
These basic ones are very reasonably priced. You have a choice of a timer or continuous on.
Much fancier than the basic is a toaster-oven with convection. They are much more expensive, but you get faster cooking, loads of features, and a fancy digital display. They are efficient, so you save on energy costs. The pictured one gets high ratings at Amazon.com.
Turbo Oven, Convection
These use infrared heating and a convection fan to cook food fast and evenly (no cold corners). Cooks roasts and vegetables to perfection. No need to thaw frozen meat. Can be used to bake, grill, roast or steam. Temperatures up to 500°F. The glass cooking container is sealed, no need to add oil. You watch it cook. Saves energy compared to a conventional oven. The basic models have mechanical controls and the upgrade models have digital controls. Included is a clean mode. It is hard to compare sizes. Some include extender ring and some charge extra. All the reviewers love the ovens. The only complaints are reliability related. On some lesser brands the reliability complaints overwhelm.
Electric Skillet/Frying Pan
The thermostat allows for long unattended cooking. Good for chicken dishes, roasting, frying, grilling, and making casseroles. Good for one or two people. Basically they are good for anything that you can do in a stove top frying pan and more. Glass lid lets you see what's cooking. Temperature control goes from warm to 400°F. Also very useful for serving food on a buffet. If you are in a dorm room or traveling by yourself, there are a Mini Electric Skillets.
Electric steamers designed specifically for vegetables. Steam begins very quickly, letting cooking start immediately. You want to be able to see into the reservoir. It should have auto shut-off. Some have keep warm modes. Safe on dishwasher top rack. People rave about the bestseller and how you can “set it and forget it.” One person suggests using distilled water to prolong the life of the heating coil. Your old rice cooker would also work. Or buy inexpensive steamer inserts for your regular pots.
Buying one of these is a way to get an extra burner. They have superb low heat control. You want the maximum 1800 watts. Prices have come way down. Note that these are induction cookers. These hotplates only heat the center 5 to 6 inches, so with wide pans plan on extra stirring. And you must use magnetic cookware. I checked with a magnetic. I have practically none. People in my situation can get started with an Induction Cookware Set.
Hot Pots & Electric Kettles
Electric kettles are now mostly sold with a cordless induction base. They boil water very fast. They shut off automatically and have keep warm settings. An electric kettle would be useful for tea when there is no microwave around. Some people take them when traveling.
The water boiler style is useful when serving hot beverages at a party, meeting, or other large gathering. They have micro-computerized temperature-control systems.
Electric Mongolian Hot Pot
The hot pot is a communal cooking and serving pot that was traditionally used for making a soup broth, in which thinly sliced, bite size pieces of lamb or beef are cooked. Wikipedia has pages on Hot Pot cooking and Shabu-shabu, a Japanese variant of hot pot. To make any recipes you find paleo you would have to adapt and remove any soy sauce. The units have variable temperature control and see through tempered glass cover. Some also have a BBQ grill.
Electric Pressure Cooker
Now pressure cooking isn't exactly a paleo way of cooking, but then neither is using electricity. Pressure cooking used to be a scary thing you did on the top of the stove. Today there are many high tech digital electric cookers that have become multi-purpose, with settings for pressure cooking, browning, simmering, sautéing, and warming. People that use pressure cookers like that they are fast. They also save energy. The only complaints are when they don't work. People are still buying the stove top pots. They aren't saving much money, but they can get a bigger size and known reliability.
Deep Fat Frying
A way to cook a piece of chicken, though not very paleo or useful in a paleo kitchen without potatoes (though paleo athletes eat sweet potatoes and this would work fine for them). While the cooking time is quick, the time needed to heat up the oil is not. To be paleo, coconut oil, palm oil, beef tallow, and macadamia nut oil are recommended. For oils in large quantity see PaleoFoodMall: Fats & Oils. With the proper oil the result is paleo, but it is only practical in a production type environment, like a restaurant.
Deep Fat Fryer
A regular unit.
Deep Fat Fryer, Turkey
To fry a turkey for a special occasion there is the Masterbuilt Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer. It requires about 2 gallons of oil.
A motor driven spit broils meat, fish and poultry to perfection, sealing in juices and draining fats. Some are combined with a convection oven for faster roasting. They take up a lot of counter space, though there are a couple of vertical ones that take up less. They are hard to clean, they take a long time, it is hard to tell when done, and people that have them rarely use them. Maybe get one in an outdoor grill instead.
Without baking, mixing bowls have less uses in a paleo kitchen. You do need them for salad dressings, marinades, egg beating, meat prep, and nut flour confections. They are often sold in sets. They are made in a variety of materials: Melamine, silicone, stainless steel, clear glass, opaque glass, ceramics, copper, and wood. Ceramic is best for bread dough, so skip for paleo. Copper Bowls are expensive and are superior for egg whites. Clear Glass Mixing Bowls have the advantage of when mixing dry ingredients you can see from the outside if there are any missed spots. Clear glass is attractive to serve from. And glass ones optionally come with lids. Glass and ceramic are heavy. I like clear glass, except for the super biggest and then stainless steel. Wood Mixing Bowls are used for salads (and bamboo is becoming popular for this). At Amazon.com you can find general mixing bowls via a Search and a Bestsellers List. You can buy bowl covers for storing in the refrigerator.
Now pressure cooking isn't exactly a paleo way of cooking, but the time savings is appealing and the food retains more of its nutrients and flavor. Chicken Cacciatore, the basic pressure cooker dish, cooks in 8 minutes – faster than a microwave. It has been converted to paleo here: Steal This Meal: Pressure Cooker Cacciatore
Sticky Bowl Gripper
Designed to grip mixing bowls securely down to a flat surface. No sliding. It frees up the arm that normally has to hold the bowl. Works on any smooth surface.
For steaming my vegetables I simply use a folding steamer basket (similar to pictured at left) in a wide pot. I chop up my asparagus and cook the bottoms longer. If one has a rice cooker from one's rice eating days it may also steam vegetables. Bamboo steamers also exist. Foods can impart a flavor into the bamboo. Use one each for meats, fish, and vegetables. Normally you use lettuce, foil, or a plate to not put the food directly on the bamboo. There are also electric Food Steamers.
> A saucepan is a simple cooking vessel with a single long straight handle. It is intended primarily for surface cooking of liquids. They come in a variety of materials. My preference is stainless steel with a core of either copper or aluminum. Good heat distribution and never a problem putting them in the dishwasher or giving them a hard scrub. The pictured Cuisinart Chef's Classic line is the bestselling of this construction type at Amazon.com. It comes in four sizes and with stainless steel lids. Some other brands have glass lids, which could be nice. Amazon.com splits theses over two different searches: saucepan glass lid and sauce pan glass lid.
Stock Pot, 16 quart
> A stockpot will have two handles. The pictured by Faberware is the one that I have and use for applesauce, rendering suet, and making harvest time soup for the freezer. You can put 16 pounds of cut apples in it and still have room to stir. I figure if I'm going to go through the cleanup hassle I should do a large batch. When I was rendering a very large amount of suet and needed multiple pots I called my neighbors to borrow a pot, and none had one this big! You will see at Amazon.com all the many reviews rave about this pot. Other size stockpots can be found at Amazon.com on two different searches: stock pot and stockpot and a Stockpot Bestsellers list (which ignores some items found on a search).
> The top selling tea kettles all whistle. I don't use one. The only thing I need boiling water for is tea, and by microwaving it in a mug I get the mug ceramic efficiently heated at the same time. Electric kettles come in pitcher and water boiler style. See Electric Kettles.
> When making applesauce I slice my apples and then with a paring knife slice the core out. There is very little apple wasted. Most people apparently prefer to use an apple corer. Of course a corer is necessary for baked apples, which can be made paleo. The pictured Oxo is recommended by Cook's Illustrated and is the bestseller. Corers that simultaneously slice are also popular. But it is harder to remove the core at the center, and they get many more negative reviews than this simple one.
Avocado Slicer & Pitter
> Mostly sold as a slicer only. On the dual purpose ones the nylon loop is used to remove pits. Use the wire end to slice and scoop fruit. They eliminate the mess and prepare avocadoes without damaging the fruit. They work best when the fruit is ripe.
Cherry and Olive Pitter
This is also called a cherry stoner. I don't know about olives, but if you want to serve fresh cherries some sort of pitter is a must. And even more so if you dehydrate cherries. The handheld ones for a few dollars are useless. The one I have is an older style of the Leifheit Cherrymat Cherry Stoner with Container (pictured at left). For institutions there are units that will remove 10 cherry pits in two effortless motions of your hand, but require three people to operate masterfully.
Fruit and Vegetabler
Removes stem and seeds from pear and apple halves for presentation and baking. Removes seeds from cucumbers and zucchini halves for stuffing. Dishwasher safe.
When I tried getting the seed out of a mango I had a hard time. It was way too slippery to hold. You learn how the seed is oriented then this slices the fruit cleanly in half, leaving almost nothing behind on the seed. What is left on the seed you can eat off. Some suggest slicing the end off to see the orientation of the seed. Most Amazon.com reviewers rave about the gadget. The problems are if the fruit is overly ripe it smushes the fruit without cutting (though I would think slicing the end off first would solve this). And the largest sized mangoes have seeds that are too big for it.
When I've hulled strawberries I used a 3" paring knife, twisted the berry, and cut a cone around the stem. It takes a little time. A friend simply slices them straight across. All but one of the many Amazon.com reviews rave about the pictured item. I bought one. It really does make this task much, much easier. As an extra benefit one reviewer points out that it also works on cherry tomatoes when you want to stuff them.
Use to core zucchini to stuff them using a paleo stuffing made with ground nuts replacing any grains.
They come in many styles. You have thin flexible mats that can be purchased in different colors to code by use. You have boards made out of a variety of plastics (some that will warp). And you have the classic wood boards, traditionally a hard wood like maple or cherry, but these days bamboo is all the rage, due to its beauty, durability (stronger than maple) and earth-friendliness. The best wood ones are end grain. And the top maker of classic ones is John Boos. Pictured at left is a small high end one with a high end price. For general usage I have a small plastic one that is easy to pick up to scrape the onions (or whatever) into where I want it. The flexible ones can also be picked up and the food easily poured where you want it. If you have a large board get a bench scrape shovel (next entry).
Bench Scrape Shovel
By Rachel Ray Tools. In my dream kitchen I have thought about having an end grain wood butcher block cutting board embedded in my countertop. But how would I get the food off it? This solves that problem. All of the Amazon.com reviewers love it. The only negative is someone was hoping they could chop with it. You can't. You have a choice of orange or blue. Also called a PrepTaxi.
A must for homemade jerky and pemmican. Can also dry fruit and herbs. Inexpensive ones without thermostats are $30, but I consider a thermostat a must. Healthier and tastier to dry at a low temperature. The round ones are expandable up to 30 trays. The one I have and highly recommend is the Excalibur 2900. It is the one used by serious dehyraters. The square trays are easier to fill than round with a hole in the middle. I don't see a need for a timer. If you dry at a low temperature the time will be long and need not be exact. Also see Paleodiet: Dehydrators section.
