Every Paleo kitchen needs the following items to give an extra helping hand.
1. Crock Pot
How else are you going to create that lovely batch of bone broth to heal your gut? Crock Pots are definitely making a come back in the kitchen especially with those eating Paleo. We consume large chunks of meat and slurp up bone broths but you can cook other items in there as well.
I personally own the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart. It's programmable and comes with a meat thermometer (which I rarely use)
2. Cast Iron Skillet
A well seasoned Iron Skillet is probably the most essential item used in the kitchen, at least for me. I cook pretty much everything in it. I tossed out my various teflon, calphalon, whatever other kind of -on coated cooking materials in favor of stainless and cast iron. It takes a little skill and care to get used to cooking on cast iron but is well worth it for the flavor imbued and the avoidance of harmful chemicals flaking off into your food. You also get the added bonus of adding iron to your meals.
I prefer Lodge as that was what we always used in my time as a Boy Scout. I now own and use for everything, the Deep 10.25" variety.
3. Quality Knives
You won't get very far in your kitchen without some decent cutlery. You're actually less likely to cut yourself with a sharp and well maintained knife. Have you ever tried to cut something with a dull knife, have it bounce off wildly, and end jaggedly bouncing across a finger? Unless you're speed chopping like a master chef or using a knife improperly, you're not likely to hurt yourself. Look for decent steel that holds and edge well and use the proper knives for what you're cutting. Don't be afraid to spend a little extra for something that will likely last most of your life.
4. Food Processor
This little gem is worthwhile even one of the cheaper varieties. Since you'll be preparing your own sauces, salsas, puddings, dressings etc., a food processor is a must. I use mine constantly for a lot of meals. You could get away with using a decent blender like a Ninja or just go with a cheap 40-50 dollar variety to get you started but unless you enjoy mincing everything by hand, the food processor will make your life much easier in the long run and shorten your time in the kitchen.
5. Chest Freezer
Since the Paleo diet does tend to consume a lot of meat it is wise to invest in a decent chest freezer. Costco often has a decent one for under 200 dollars. So, when you're out at the local farm getting your meat supply you can buy in bulk and have it ready to go when you're hungry (sans thawing time). For my area, or if buying from US Wellness, most of the meats are flash frozen, so you'll want a way to keep larger amounts without your refrigerators freezer exploding. Plus if you're lucky enough to have a few friends that want to go in on a Cow Pool (sharing of a cow) you can fit pretty much a quarter cow into a small 7cu/ft freezer with no trouble.
Honorable mention for making my kitchen life easier:
- A microplane for zesting lemons or grating ginger and garlic.
- A hand held lemon/lime juicer (I got tired of picking out seeds)
- A vacuum sealer (super handy for freezing meals or bulk products)
If this is your first foray into eating a Paleo diet, blow the dust off your old kitchen equipment or pick up some new toys. You'll thank me in the long run.