Pickle Press, Japanese Style
Make your own pickles in a matter of hours. You season sliced up vegetables (watery ones like onions, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, turnips) with spices and salt, and press the liquid out with this press. Here are some recipes in English. You can search the web. And Amazon.com will offer up a couple books. The pressed product makes a good munchy. This press requires a large batch to optimally work. And you don't want to be adding extra salt to your diet.
Both large and small. Use a large one for salad, and the small one for herbs and drying off rinsed blueberries (which you rinse in the spinner basket). I like my Triumphs which have small knobs that you turn in a circle, but I don't see them anymore. At one time people were down on the Hoan, but I don't see them either.
For soft- and hard- boiled eggs based precisely on temperature, not losely by time. Placed in pan with eggs, timer reacts to heat and darkens as eggs cook. Adjusts for number of eggs, amount of water, altitude. Calibrated to indicate soft, medium, hard, and stages in-between. Reviewers rave about the item and call it a must have. You just have to get used to no audible signal when done.
For serving and eating soft-boiled eggs. They are either porcelain or stainless steel. Some have integrated plates to hold the shell pieces. Some are whimsical with chicken feet.
For soft-boiled eggs. They fit comfortably inside an egg without breaking the shell. The pictured ones are very thin stainless steel and priced accordingly. There are others, including olive-wood (for scooping spices or loose-leaf teas) and plastic. Scroll down for the antique ones.
For soft-boiled eggs. These are supposed to cleanly cut the tapered ends off the egg so you can eat out of the shell. Can leave shell shards. Another style only cuts a groove, so when you peel, it cracks the shell in a nice line around. Reviews are mixed.
For hard boiled eggs. Just unlock, place on a table, press the fat end of the egg down on it to make the hole in the shell. The eggs won't crack. The attached magnet keeps it handy. A piercer is included with the electric egg cookers.
Electric Egg Cookers
Faster than the hassle of boiling water on the stove. Some are automatic based on temperature sensing. Some have timers. Most also poach in addition to making hard- or soft- boiled eggs, but the poaching is less successful. Some hold up to 7 eggs for boiling. Less for poaching. All include piercing pin. This is an energy efficient way to cook eggs. You aren't heating up a large amount of water and then tossing it away. Complaints tend to be reliability related.
They are either countertop or hold in your hand. With the later you squeeze right onto the salad. All use wires to slice the egg. Some claim also for mushrooms for easy sautéing. However the mushrooms must be soft and it's harder to get right. On some you press once for perfect round or oblong slices, rotate and press again for chopped egg for salads. They take some effort to clean. Hand wash and dry. Reviews are all over the place.
For cooking eggs gently or lightly cooked. The eggs can be partially cooked, mostly cooked, or hardly cooked at all. The inside of the cup is first greased in order to flavour the egg and allow it to be removed more easily. A raw egg (sometimes with additional flavourings) is then broken into the coddler, which is then placed in a pan of near-boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Note that coddled eggs are not boiled. More at Wikipedia: Coddled egg. The traditional grease has been butter. A paleo alternative would need to be a tasty fat like pork, as flavoring the eggs is one of the reasons you coddle eggs. Some people buying these coddlers can't appreciate their delicateness.
Usually non-stick, but plain stainless steel exists. Most look similar to other skillets, but have sloping sides to slide the omelet around. Calphalon dominates the top of the bestsellers. Some have covers. Some are two half moon shaped pans hinged together. You start cooking the mixture on both sides. When almost done, fold short side over to put mixtures together for final cooking. All the stove top ones of this design get terrible reviews. (The microwave one like this listed below is liked.)
For up to three scrambled eggs. The shape in center separates and beats the eggs. Most people find that a fork in a mixing bowl works well for beating eggs. When above four eggs, or if you don't want to see any blobs of white, a spring coil egg whisk may be used. Or use a Food Chopper 3-Cup
Egg Containment Rings
When frying eggs. Stay cool knock down handle. Silicone rings conform to the bottom of pan to reduce egg ooze out. Perfectly shaped eggs are generally only needed for non-paleo sandwiches.
They make it simple to separate eggs. They hold the yolk while the white drips through. Most rest across or clip on the edge of a bowl or mug. Longer handles will stretch across larger bowls. Some include recepticles. You have a choice of plastic or stainless steel. People like them. The only problems are when the yolk is too big for some of the smaller ones, and eggs which have the white strongly connected to the yolk can pull the yolk through the side slits. Personally I can't see why one would separate eggs. The yolks are the best part.
From reading the reviews there are some people that have problems cracking eggs and they get shell bits mixed in. This is for them. As shown on TV it does work. You gently slam an egg down on a razor blade. Also shown on TV (and sold at Amazon) is a scissor-type contraption that holds eggs of a certain size and sometimes works. Avoid it.
Hard- or Soft- Boiled Eggs. Hundreds of people like this one, but some people manage to blow up their eggs. You can find pictures of the mess. People find the convenience to be worth the infrequent explosion. I find seven of these scattered in this search of microwave boiled egg cooker.
Poached Eggs. Non-stick surface makes for easy cleaning. They come in a range of sizes. You may need to poke the yokes and whites with a fork before cooking to keep explosions to a minimum. They are also helped by a half a teaspoon of water under and on top of eggs before cooking.
Omelets. Holds up to 4 eggs at a time. You can eat right out of the pan or slide onto a plate. You start cooking on both sides, then flip to combine.
Egg Poach Pods
Flexible silicone pods that float on the boiling water. Can also be used for baking and molding. When done remove from water with slotted spoon and flip pod inside out. Easy cleaning in dishwasher.
Specialized metal stove top pans have been around for a while. They are basically double boilers with one to six depressions with fixed or removeable pods. Pods are often non-stick.
Fish Bone Tweezers
Great for removing fish bones that were left in the fillets that you got from the grocery store. Can also use to remove fruit stems. Some are awfully expensive. The first one listed is reasonable and is shipped by Amazon.com.
Cedar Cooking Planks
They can be used to bake in an oven or grill on a BBQ. They come in a variety of woods other than cedar. Use for seafood, meat, poultry, vegetables or fruit. You have a choice of a large size on which an entire salmon fits. Or personal sizes. One interlocks to create the size needed. You soak them before using. If grilling then place on hot grill until it smokes, then use. Most people use these for grilling and not the oven.
I recommend using seafood shears, but much more paleo and fun is to crack crab legs and lobster claws with a wood mallet. The force of the blow results in a shell that's cracked, without being smashed.
Used to gently cook fish in a broth, for the most tender results. See recipes. They also can be used for asparagus, though it also has its own asparagus cookware. All of the ones that are under $50 get comments about flimsiness. There is also a Fish Poacher Bestseller List, but in typical Amazon.com fashion many found on a search do not appear on the bestseller list. And many on the bestseller list are not poachers.
Catching fish would be a paleo activity. And so would scaling them. Scales can fly around. Can do inside a bag. The Big Norms Magic Fish Scaler has floating heads which lift off and catch scales, preventing unnecessary messes. Some are double, meaning flip it and you then have a knife without picking up another tool. I don't see the point, unless on a boat and you want to minimize the tools.
Shrimp Peeler & Deveiner
There are several styles of shrimp deveiners in plastic and aluminum. The bestselling Oxo Good Grips has sharp, square teeth to cut the shells. It only works on large or jumbo shrimp. Others devein and push the shell up, mashing the shrimp and breaking the underside. Others have knives along the top to cut the shell. Some also butterfly the shrimp. And there are countertop units. See Shrimp Butler video. Probably better than any of these deveiners is using a curved seafood shears and cutting the shell as the vein is being pushed out. [Entry to be expanded after equipment testing.]
For meat. There are hundreds of carving forks. They break down into two types: long straight tings and short curved tings. Within each group they must function almost the same. Cheaper forks will be stamped and the more expensive ones will be forged. Long straight ones have to be forged. They anchor more firmly. Curved forks work well for lifting, and you get a better carving sight line with the hand further back. Curved forks are very useful on the stovetop breaking up something in a pan. If you plan to use it in front of other people and you want to impress, I suggest a set with very paleo looking stag horn handles. See entry for Knives, Carving Sets. Pictured at left is the cheapest. In contrast check out the most expensive, which sells almost as well. At the high end many variations are available. The Wüsthof Classic line (down at the page's bottom) has seven straight forks and two curved forks.
One could argue that ice isn't paleo, but when you have a need for an ice pick there is no substitute. No other tool, unless you take the awl out of your tool box, will do. I have a beautiful one with a square tapered teak handle and holster. Alas the company that made it is no longer around. I suggest stainless steel, though the carbon steel ones would keep their point longer. Many have hammer handles for chipping large blocks of ice. And a holster is protective if you plan to toss it in a drawer. There is also the ice chipper, which has a half dozen ice picks in a row, and gives you more control over the chipping.
Use to remove your heavy bird or roast from the pan onto a cutting or serving surface. They are especially useful when the meat is heavy. The sharp 5-1/4" prongs pierce meat easily while the sturdy handles afford a confident grip. They can also be used as skewers when roasting vegetables and small pieces of meat. Made of stainless steel. Dishwasher-safe.
All paleo books recommend eating salads. If you mix your salad, or are serving multiple people, you need something to get it out of the bowl. You have a choice of materials (wood, plastic and stainless steel) and a choice of style (hinged at end, hinged in middle, separate pieces).
Seaford Forks & Spoons/Bone Marrow Spoons
I hunted high and low for bone marrow spoons. All I was able to find were pictures of silver ones made back in the 17th and 18th centuries. Apparently no one makes them these days. The closest I could find were seafood forks (with spoons at the other end). Some also come packaged in sets with crackers for crabs and lobsters. At least for large lobster claws, a shears designed for seafood is easier (see below).
Snail & Oyster Forks
You use Snail Tongs to hold the snail and the fork to get it out of the shell. The forks could also have use as bone marrow forks.
With them you can flip and serve meat, toss salads, serve vegetables, and turn a pan around in the oven. They come in a variety of styles. A 9" is a useful length without being clumsy. The ones with nylon heads can melt! Silicone heads are okay. A locking mechanism is useful for storage. The one I use the most is a scissor style to lift things.
All-Clad is the favorite of serious cooks. These are awfully expensive for someone starting a kitchen. When I started my kitchen I had hand me down cast iron frying skillets. Then I went to regular stainless steel ones. Then to a single basic All-Clad with an aluminum bottom. But the dishwasher will eat away at the aluminum. Now for frying I have a few All-Clad Copper-Cores. Cheaper than at Amazon.com you can buy factory irregulars at Cookware & More, which is where I bought mine.
Cast Iron Skillet
They are the best for browning. These days they come pre-seasoned with soy oil formula and ready for immediate use. Wash with a stiff brush and hot water. No soap. They come in various sizes and in flat griddle style if you are cooking many paleo pancakes.
Non-Stick Frying Pan
The only thing I use non-stick pans for is cooking eggs. And even then I use a small amount of coconut oil. I have been a fan of T-Fal. They are fairly priced. It makes no sense to buy expensive non-stick pans. And these can withstand being put in the dishwasher. They don't last forever, but I'm willing to buy new ones every 5-10 years.
At Amazon.com the Alligator The Mini Cutter gets raves. People even give them as gifts. It is easy to clean and the results are consistent. It has the finest grid on the market. It will also work for shallots, pickles, olives, celery, carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, as well as apples and other hard fruits.
The best conditions for storing garlic are a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Humidity speeds up the sprouting process. Refrigerators are a humid environment. Garlic was traditionally stored in a ceramic or terra cotta jar with holes to allow for air circulation. These can also store ginger and shallots. Many styles exist. I like the hand painted Spanish design.
Garlic Mini Chopper
Compared to the non-mini Oxo Chopper this is smaller and more efficient for fine dicing. It is small. It works only for chopping garlic and herbs. You press the knob and the blades rotate for even chopping. Chop ingredients in enclosed cup, or remove base and chop directly on a cutting board. Cleaning requires disassembly and at least rinsing off all the pieces. Can go in dishwasher. The full-size Oxo Chopper also handles garlic well, but not foods that are any bigger.
A quick way to peel whole garlic cloves. Insert clove in flexible rubber tube, press down and roll. No garlic odor left on hands or countertop. Most people find that it works well. Dishwasher safe. See short customer video of the bestselling Zak Designs E-Z-Rol in action.
Larger ones can fit several cloves. Some claim no peeling of glove is required. Some are self cleaning. Pictured at left is the press that I have. I bought two. I don't run the dishwasher every day and I like to add garlic. There is a ratcheting garlic press that you may see in specialty gift catalogs and it can be found on Amazon. It is a nice concept, but its problem is a tendency to break.
Garlic Roasted Express
An electric garlic roaster. It is very energy efficient to not heat up a large oven cavity. It can roast up to 4 bulbs of garlic automatically in 27 minutes. Roasting cup has a nonstick coating and is dishwasher safe. The many reviews all love the device. A digital version allows adjustment of roasting time and a countdown of time remaining.
Roasting garlic is easy and the result tastes great when eaten alone. Or add to foods such as soups or roasts. This is made from terra cotta. It can be used in the oven or microwave. You soak first. The lid includes a steam vent. One roaster will accommodate several medium to large heads of garlic.
Like a small mandoline. Can also grate when the sliding mechanism is reversed. Works with garlic, mushrooms, olives and ginger. Dishwasher safe. They tend to be flimsy. They slice better than grate. Reviews at Amazon.com for all such devices are poor.
Indoor Tabletop Grill
The tabletop George Foreman Grill is very popular. It originally came in three sizes. Now in many sizes and variations. Some have several removable grill plates, for grilling, baking, griddle cooking, and some non-paleo uses. Plates are non-stick. Don't get one that is too small.
Can be charcoal or gas. If charcoal get solid pure charcoal and not briquettes (which use things like starch to hold the briquette together). These days they are really inexpensive at Lowes and Home Depot. Or you can get a small Weber or Cuisinart delivered by Amazon. [Great for carless city people that like things delivered.]
I think of these as more of a griddle press than a grill press. A main use is to cook flat bacon to use in sandwiches. I use one to hold ground meat flat. As White Castle discovered decades ago, steam lifts the patty. This keeps it down. The crenelated surface of the ground meat already puts it at a disadvantage. You want to maximize the meat surface area in contact with the frying surface to maximize the Maillard zone, where heat causes reactions among sugars and proteins that turn the meat brown, yielding molecules with an appealing flavor. They are all cast iron and need to be kept from moisture. The negative comments are from people that simply washed them and were surprised to find them rusting.
There are several types of grilling baskets. Some foods are too fragile to be able to turn on a grill with a spatula or fork. For them you use a grilling basket that clamps around the food and allows easy flipping. These are necessary for fish. For kabob-sized chunks these are a lot easier to fill than sticking on skewers. Some have open tops and would make a fine chestnut roasting pan. Some other shapes are available, like single fish size and kabobs in a row size. Some are non-stick to reduce cleaning hassle. Wood handles stay cool longer.
GrillFriends Ultimate 3-in-1 Rub Shaker
The narrow spice jars with “flapper tops” don't lend themselves to even distribution over large surfaces. The top rotates to display the different size holes for fine, medium and coarse spice rubs. The handle makes shaking easy. All stainless steel.
This is a non-stick mat (Teflon coated fiberglass) for charcoal or gas grills. Prevents smaller food from falling through the cracks. It is for indirect heat, as it is limited to 500°F. For example, if you have two gas burners you turn one side on and place this over the other side. Food does not stick to it. It keeps the grill from getting dirty and easily washes in the dishwasher or sink. Various other kinds of Barbecue Grids for the grill top are available.
For grilling kabobs. Your basic all stainless steel skewer (as pictured at left) is around a dollar each. The high design ones are more. For a large event, bamboo skewers cost about a penny each.
Barbecue Tool Sets
They range from 3 piece sets up to 18 piece sets. At the high numbers the count includes corn holders and then steak knives. The larger sets have snap-in or strap-in carrying cases. Your kitchen tools may work for most of these functions.
Food Loop, Stainless Steel
Loop sets are used for trussing. Use them to hold stuffed, rolled, bunched and wrapped meats, fish and veggies. You can use these stainless steel food loops directly on the grill, or in any pan on the stove top, in the oven or in the freezer. Adjusts from 2 to 6-inch in diameter. Also see silicone trussing tools for non-grill use.
Thermometer: Grill Surface
You move them around the grill surface and see which part of your grill is the hottest and coldest. The problem is they are slow to respond to a temperature change, and the face can discolor and become hard to read.
Thermometer: Remote Wireless Smoker
A remote, wireless smokehouse/meat thermometer. Monitor the smokehouse and meat temperatures from 100 feet away. Can also be used with oven or grill. Alarm sounds if temperature drops too low or jumps too high. Reviewers like them, except when they are not working.
Camerons Products Stainless Steel Stovetop Smoker
This stovetop smoker is constructed of heavy-gauge stainless steel, and at 11 by 15 inches, it's big enough to smoke a ham or a whole fish fillet. The lid slides on for a tight seal, so food gets smoked, but your kitchen doesn't. Additional features include a drip tray rack and retractable handles for storage. The set can also be used as a steamer, poacher, or roasting pan. Instructions, a recipe booklet, and a supply of wood chips will get you started immediately on this low-fat, flavorful cooking technique. Comments at Amazon note that the smoke leaks and if used indoors you should have a range hood venting to the outside.
Smoking meat would be very paleo. A smoker can be charcoal, gas, or electric. Cheap ones will burn out with use. Non-stainless steel can rust out near the sea shore. If you are going to make your own sausage, then you really need an electric or gas model that you can set the temperature, and one of the square metal insulated styles like the Little Chief will hold that temperature more evenly. You can get round, tower shaped electric, gas, or charcoal smokers that use a water pan to help speed cooking and can also help flavor the meat if you add flavorings to the water. For smoking ribs and pork or beef roasts, and even the occasional turkey, recommended is a charcoal smoker with a water pan. Smoke at a fairly low temperature for anywhere from 6-10 hours depending on how thick the meat is. You will get more flavor in the meat using charcoal, then placing foil packets of water soaked wood sawdust or chips on the coals. In the electric or gas smokers, the sawdust is put into a metal pan over the burner, and smoulders away giving the smoke flavor, but not the flavor you get when some of the fat and juices from the meat hit the hot charcoal. To smoke a lot of meat you need a smokehouse. The Sausage Maker has pages on Smokers: Smokehouses and FAQ: Smoking. The long time reference on smoking equipment is: The Fine Art Of BBQ FAQ.
Krups Oval Coffee Mill
Best for grinding dry spices. Designate one for this use only. It need not be a fancy grinder for spices. Of the pictured Krups model, only the older style with high blades can also be used to grind a small amount of nut meal. See a comparison of old and new blades. The older style are available on eBay. The link is on the comparison page.
Magic Bullet Express
Alternatively, the versatile and popular Magic Bullet 17-Piece Express Mixing System comes with two blades, one high and one low. Simply use the high one for nuts. The device claims it replaces a food processor, blender, and coffee grinder (which is the nut grinder capability). You blend the food right in the mug that you then heat or chill and eat out of. Some comments claim its ice shaving capabilities are not up to what is shown on TV.
Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder
This is a larger version of the Krups Oval above and with a removable bowl. The bowl holds 90 grams, but it isn't clear just what that means. There are many Amazon.com reviews. They are clustered at the top and at the bottom. Pros: With a removable bowl it is much easier to clean than the oval Krups (but still better to hand wash). It works for spices, but leaves them a little coarse, especially if they are dry or light. It does grind flaxseeds. Grinds leather hard citrus peel into dust (for soap). Cons: The number one complaint is reliability. The motor burns out easily. You cannot run it continuously for a long time. Brief pulses will get the job done. Few grind nuts successfully, except for pecans. The nuts get stuck in the blades and the blades will not turn. Does not well work for moist items. Does not grind cinnamon sticks or whole nutmeg. Does not make peanut butter.
If you buy a grain mill to handle nuts, you need a burr grinder because of the nut oils (not stone and not impact). Pictured is the Miracle Electric Grain and Flour Mill, Model ME300. Stainless steel burrs. 16 grid settings. Makes 1 to 2 cups per minute depending on grind setting. It also does an excellent job grinding spices and herbs. Three optional reversible stainless steel slicer/shredder blade attachments for salads and vegetables expand the versatility. Amazon.com reviews all like the mill, though note that it doesn't produce an ultra-fine powder. You can run the ground flour through a second time. There are also hand crank grain burr mills available: Back to Basics Hand and Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand and Country Living Hand.
Mortar & Pestle
Good for herbs and spices. Marble is very hard and a favorite for all around use. It has medium resistance to the absorption of odors and moisture, depending, to a great extent, on the density of the stone used to fashion it. Porcelain is the least likely to stain and it does well with foods that contain moisture. Vitrified Ceramic is a fully sealed non porous solid with a matt finish for better grip and to aid grinding. Granite will absorb to some degree, based on the density of the stone used to fashion it. The less dense may also trap food in its pores. It is hard, and good for larger and harder ingredients. Wood is best when used with the same flavored food, since it does absorb. Using it with moist food is not recommended. The complete explanation of types, along with an extensive product line, can be found at Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop: Mortar & Pestle.
Resembles a pepper grinder, except the cavity is designed specifically to hold a whole nutmeg. Some have dual grinds. Turn one one direction for a course grind (for recipes) and the other for a finer grind (for drink toppings). Mandoline style graters also exist. For small quantities see Grater, Microplane. Nutmeg is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used as a topping for drinks. One can make paleo eggnog using So Delicious Plain Coconut Kefir and/or Let's Do Organic Creamed Coconut. Note that the nutmeg is the seed of a fruit of a tropical evergreen. It has some toxicity and should only be consumed in small quantities.
French-made Perfex used to set the standard. It is what I have, though looking now I find my Perfex has become rather expensive! You want the coarseness to be adjustable. The Magnum (pictured at left) has received the top rating in magazines. You can get battery operated pepper mills for no more cost. Most turn on automatically when inverted. The advantage is when cooking you can add pepper to a dish with one hand, leaving the other free to flip things. Reliability of them can be an issue.
Tulip Spice Grinder
Grinder works for dried spices and herbs. It grinds peppercorn, and seeds including flax seed. What is neat about this one is you grind upside down and no mess is left on the counter or table. Plus with the clear glass it is easy to tell what is in it and how much is left. Grind adjusts from coarse to fine. It could be nice to have a set of these for different spices, or fill one with a favorite spice mix.
Consumer Reports pictures these gloves on the fellow that is lowering a turkey into a deep fat fryer. They would protect against any oil splatter. The description says to use when carving meat. Comments note that they will melt if they touch anything hot.
There are three distinct kinds of cut-resistent gloves for use in the kitchen: Made of cut-resistant fiber. With these you are safer and more protected while using zesters, graters, peelers, and mandolines or V-Slicers. You can still get cut. The gloves are washable.
Kevlar Textured Coated Latex Gloves. These have a rubber grip on the inside (like pictured at left) and grip a clam or oyster shell a lot better than a bare hand.
For oyster shucking there are specialized stainless steel mesh oyster gloves in the $150+ range for a single glove.
These are used for taking out and putting pans into the oven, when barbecuing, or for a fireplace fire. Some are suede leather and some are cloth. Some are made from high tech materials like Nomex® and Kevlar®. Some have long cuffs. Also available for less cost in mitt form. See a couple entries below.
I use the 8" square terry cloth ones that I have had for a while and periodically toss in the washing machine. I see that the pot holder has gone high tech. I find non-slip ones and silicone ones. I don't see either of these having the flexibility of cloth. With the flexibility it is easy to get a good grip on the knob or handle. None of the basic terry ones are shipped by Amazon.com with free shipping. Buy locally.
The square pot holders are a must for use on the store top. But oven mitts are safer for use in the oven. They also cover and protect the forearm. This protects against hot liquid splashing out. Also some are in glove form. The best selling is flame retardant quilted. Others are a high tech Nomex® heat resistant fiber with non-slip silicone grip.
They have a hook for safely pulling out the rack and a notch on the end for pushing it back in. Some add a ruler. All have magnet on back for storage on oven or refrigerator.
Oven Rack Guard
Oven Rack Guard by JAZ Innovations. Snap two guard strips around leading edge of oven racks. Safe for temperatures up to 500°F. Not for broilers. Made from Nomex®. People like them. They say they save themselves from hitting a hot rack. I only keep one rack in my oven. For roasting meat that is all you need.
Herb Mezzaluna Set
This is a ‘half-moon' mincing knife. Also known as a rocking mincer. This is the traditional way to chop herbs in Italy. Especially good for the small stuff, like onions, parsley, etc. Traditionally it is mated with a wooden bowl. Or rock on your cutting board. They come with single or double blades. Buy with or without the wooden bowl. But if not bought as part of a set, you have to be sure that the curvature of the board and knife match. Pictured at left is a Shun Mezzaluna 6-Inch Knife set with knife storage in the block. You also have a Mincing Knives bestseller list, which gets the knives, but not the sets.
Good for mincing small amounts of parsley, chives, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, or other fresh herbs. You garnish directly on your salads, vegetables and meats. I can no longer find the Mouli that I have, but similar ones (like pictured at left) are available. Can get jammed and are difficult to get all the little pieces out. They come apart and can go in the dishwasher.
Herb Rotary Mincer
This type of mincer is also known as a rolling herb mincer or herb roller. This has rollers that you roll over the herbs on a cutting board. Perfect for leafy fresh herbs, especially thyme and rosemary, but also sage, parsley, and cilantro. Some have long handles. The pictured one is the bestseller and it makes it easy to press down. A storage cover is included to protect the blades. The herbs will stick along the blades.
For herbs these generally have 3 or 5 pairs of blades. Good for basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley and all leafy fresh and dried herbs. They get very high ratings. People point out that things like chives get stuck between the blades and have to be pushed out with another knife. One comes with a plastic comb to clean the blades. They all should. Pieces also fly everywhere and the suggestion is to cut inside a cup. Not great on stiffer things, like rosemary still on the stem. Dishwasher safe. A Cut-N-Chunk Scissors 8-in. has 3 pair of widely-spaced blades and it can handle celery.
Boning & Fillet Knives. Ideal for separating meat, poultry, or fish from the bone with precise control. Knives with increased blade curvature allow for cutting with less effort.
Boning Knife. The blade needs to be thin to bend around bones and joints. Flexibility of the blade can vary. Stiff blades are good for beef and pork and bigger cuts of meat. For chicken a slightly flexible blade allows cutting around the flexible cartilage and through joints. A very flexible boning knife is used for fish. A shorter blade length gives you more control, but a longer blade is needed for bigger bones. This is not a popular knife, but they sure are handy when you want to get all the meat off the bone.
Trimming Knife. Short boning knives are available for small birds like quail, or to trim barbecued ribs.
Fish Fillet Knife. This spearpoint style has an extra thin, flexible blade. The narrow slicer allows for thin and even cutting around bones. The blade bends easily to help skin and bone fish. Use for delicate fish or preparing Carpaccio. This style comes in several sizes and a couple blade widths and handle sizes.
Fillet Knife. Used to separate the fish fillet from the skin and skeleton. This is similar to a boning knife but longer and thinner. Bigger fish require a longer blade to reach across. The blade upsweep, on especially the longer ones, will be greater than on boning knives. A curved blade is optimized for slicing or slashing. The larger cutting area makes it popular for skinning.
Chef's Knife. Or Cook's Knife or French Cook knife. I prefer a 6". The 8" is popular. Also 10", 12" and even 14" are available. Blades will be wide. These knives are designed for dicing and chopping operations. The blade is curved. You rock the blade with one hand while cutting the food under the near part. They are also suited for straight cutting. Ceramic knives are available for this style.
Nakiri Knife. Ths knife chops and slices fruits, vegetables as well as meats. It combines the features of a chef's knife with the versatility of a vegetable cleaver. The straight edge produces a precision cut. Some have a Granton edge that produces a cut with air pockets that allows food to release easier from the blade. Meats will cut very thin. Similar and more popular than this is the Santoku Knife (listed next).
Santoku Knife. A Japanese-style knife that combines cleaver features with a chef's knife. Compared to the chef's, the Santoku has a wider blade that is thinner in thickness, shorter in length, and curves up very gradually at the end providing a straighter cutting edge. The knife will be well balanced. With a thinner blade than a chef's knife, the Santoku can cut more smoothly and precisely through dense vegetables. The knives are used for chopping, slicing, and dicing foods into narrow or fine pieces. This knife will also butterfly boneless chicken breasts. Optional alternating hollows on the blade's sides prevent food from clinging and make paper thin slices. The blade shape is called sheep's foot. Ceramic knives are available and popular for this style.
Cleavers. There are two non-interchangeable types of cleavers.
Cleavers: Meat. Also called meat-axes. They have not very sharp thick blades for splitting bones. You need a block to chop on. They work great for chopping chicken up into indistinguishable pieces.
Cleavers: Vegetable or Chinese Cleavers are like a cleaver-shaped chef's knife. Blades are ground extra thin for top cutting performance. Bones would destroy the edge. In this group are the Santoku knives and vegetable knives. Used for slicing, chopping vegetables. All will have a slight blade curvature to allow rocking. The best selling Global 5-1/2" Vegetable Knife gets a perfect rating.
Decorating Knife. Use to cut a variety of garnishes, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, etc. I can't see our paleo ancestors caring about whether it is a straight or crinkle cut. But with baked good decorating not paleo, you might want to express your creativity in vegetables. A cheaper version is sold as a Crinkle or Corrugated Cutter.
Paring Knives. Traditionally used to pare fruits and vegetables, where you are holding the food to be cut. They are available in five styles. Often sold in sets of the three most popular. A better gift would be an assembled, but matched set of all five.
Paring: Spear Point Blade. This is the blade shape for most paring knives. A 4" spearpoint is my all purpose knife. My 3" is better for actual paring. Ceramic knives are available for this style.
Paring: Sheep's Foot Blade. Also called Straight Vegetable Knife. The straight cutting edge is more accurate and the knife is easier to control, as you put your fingers on the back edge. Ideal for smaller chopping and mincing tasks. It produces a clean cut. This style is also available with a hollow edge (pictured at left) that creates pockets of air which prevent extra thin or soft slices from sticking to the blade. Often bought as part of a set.
Paring: Bird's Beak Blade. Aka Peeling Knife. The concavity is good for garnishes, peeling, cleaning or shaping any fruit or vegetable with a rounded surface. Can slice soft fruits such as nectarines, plums or peaches. Peels skins or blemishes. Can cut decorative garnishes such as rosettes in radishes or fluted mushrooms. Also known as a tournée knife for making tournée cut root vegetables, where the root vegetables are peeled and cut into distinctive oblong, seven-sided football-like shapes that helps them cook evenly. This knife is often bought as part of a set.
Paring: Fluting Knife. This knife can be used for fluting as well as cutting small pockets in meats for stuffing.
Paring: Serrated. This is for cutting citrus and other fruit peels. It can also be used for sectioning grapefruit and other small cutting chores, such as coring.
Serrated Knives. A serrated blade is useful for foods with a tough skin and soft interior, like ripe tomatoes. A 5" is what you need for this. No larger serrated knives are needed in a paleo kitchen. The largest ones are used for breads. Mid-size ones are used for bagels, hard-rolls, or salami.
Serrated Tomato Knife. Your choice is fork-tip or not. I have done fine without such a tip. A curved blade will make cutting easier but less precise.
Serrated Utility Knife 5-Inch. This is what I have and use for tomatoes. A straight blade will allow you to cut with more precision. On the Wüsthof Classic page this is called a Sausage Knife.
Slicing & Carving Knives. These need to be long enough to permit smooth slicing action across the meat. This allows for thin and even cutting of large roasts and turkeys. Their straighter edge gives more precision. A pointed tip is used to cut around a bone, or it can have a rounded tip for slicing boneless. Ideal flexibility depends on the meat. A slicer used for ham and fish would have a more flexible blade than a knife used for slicing poultry. The slicing knife comes in all lengths. As these get shorter there are called a carving knife and then a sandwich knife.
Carving Set. The blade is designed for slicing and carving cooked meats, especially hot roasts. The blade is less flexible than the other slicing knives. The pointed tip helps in cutting meat away from the bone. Pictured is the Wüsthof Classic which appears twice in the bestseller list: with and without a case. See Carving Fork entry above for discussion of carving fork types.
Ham Slicer 10-Inch. While processed meats, like ham, are not paleo, this knife excels with the larger cuts of meat, smoked salmon, fruit and vegetables. The hollow Granton edge creates pockets of air which prevent extra thin or soft slices from sticking to the blade. The straight edge allows for precision cuts. With raw meat's stickiness, this knife should work well for thin slicing meat for jerky.
Salmon Slicer. The flexible blade helps to cut paper-thin slices of smoked salmon. They are 11-12" in blade length. On some the hollow Granton edge creates pockets of air which prevent extra thin or soft slices from sticking to the blade.
Slicing Knife, 12-Inch Long. You do need at least one long knife around in case a full-size watermelon needs to be sliced.
Yanagiba or Yanagi Knife. This is the most popular type of the Sashimi and Sushi Knives. This was designed to produce razor-thin slices of raw, soft fish and meat. Characteristics of the knife are a very long blade with a slightly curved belly. These are single-bevel knives that are sharpened on only one side, which makes these knives razor-sharp and gives a cleaner cut. The blade road is generally on the side for right-handed people and the reverse side is hollow ground to create an air pocket between the blade and the food. This knife can be honed only with a whetstone. You have a choice of stainless steel or the traditional carbon steel (white or blue). The carbon steel ones will hold their edge longer, but must be dried off after using. Carbon steel are much easier to sharpen. Length varies from 8" to 13" (330mm). Longer is better. Suggested is at least 10.6" (270mm). The longer blade allows for more of a cut on a single pull stroke. Useful when cutting thick slabs of raw meat. Prices start reasonably and go into the thousands. To see what is available beyond the bestseller link above, you have to do a Yanagiba Knife search and a Yanagi Knife search. A page on sharpening: How To Sharpen: Japanese Traditional Knife (Single Bevel Edge).
Utility Knife. These are in between the paring and slicing knives. Some of these have a scalloped edge. Good for slicing softer fruits and vegetables. Some ceramic knives fall into here.
Watermelon Knife. Blades are 12-inches long. If you have a long slicing knife or salmon knife they will work for a full-size watermelon. Or if you will be cutting a lot of full-size watermelons this is a relatively inexpensive alternative. The sheepsfoot blade prevents accidental poking.
Sharpening Steel. A steel is all I use on my knives to keep them sharp. They are actually honing steels and not sharpeners, unless you get a diamond “steel.” A steel will realign your metal knife edge, but will not put a new edge on it. If used regularly you won't have to sharpen, which removes metal to create a new edge. There is debate as to whether expensive steels are any better than cheaper. A steel will often be included in knife sets. The Wüsthof Gourmet, is a top seller and is included in the Consumer Reports recommended set. For less is the Oxo Good Grips. And for more is the Wüsthof Classic steel. Steels are not for use on ceramic knives.
Carving Sets and Steak Knives
The most paleo looking carving sets and steak knives are ones with stag or horn handles. There don't appear to be many made these days, but there are plenty for sale on eBay. I bought a lovely 3-piece set there for about $25 total. Prices are all over the place. Many are expensive, but there are always some that are bargains. These are the current auctions. And to get an idea of what they will sell for these are the completed auctions.
A specialized knife to score and open them is safer than a regular knife. Before cooking use knife to make slits along the rounded side of each chestnut. This promotes even cooking and keeps them from popping. For the knife squeamish there is the chestnutter, which gets mixed reviews. Then after roasting use this knife to open the shell and remove the meat. A good web page on preparing chestnuts in different ways can be found at Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop's How to Prepare Chestnuts. Also see Baking & Roasting: Chestnut Roasting Pan.
Crinkle Cutter Knife
Also called a corrugated cutter. Use to cut a variety of garnishes, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, etc. Can cut anything with a hard rind. When in knife form this is called a Knives: Decorating Knife.
Shellfish Knives Shellfish would have been easy for our paleo ancestors to collect. They would have simply smashed them open. To open without that mess we have two different knives available to us. Cut-resistant gloves would make it safer. Click a thumbnail for larger image.
Clam Knife. One side is sharp, but is more wedge-shaped than sharp. This knife is squeezed against the edge of the clam.
Oyster Knife. It is symmetrical, thick and not very sharp. It is used to pry open and separate the halves of the oyster.
The only thing I've done to sharpen my knives is to use a steel on them. Coming from a scissors family I'm leary of grinding on anything other than a wet wheel. Without water the grinder heats up the metal and the temper is lost. Without the temper the knife will lose its edge more quickly. This inexpensive device should not heat up the blade. It has hundreds of ecstatic reviews at Amazon.com. The next step up in sharpeners is 2-Stage. See Amazon.com's Knife Sharpeners Bestseller list. The added stage is a coarse stage for badly damaged edges. And electric is not recommended due to the metal heating problem. An in-depth discussion on sharpening tools and sharpening can be found at Types of Kitchen Knives: Sharpening Knives.
A whetstone is the only way to sharpen Japanese-style knives that have a bevel (blade road) only on one side. The stones also excel for regular knives, but take more effort. The stones came in different grits, and often will have two grit faces. Grits are: Rough: 240-300, Medium: 1000, Fine: 3000. A super-fine 6000 grit will give it a mirror-like finish. Finer grits are more expensive. Cheaper stones will be narrower and harder to sharpen on. A whetstone is soaked in water before using (until bubbles stop) and is kept wet while sharpening. If you buy a Yanagiba knife you will need a stone or two and have to factor in this cost. There are YouTube videos showing how to use one. The page Maintenance & Polishing has pictures, sharpening instructions, and blade diagrams for single-grind Japanese knives. [web site problems?]
A mandoline style optimized for cabbage. They slice and shred. None are inexpensive. Reviews are mixed. The one pictured does get a single positive review, but the unit is rather expensive.
These are inexpensive mini-processors with 3-cup or less plastic bowls. They accomplish a food processor's principal function without having to haul out the big machine. There are many hundreds of reviews at Amazon.com raving about the unit pictured at left. It has Hi/Low Pulse controls for coarse chopping or fine mincing; 3-cup bowl for onions, vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, eggs, and cooked meat. Others with a pour into opening on the top can handle liquids.
They are good for all usual vegetable preparation. They can replace the mandoline, the mortar and pestle, and the grater. This is a must if you make stir-fries often. They make easy and excellent paleo mayonnaise, though a hand blender or food chopper is less to clean. They don't make fine nut flour. For me it did a poor job of powdering jerky for pemmican, but others claim it works for them. Consumer Reports top rates the KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor. Here's a NY Times article on The Food Processor: A Virtuoso One-Man Band.
French Fry Cutter
White potatoes are not edible raw and are not considered paleo. But these slicers will work on vegetables (like carrots, cucumber, and zucchini ) and sweet potatoes, which are popular with paleo athletes that need carbohydrates. Output of this can be baked or pan fried in a paleo oil. They come with two grids: thick and thin. Uniform food sizing allows for even cooking. More expensive ones are larger and sturdier. They are not easy to clean.
It slices, dices or juliennes. Can do waffle cuts. Think carrots, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and lemons/limes for garnishes. They are dangerous -- suggest cut-resistant gloves. Can slice perfectly at any thickness, including paper thin. It is large and a bit cumbersome, but unbeatable for large jobs and precision cutting. If cooking for two the smaller simpler Japanese Benriner is better. The all stainless steel Bron Professional is the most versatile and durable. It is difficult to master, but a joy once you have. Adding plastic parts reduces cost and makes them simpler to use.
Mandoline: Japanese Benriner
This is a quality plastic mandoline that is much less expensive than the stainless steel ones. It is just as dangerous. It can julienne, slice, shred, chop and dice fruit and vegetables. Use for onions, carrots and celery for salads. The thickness is continuously adjustable but the maximum is only about 2mm. Benriners come in small and large sizes.
This is another style of plastic mandoline. And just as dangerous if used without the food safety holder. Slice and julienne vegetables and fruits. It also shreds cabbage and neatly dices tomatoes, and onions. The V-slicer will do a thicker slice than a mandoline, but it is not continuously adjustable. The 7mm and 3.5mm blades will julienne or shred cuts. The slicing insert will cut thick or thin slices (by flipping). The Boerner V-slicer does an adequate job, but not as nicely as the Benriner.
You can add chopped nuts to your salads. They have a cylinder with two compartments and in the middle there is a crank. Can chop large amounts and is dishwasher safe. Some handblender models have a chopper option. They may work well for nuts. Instead of chopping nuts I grind mine in my oval Krups coffee grinder (see above). Ground nuts would be the easiest to digest.
An electric slicer/shredder in the meat grinder style, but made for salad greens, vegetables, and fruits. Large food chamber. They have hand grips to allow you to just point and shoot. A funnel guide directs ingredients where needed. Several shredder cones are included for thick slices and ripple cuts. Reviewers like these units, except when they break.
You can use an egg/mushroom slicer for slicing strawberries, but these dedicated ones work better. With the pictured hand-held slicer you slice over a bowl, plate, or salad. Works for mushrooms too. Blades won't break or stretch like wire type egg slicers. Top-rack dishwasher safe. A small countertop version gets less favorable reviews.
Spiral Carrot Curlers Use to create vegetable garnishes for appetizers, salads, and casseroles. Prettifying food may increase its acceptance by the kids.
> Carrot Curler. Just like sharpening a pencil you create ribbons of carrots, cucumber, squash, and zucchini for garnishing. There is also a Grand version for creating flowers from larger vegetables like parsnips, daikons, or taro root. Reviewers universally rave about them. > > Twin Curl Cutter. On the search you will also see a Twin Curl Cutter. You bore this into a carrot and the two circular blades produce twin curls. It can be time consuming and the reviews aren't great. >
Use this for hard veggies like sweet potato, carrots, diakon, etc. Food needs to be rather wide and soft enough for the plastic screw to bore in.
Vegetable Spiralizer & Slicer
By World Cuisine. Called a Spirooli. From a paleo perspective this gadget is the best way to make raw zucchini noodles to use as a spaghetti substitute. Then you sauté them. Makes fancy spiral vegetable or fruit garnishes for salads. Comes with three sets of blades. Works well with sweet potatoes. The main negative is the when slicing you don't slice a 3/8" cylinder in the food's center. So not much gets sliced from small diameter vegetables like carrots and radishes. For them see the Spiral Carrot Curler above.
They are convenient to have around for weighing mail. Foodwise I use mine to split up bags of frozen fruit evenly. Then I know exactly how long to defrost in the microwave. One feature that my Escali doesn't have, and I recommend seeking, is to weigh in pounds and fractions of pounds. You buy by the pound. When you get home you may want to check the seller's weight. Mine only has grams, ounces, and pounds + ounces. To get fractions of pounds I have to weigh in grams and divide by 454. I confirmed that the best selling EatSmart Precision Pro pictured at left has this useful feature. It measures in 0.1 ounce increments. The Oxo only measures to 1/8 ounces, which is less fine.
The pictured scale is the second bestselling scale at Amazon after the one pictured above. I use it to weigh my loose tea leaves now that I use a brewing basket to brew my tea. I found you really can't measure tea consistently by looking at its volume. Some loose teas are small flakes. Some are large leaves which are lightweight. And some premium teas are tightly curled in little balls and those weigh the most. Put the basket on before turning the scale on and it will start at 0.0. This is a very inexpensive gadget and can be used to get an order up to the $25 minimum for free shipping.
You used to have to hold up a glass measuring cup to be able to read the scale on the side. Or bend down to read it sitting on the counter. Then someone had the brilliant idea of adding an angled scale in a plastic cup where it could be read by looking down in the cup while filling. They are available in sizes from 1 cup up to 4 cups and in sets. For the more traditional, the Glass Measuring Cups are still available and come in larger sizes than the angled plastic. Some of them come with a 4-position lid which allows you to sift, pour, strain, and sprinkle. And in smaller sizes a beaker alternative is also available. They will have thinner walls and a wider mouth.
I rarely use these. My cooking is fairly simple and I don't bother to measure. But if you are more ambitious than I, and are preparing the recipes found at the PaleoFood website, you will need some. Some sets go up to six or seven sizes and become expensive. That seems like overkill. But in both plastic and stainless steel, the sets with the most cups are the bestseller.
Like the measuring cups, sets with many sizes exist. One with eight sizes includes smidgen, pinch, and dash for small sizes. Such small sizes are very un-paleo! (Drop: 1/64 tsp, Smidgen: 1/32, Pinch: 1/16, Dash: 1/8, and Tad: 1/4.) Our paleo ancestors certainly didn't measure with such precision. The popular Oxo has only four spoons. It lacks an 1/8 tsp. A good enough approximation is half filling the 1/4 tsp. Or pick a set with five. Narrow spoons, as pictured at left, are useful for using in regular spice jars. I would find double ended ones harder to figure which one you want. Stainless steel won't have any static electricity issues that plastic may have. The ones I use are straight across the front and shovel shaped. They are perfect for getting the spice off the bottom of my spice tins.
You should have a couple of these around to monitor the temperature in your refrigeration compartments. The ideal refrigerator temperature range is 36°F to 40°F, with the crisper around 38°F. The normal temperature range in the freezer should be between 0°F to 10°F.
These are downright fun to play with. This is like the one I have. You aim the laser beam at an object and it displays the surface temperature. Check out the temperature of anything. Food safety people use these. I use mine to check the temperature of the suet while I'm rendering it when the moisture has been removed and the temperature starts to rise. Also good for measuring the surface temperature of a pan. They also have automotive troubleshooting uses.
Thermometers: Meat, Instant
An instant one is adequate to check how the meat is doing. Some of them (digital ones with a high top temperature) can also be used to measure the fat temperature when rendering suet. The faster it gets the reading the better. Most these days are digital. As I bought mine many years ago I have a dial model. It is less instant than a digital one, but a dead battery is never a problem. The once pictured at left is fast and gets the best reviews. For barbecuing many come in the form of a fork thermometer. Some have presets and indicating lights. But paleo barbecue can be close to raw, so no need for fancy temperature taking.
Thermometers: Meat, Remote
Polder was the first to come out with a remote probe thermometer where you set the desired temperature and an alarm goes off when it is reached. Now there are wireless models where the alarm will sound where you are with the remote and not in the kitchen. These make much more sense to me. While I don't have one, I would have to get such, as I hang out two floors away from my kitchen. They are especially useful when smoking meat.
Check the accuracy of your oven's thermostat. Your oven temperature can vary in different parts of the cavity, and it can vary as the thermostat cycles on and off. One problem with most oven thermometers is the thermometer is inside the oven and may be difficult to read through the door. There is one at Amazon.com with a probe and remote reading, but all reviews state that it is crap and a P.O.S.
Timers used to be simple. You turned the dial and it ticked down the time. Those still exist. More popular these days are digital ones which get you to-the-second accuracy. You can get ones with multiple timers. Some count up after expiring. Some clip on your belt. Some have magnets on the back. Some have audio and vibration modes. I have a small one I picked up a couple decades ago and the stick Polder timer/stopwatch model with a lanyard. They have two features that made them attractive to me: (1) You can directly key in the time. (2) They doesn't just sound once, but continuously until you turn them off. If it just sounds and you are busy you might forget.
Jerky Cutting Board & Knife
Easily slice a cut of meat for making jerky from strips of whole meat. The stainless steel cutting board is preset to cut approximately 1/4" thick slices for optimum drying. Both the cutting board and knife are dishwaser safe for easy clean up. The picture and the link is to The Sausage Maker. At Amazon.com there is this mystery product: Jerky Board and Knife set where you choose the desired thickness (1/4" or 3/8"). The razor sharp knife makes cutting a breeze. The kit includes a package of jerky seasoning and steak seasoning.
Jerky slicers are available in clamp on units with manual crank, and as attachments for grinders. They have a series of blades that cut up to 15 to 32 slices depending on the model. With the manual you can turn fresh kill into jerky right at the campsite. Manual hopper openings are 1"x4.5" or 1.25"x5". The attachment units have openings that are 1.25"x4".
Used in “larding,” in which long strips of chilled pork fat are threaded (with the use of a needle) into meats that are to be braised or roasted, such as beef filets or veal (especially lean cuts), poultry, and lean fish such as salmon. There are two basic kinds of larding needle, hollow and U-shaped. Hollow larding needles are about 5 mm in diameter with some sort of teeth or hook to keep the lard strip attached; they are passed completely through the meat. U-shaped larding needles, often called by the French name lardoir, are long needles with a “U” cross-section. See Wikipedia article on Lardon, the strips of pork fat used, and how the process is done.
Anyone following paleo can justify owning a meat grinder. You can make you own paleo sausage (also see Patty Press below), grind suet before rendering, powder narrow jerky strips for pemmican (by far the best way to do this), make use of full animal sides, or even just to grind up leftovers for hash. The manual ones that clamp to the counter are quite fine. Electric, which is what I bought, can run $100. If you have any KitchenAid Classic stand mixer–which won't have much use now that you aren't baking–you can buy a reasonably priced food grinder attachment for it.
To make jerky and pemmican you can ask the butcher to slice it, but bargains these days are at places with little service. And if you want grass-fed meat you may have to mail order it. Estate and garage sales are good places to look. Prices range all over the place. Inexpensive ones don't cut well or last very long. Small commercial style are $300 and up. I've given up on them and I simply hand slice my meat while it is partially frozen. If you want the best solution for slicing raw meat, get a Yanagiba Knife.
You can make a cheap cut of steak tender like an expensive cut. There are two main types of tenderizers on the market (and some unusual others). You have the multi-blade ones that pierce the meat, and the hammers to pound the meat. All of them get very high ratings. The link here is to all types in bestselling order.
Multi-Blade Style. The multi-blade tenderizers have razor sharp blades that cut through connective tissues that make meat tough. Tiny heat canals are created without changing shape or appearance of the meat, resulting in faster penetration of marinades. It also reduces cooking time. Complaints are few: If it falls apart it is impossible to reassemble. If your cutting board is hard you can bend pins which are costly to replace. And one stopped using it after reading that bacteria can get pushed into the meat and you must then cook it more thoroughly. This should not be an issue with the more paleo grass-fed meat.
Hammer Type. These often have two surfaces: a tenderizer surface is textured for optimum use, and a smooth side for pounding. You can take a piece of meat and turn it into a thin cutlet. Or pound chicken breasts to a uniform thickness (which makes cooking faster and even). The end with points helps tenderize steak by breaking up some of the muscle fibers, which also allows your marinade to permeate. You may also employ this tool to crush nuts or ice.
When I make my own sausage I make patties. They cook faster than links. A cylinder has little contact with a hot pan and is not an efficient form to cook. You will also need patty parchment paper. Despite what you see in pictures of only one sheet between patties, I found to keep the patties from sticking to each other you need a sheet on each side. A single sheet would work if you froze the patties one layer deep on a tray before stacking. Mine looks similar to the one pictured at left and makes patties 4-1/2" wide, but the max is only 3/8" thick. The white plastic Fox Run will make them 8-ounce if you fill to the brim (though it is only 4" in diameter). Others are adjustable to make the patties thicker. The Progressive International makes 4-1/2" patties. Fantes has some larger Burger Presses. I ordered their Adjustable Thickness Hamburger Press which makes 4.7" wide patties and has markings for 1/4 and 1/2 pound patties.
Just scoop and squeeze. Can also use as a fruit/melon baller. Can be used to dish up pet food. Pros: Meatballs are more consistent in size, thus cook at the same time. Keeps fingers clean. Cons: Meat can stick badly. Fingers can get sore, as small unfitted bows are uncomfortable.
Attachments are available to use the meat grinder to stuff. With a grinder you have to grind, mix, then regrind into a casing. This changes the consistency of your sausage. Even if done quickly, grinders will always force meat into the casing with plenty of air, a sausage-making no-no. Sausage stuffers put the mixed meat through a casing smoothly, with minimal air pockets, quickly, with less energy and time. I prefer my sausage in patty form for faster and more even cooking. And a lot less hassle making. See patty press above.
After poultry is stuffed, or if it is going into a rotisserie, you need to sew it up and bind the legs. Traditionally people used a Trussing Needle and Butcher's twine.
And the twine could be stored in and dispensed from a holder.
Silicone Food Loop Lacing Tool
The modern replacement for string and needles is this Silicone Lacing Tool. They are thicker than twine. The bright color makes them easy to see. Food doesn't stick to them. Use on or in the stove, in the freezer, but not in the microwave. They are also available in loop sets (both in silicone and stainless steel for grilling) for trussing meat rolls, stuffed fish, and poultry legs.
They are not even remotely paleo. I don't cook food in mine. I only use it to heat up already cooked food, defrost, and heat a mug of water for tea. It is the best way to heat tea water. You can learn the exact time needed. And you will end up with a heated mug. I like ones with a turntable/carousel. Most other features deal with cooking food.
Microwave Bacon Rack
I hesitate to add this. I don't consider any processed meats to be paleo. But many people following a primal diet do eat bacon. My mother uses one of these racks and finds it so much easier. Some are round which makes no sense for bacon, but may be needed for small ovens with a carousel that can't be turned off. Some also have a flat side for meat grilling. Then there are a variety of styles designed to maximize the number of strips that can fit into the microwave cavity.
Microwave Plate Cover
Use these if you reheat food in the microwave on a plate. I prefer to transfer my food to a glass Pyrex casserole dish for reheating. See them listed under Casseroles. Or if small enough that is was saved on a plate I eat it cold.
A small unit that steams a single serving of vegetables. Some are shaped to also steam fish. Mostly useful to someone with only a microwave to cook with, like a dorm room.
Rubber mallets can be used to split apart a tight head of garlic. Place garlic upside down on a towel. One whack does it. They can be used to split tough vegetables, like acorn squash. Place squash on a folded towel. Pound on a cleaver to split the squash. They can also be used to pound meat into even cutlets. Note: food should be covered with plastic wrap or placed inside a plastic bag, as black rubber mallet heads are not made of food-safe materials.
Red Wine Aerator
Fermented fruit is paleo. Our ancestors undoubtedly came upon fermented fruit and learned of its joys. Our ancestors would have consumed their fermented fruit fresh. It didn't spend several years in a bottle. A very hot selling item is a red wine aerator. They instantly decant the wine. You attentively pour the wine, so to not overflow the hopper, as it mixes in the air. Users have blind tested and found the device does work and improves drinkability. It rounds off the rough edges. Some have strainers for loose cork. A base is included, as they will drip after use.
Better than taking the point of the corkscrew and ripping around the foil. And safer than using a knife, is using a device designed to cut the foil on a wine bottle top. The pictured Screwpull, with four little wheels, is by far the best selling.
There are an endless number of corkscrews available in many styles.
Corkscrew, Screwpull Style
I like the all chrome screwpull style one that I bought some 40 years ago. Alas it can no longer be found. This plastic one is the bestselling corkscrew and is similar.
Use this if you want to look like a pro and not a wimp when you open your wine. Plus it can go in your pocket. It includes a built-in knife for the foil which the one above does not have. And a bottle cap remover. Pictured is a Pulltap (from Spain) with 2-step, double hinge. Rather than the sideways pull on the cork used in other waiter-style corkscrews, the “pull” on the Pulltaps is near vertical.
You will find there are dozens and dozens. Some rather serious. Some just functional. Some whimsical. The very basic ones come with picks. The more leverage you can get, the easier it will be to crack the nut. Look for types that have levers, long handles or screws. Personally I'm lazy and I buy my nuts shelled. I can only see cracking open nuts if one has a nut tree in one's yard. Or if you demand utmost freshness. On this page Where do I get a Black Walnut nut cracker? you can scroll down to find information on nut cracking and storage.
Insert tip into side of shell, ‘push in' and squeeze. It cracks pistachios and pulls them out all in one quick click. Saves fingernails. At Amazon.com this device is only sold in pistachio gift boxes.
This really should not be on here. Paleo foods do not come from a can. But some canned fish comes in cans where you need an opener. A reasonably priced Amco Swing-A-Way classic [pictured left] has served me well for decades and is all you need. It gets raves from the reviewers. And it does not take up as much drawer space as the expensive over-engineered ones.
Rubber Jar Opener
A variety of devices exist to help open jars and screw-type bottle caps. Some can crush the lid or cap. For a couple decades I've been using a rubber Handyaid Gripper which I like a lot and use often. It is pictured at left. It can only be bought in sets of three from Vermont Country Store (give the extra as gifts). Several grippers can be found at Amazon.com, but it is hard to know how well they will grip without seeing them.
Useful for slicing hard root vegetables, e.g. carrots, for salads. A wide slot gets better slices (but more waste if your objective is to only remove the skin). They come in straight or Y-shaped. A carbon steel blade will remain sharper longer than a stainless steel one. Ceramic blades now also exist and they stay sharp the longest. Some like the OXO GoodGrips for ease of holding and it does have a wide slot, but has a stainless blade. A ceramic Y-shaped one with a wide slot and raves is the Shenzhen Knives Ceramic Peeler.
There are many of these for sale. Why are they so popular? I've never peeled an apple. Leaving the peels on gets a nice red-brown applesauce. I can see if you have an apple tree and dehydrate apple slices. Or if you don't have a food mill and want chunky applesauce. Pictured is the Back To Basics. It is recommended by Cook's Illustrated and is the bestseller.
They peel the tough outer layer of the thick ends of asparagus stems, for more tender results. They either clamp over a stalk and you pull it through, or have a curved blade. Some also cut in a two-in-one gadget. Instead of these you can use a regular hand peeler and a knife. All are dishwasher safe.
By Microplane. This is the bestseller grater at Amazon.com. It is designed like a rasp. It produces tiny, thin strips as opposed to hard little granules. The thin strips maximize the surface area in contact with the taste buds. Excellent for hard onions, citrus zests, carrots, ginger, nutmeg, and more. There are hundreds of reviews raving about it. Stainless steel with razor sharp grating edges. You can scrape your knuckles. Hand wash and dry thoroughly. Save the packaging cover to store it in.
Chef'n Kiwee Kiwi Tool
With a paring knife you can cut an endless loop around the kiwi to remove the peel. Or with this tool you first use the serrated blade end to cut the kiwi in half. Then you use the other end to scoop out the fruit. It appears to be a new item. There are also specialized Kiwi Peelers that are similar to the basic hand peeler listed above.
Lemon zesters have sharp holes along the head making it easy to zest citrus rinds. Most also have a built-in Channel Knife for cutting strips for garnishes and decorations. These zesters get a coarse zest in the form of small strips. Many recipes call for a finer zest. For gardenuse a Grater/Zester (a couple entries above).
If you eat pineapple, fresh is the only way to go. This slicer cores and rings a pineapple with a simple twisting motion. It maximizes the amount of usable fruit. The rings come out with no eyes or bits of peel attached. And it leaves the core and empty shell behind. Dishwasher safe.
Consumer Reports and radio advertisements claim they should be replaced every five years. In the November 2010 issue they write that the Kidde Silhouette KN-COPF-i is the top one. And for a smoke detector they like the Kidde PI2010 Smoke Alarm Dual Sensor with Battery Backup.
Consumer Reports argues that you should have at least one full-floor, multipurpose fire extinguisher per house floor. They recommend the Kidde FX340GW, which is a single use model. The equivalent, but rechargeable, is the Kidde Pro 10 MP. Much better selling at Amazon.com are the smaller Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher (which is what I have in the laundry room) and the Kidde FX10K Kitchen Fire Extinguisher (which I have in the kitchen). N.B. Extinguishers are rated by fire types. US Classes: A-Ordinary combustibles, B-Flammable liquids and gases, C-Electrical equipment, D-Combustible metals, K-Cooking oil or fat.
Standing on a hard floor can be tiring. The most resiliant floor for a kitchen is a cork floor. But they are hard to clean. The worst to stand on is a tile or stone floor. In my dream kitchen I would make the floor wood, which is what is under my linoleum. To provide some cushioning I now have cotton rugs in the places where I stand. Even better would be these GelPro floor mats. Available in a two sizes and different colors.
Emergency Outage Light
A flashlight can be useful to have in the kitchen. And if you live in a location with frequent power outages, an LED emergency light will keep the kitchen lit. To use an outage light as a flshlight you simply pull from the outlet where it lives. The problem with these is reliability could be better.
Having grown up with an abundance of shears, I am always surprised when I find people that use a knife to cut everything in the kitchen. Handy for many tasks and especially for opening plastic bags. Often they will have a space for opening screw type bottle caps. I prefer a more versatile rubber griping jar opener.
These are the easiest way to cut whole chickens into pieces. Unless you are in one of the ethnic groups that use a meat cleaver to chop into small indistinguishable pieces. These days they are all stainless and easy to clean. And some come apart for even easier cleaning.
In the 1950s a relative had the idea to market flower trimming shears as lobster shears. They looked like these lovely Italian Foxrun 5978 Lobster Shears pictured at left. I tried my vintage pair on Snow Crab claws and they snipped through them easily. It is so much easier to cut the shell than to crack it open. If used at the dinner table you can use one per three people.
A couple of available models feature a curved blade to de-vein shrimp. I bought the Progressive International pictured at left. Being stamped (and not forged like the Foxrun pictured above) the blades are rather thick. They worked beautifully on jumbo shrimp and cut through the shell encircling the tail which I do not cook. These do not have enough leverage to cut through Snow Crab claw joints. All the Amazon.com reviews rave about the pictured item, except the one that tried to use them on crab claws.
Cheap caviars have unpaleo artificial dyes and preservatives. However, the unpasteurized refrigerated Tsar Royale, White Sturgeon Caviar is paleo (price includes expedited shipping). This is a good item for the holiday season (which is when most caviar is sold and it is the most expensive). Hand carved Mother of Pearl spoons are the traditional accoutrements used to serve caviar. And the caviar should be served over ice (i.e. in a bowl that is sitting in a bowl of ice). See Caviar Servers.
Ice Cream Spade
You are probably wondering why I have listed something that would appear to only be useful for a non-paleo food. Here's why: For pemmican one renders a supply of suet ahead of time. At room temperature it is harder than ice cream. A cheap Winco spade is what I use to pry off chunks to be melted and mixed with the powdered jerky.
It is not sanitary to stick one's hand in to grab ice. And using a plastic cup can be clumsy. The solution is to use an ice scoop. Traditionally they came in cast aluminum or stamped stainless steel. Those still are the top sellers. Now Oxo Good Grips has a translucent white one that gets raves from the reviewers. Its flexible, compact head funnels into smaller containers. And you can leave it in the freezer and it is not cold to touch.
By Ekco. Perfect for lifting, straining, draining, serving, scooping, or stirring. I've had mine for decades. And a wooden handled one was around for many decades before me. I use mine when rendering suet. They are still chrome plated and not stainless steel. They claim dishwasher safe, but I hand wash mine. Note that the Amazon.com price is way above the $1.99 retail price. Maybe Amazon.com gives you three. There is also a stainless steel Ekco 123® Skimmer that is similar, except its outside radius no longer meshes with your stockpot's. It is not shown at Amazon.com. N.B. The Kitchamajig name and design go back to the 1920s. The current owners of the product have removed it from web online ordering. The have removed the Kitchamajig name from the packaging (click thumbnail to see). And in their upscale line they redesigned its uniqueness away. Idiots.
I prefer an oval shape as it makes it easier to pour into narrow containers or into a food mill. I use mine when making applesauce. I don't see many oval ones at Amazon. I don't see the point of nylon ones. Maybe as I don't believe in non-stick cookware except for cooking eggs in a frying pan.
High temperature nylon is nice not to bang around inside the mixing bowl.
You have a choice of stainless steel and high temperature nylon.
I use one like this to stir the applesauce, suet and soup, when in my 16 quart stockpot.
When growing up spatulas they became hard rubber and were flat. They have improved. Now they are a soft silicone rubber and many curve in like a spoon. You need this to get the last of the cooked apples into the food mill, and then the last of the milled sauce into a container. And for anything else that is thick and won't easily pour out. In the pictured set the largest is the only size I use. Also available are narrow uses for use in a jar.
The only non-stick pan I use is a frying pan for fried eggs. Hence the only utensils that I have that are plastic are turners. When I started my household some four decades ago I acquired a turner with no name, but most likely made by Ekco. Since then I have bought another dozen. None of them are as good as that original one. One the handle is so heavy that if you leave in a small frying pan it flops out. Some don't have a straight leading edge, making it hard to spread around the oil. Some don't have a sharp enough leading edge to easily get under the egg. Many are too large and cumbersome to slip in and get under a single egg without twisting the pan or moving your hand around. Some have blades that are too stiff. It needs some flex to bend under the egg. Some don't have slots. Without them the surface friction is increased, making it harder to slide under. I have not tried the pictured turners. I will buy them and try. I'm leary of their long lifting surface and how they will get under the eggs that are on the near side of the pan. At least I'm right handed, so these won't be backwards for me.
Wooden spoons are widely used for mixing purposes, especially in fragile containers. The advantage of a wooden spoon is you can leave it in the pot and it won't get hot and you can more easily frequently stir. The softness of the wood is kind to the pans. Cheap ones easily split even if not left in the pot. Apparently maple is better. A downside is they have to be hand washed. Wait! There is a new contender on the market: bamboo. They are inexpensive, durable, and they can go in the dishwasher. People rave about them. It doesn't make sense to consider any other.
Binder Clips, Small
I see clips for clamping plastic bags selling for up to several dollars each. The lowly Small Binder Clip, that can be found in any office, does a fine job. If the bag is wide, you simply use a few of them.
Containers, Freezer, 1 quart
If you make you own applesauce it makes sense to make a large batch and freeze it. Freezing breaks down the cellular structure in fruit, but the cooking has already done that. There is no loss in quality at all from freezing it. Now applesauce is really easy to make if you have all the necessary equipment. See my applesauce instructions.
We paleo eaters need good freezer space. A separate one is handy, but do not buy frost-free as they increase freezer burn. A chest freezer is the most energy efficient and is what I put in my cellar. Get one with a light when the lid is open. We can freeze fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and raspberries), nut flours, and grass-fed meat bought through the mail or local meat on sale. Though the only fruit I freeze now are blackberries, as I find for the others the store-bought frozen fruit is better and cheaper (especially Wyman's Wild Blueberries).
Herb Saver or Keeper
There are several of these made. They work with all kinds of herbs, and some are long enough for asparagus. They all work on the principal of having the stems sit slightly submerged in a reservoir of water inside a closed container that you keep inside your refrigerator. They claim herbs can be kept up to three weeks. You need to change the water often. Some people find they help. On some of the units some people claim they promote rot.
Olive Oil Can
Many paleos use olive oil as the default oil. It makes sense to buy in large tins. I am unable to recommend an olive oil can that can be purchased. I like mine, which is pictured at left. Any drip goes back in the can and the cover seals it. I bought this from Bari Restaurant & Pizza Equipment in 1989. They stopped carrying it long ago and can not get it. Searching the web I can't even find a picture of one like this. What one does find are tall cans with a long spout coming from the bottom of the can (presumably to keep the sediment from building up). The spout does not seal off. They are the European style. Why hasn't high tech reached the olive oil can?
Produce and Lettuce Keepers
They have a tray and vent system that helps extend the life of produce. People like them! The only negative comments are they don't work too well for lettuce, though possibly they were using the produce keeper for lettuce and not the lettuce keeper. Or the temperature of their refrigerator was way off.
J.K. Adams 16-Piece Spice Bottle Set
3-1/2-ounce flint glass bottles come with white screw caps and snap-on sifters in two hole sizes (generally 1/8" and 1/4"). Sized to fit standard racks. Labels may be included. You can harmonize your collection of spices for a most reasonable price. These are especially useful if you buy bulk spices from the health food store. But these aren't going to be big enough for some bulk spices.
I purchased 8 oz. spice tins to store my bulk spices. They are also available in 4 oz, but that doesn't gain much space over the jars, and the sizes cost about the same. I used my P-Touch label maker (next entry) to label the sides. I pulled the sales label off the bags and stuck them on top.
With a Brother Personal P-Touch Labeler Machine you can create custom labels for your spice bottles or tins.
And for a little more there is a PC-connectable model without a keyboard that you only control via your PC. It allows for more fonts and graphics. You see exactly what will print before you print.
Storage Set, Pyrex
Any food that you may reheat in the microwave should be stored in glass. This stackable set is the bestseller. It has five containers with seal-tight plastic lids. Can also be used to transport foods for lunches and picnics.
Cleaning teeth with a small stick would be very paleo. Toothpicks should be made readily available for people's use. Pictured at left is a pressed glass toothpick holder made from original molds from decades ago. You can only buy it at the Vermont Country Store. At Amazon.com for toothpick holders you have pocket holders, modern looking table holders, and dispensers like you would see in a restaurant.
Vacu Wine Saver Stopper
These sell pretty well for an item that doesn't do what it claims, which is keeping wine fresh for two weeks. Wine oxidizes when exposed to air and turns to vinegar. These stoppers and the hand vacuum pump remove maybe half the air from the bottle. The life is only extended from 1-2 days to 3-4 days. And it can make some wines worse. Wetting the stopper first can improve the seal. An alternative is to get wine caps for your Tilia FoodSaver (next entry). Another alternative is to transfer the wine to a smaller container. What wine bars use is a gas-replacement system that pumps nitrogen into the bottle as wine is poured out.
These have an electric pump system that seals your food. Foods maintain their freshness and flavor longer when there is no oxygen or air inside the package. Microorganisms such as bacteria mold and yeast cannot grow in a vacuum. Moisture cannot be pulled out of moist foods, which is what causes freezer burn. Dry foods can't absorb mositure from the air. A useful feature missing from my older machine is CrushFree Instant Seal function which immediately stops the vacuum process to prevent crushing dry items. The Tilia FoodSaver gets excellent reviews in the newsgroups and comes in several models. The Advanced Design has variable speeds. Accessories are storage containers, wine stoppers, and a marinade canister. A vacuum opens the pores of food, allowing marinades to penetrate deeper and more quickly, cutting the marinating time to minutes.
By Jonas. For the foragers and gardeners amongst you. Device has wire combs for combing off the berries. Works great for getting blueberries, salmonberries, huckleberries and blackberries. It probably also works well for cranberries. Jonas also has a model with plastic combs and a child-size one, also with plastic combs. It helps if the berries are densely packed. The product is 9 x 19.5 x 15 inches.
Some people use this to strain their rendered suet. (I use a chinois.) There are different types of cheesecloth and it comes in different grades. For cooking you want "new yard goods." The problem is rarely are packages of the cloth labeled with any useful information. If you use cheesecloth in large quantities it is much cheaper to buy a bolt (60 yards) than small packages. Call Wipe-Tex International and discuss your needs.
They are excellent for making stocks and broths clear, and for pureeing softened foodstuffs. I use mine for straining rendered suet. A real chinois has a very fine mesh, like a strainer. Mine has a two layer mesh. If it is inexpensive, it may be a China cap which has a solid metal cone with holes stamped into it. Not as good. Checking Amazon.com I find two to recommend: Matfer 17360 Exoglass Bouillon Strainer and the more reasonable Reinforced Extra Fine Mesh Bouillon Strainer 8". Another use is ridding fresh squash of its excess water. Some come with a pestle and for others it is an options. I don't use one. For my suet I simply press with a spoon.
I never use a large colander. (A friend uses a large one to rinse meat.) I do use one smaller than this 1-1/2 quart size for rinsing berries. This is just right for a quart of berries. And it easily fits in the dishwasher. Note that despite Amazon.com showing three, you only get one. An attractive alternative is a small Solid Copper Berry Colander which is not dishwasher safe.
Useful for making applesauce, tomato juice/sauce, straining squash and pumpkin, etc, and various fruits and vegetables for juices. There are several variables to consider when choosing a food mill: (1) Size. For the home sizes start at 2-quart. 3.5-quart is also available. My Cuisipro Food Mill (unavailable) is large. I would't want anything smaller. The mill size is often elusive. (2) How far the mill sits into the receiving vessel. Some sit above, and you can mill into a bowl. My Cuisipro sits in and I use a deep pot. (3) A brace across the top or not. A few of the smaller ones don't have this. They will break.
It is a sauce maker for creamy applesauce, smooth tomato sauce, and with accessories: berries, pumpkins/squash, and grapes. Like a food mill but is cylindrical with an auger. Skin and seeds are discharged separately, without waste. Top of the line is the Squeezo. I've never used one. Due to their expense I can't see buying one.
I pan fry all fish and most meats in onions, garlic, and olive oil, then add lemon juice at the end. I use a porcelain lime juicer that I picked up locally and is no longer available. It is small, but big enough for the juice of a half lemon. I then pick out the seeds with a spoon. This keeps the pulp, but would be tedious if doing more than a half lemon. There are many ways of getting the juice out of a lemon. You have the juicer that either collects the juice using posts to hold back the seeds and pulp, or strains it into another bowl. There is a basic hand reamer. Then you have the squeezers. The pictured one is the bestseller and gets high marks in the press. Though many comments note that if put in the dishwasher the enamel will start to flake off. There are also smaller Lime Juicers and Squeezers.
This is for people that boil their vegetables. (I usually steam them.) Just place the strainer over the edge of the pot and drain the liquid, keeping the vegetables in the pot. Also called a Pour Off Sieve. They come in two styles: with a handle for use with a saucepan, and larger ones with two side tabs to use with a stockpot. In stainless steel or plastic.
These look like the strainers I bought decades ago when setting up my kitchen. At the time it was very difficult to buy strainers of this quality. Kitchen utensils were all kind of cheap. Since then kitchen items have gone upscale. I don't use them very often these days. Instead I use my chinois, small colander, and brewing basket.
From a paleo point-of-view it would be best to not consume caffeine. But let's be realistic. Green tea is unprocessed and would be the most paleo. (Not coffee, which is a fruit seed that is inedible raw.) Buying loose tea is much cheaper than buying bagged tea, and if making the tea at home it is not a hassle to put the tea in an infuser or basket and stick in a mug of hot water heated in the microwave.
I have several of the infuser pictured at left. Note that this has some limitations. To allow room for the leaves to expand this only holds one teaspoon of flaked tea, a single serving. It is too small if you have premium full-leaf tea with leaves that are curled into a ball. You can stir a few times to get good circulation. Amazon.com stocks this as an add-on item. To buy it you have to also buy enough other items to reach the $25 free shipping threshold.
Finum Brewing Basket
I've switched to using a medium-sized Finum brewing basket. Mainly as the mesh is finer than the tea infuser and keeps the sediment out. Having sediment at the bottom of your cup will turn the tea bitter if you take a while to drink it. The basket also is necessary for my Imperial Oolong, which is full leaves tightly curled in little balls. There are also stainless steel baskets. I picked plastic as it has a much lower mass and dunking a basket into the heated water will reduce the temperature some. The tea leaves will float on top and there is no circulation. You can can lift out the basket to create some. I now measure my tea with an inexpensive pocket scale.
Butane Torch. Lightweight torch designed for kitchen use. They include an ignition mechanism. You refill these with standard butane fuel as sold for lighters. Butane reaches 2500°F.
A Propane Torch as found in a workshop works just as well, but it is much heavier to hold than a butane one that was designed for kitchen use. Unless you get a hose torch. The pictured one has on/off trigger igniter for one-handed operation. Propane can reach 3600°F.