Wholesome Cooking with the Right Equipment 101
If you want to cook healthy foods, then it stands to reason that you need some healthy kitchen implements to help you. For some, this is like starting from the ground up - maybe you're new to the whole cooking-at-home thing. For others, it may be a matter of improving the healthy nature of your cooking. Regardless, it can help to have a list of healthy cooking equipment basics. Here are some suggestions.
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Pots and Pans
You really don't need anything fancy in the way of pots and pans, but many sources will tell you that a few durable pieces are superior than buying cheaper, more delicate ones that need to be replaced every year or so.
For durability, it's hard to beat cast iron. Families have been known to pass down cast iron skillets for generations, because they are practically indestructible! Also, it's been shown that cooking in cast iron imparts iron into the food, which boosts its nutritive value. So, for healthy cooking, you may want to invest in some cast iron cookware. Other materials with a healthy, durable reputation include enamelware and copper-bottom stainless steel.
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This piece of kitchen equipment is a wonderful time- and nutrient-saver. If you want to cook dried beans at the last minute, you can do so in a pressure cooker. Healthy foods like brown rice that can take almost an hour to cook conventionally can be fully cooked in 25 minutes in a pressure cooker. The same is true for vegetables and meats. And because the cooking time is shortened so dramatically, valuable nutrients are said to be preserved.
Pressure cookers come in various models, from awfully expensive, large, stainless steel models to inexpensive, smaller, anodized aluminum models.
Eating healthy is a lot easier with a blender. You can become the smoothie master if you have a nice blender in your kitchen, and it does not have to be expensive. They are not just good for smoothies; blenders can be used to make creamy mashed sweet or white potatoes, to grind up grains, crush ice, and add "hidden" vegetables to sauces and soups. You can use them to make fruit purees to freeze into popsicles, too. A blender really helps with healthy food preparation.
A juicer is something like a specialized blender, and it's considered indispensable by many health experts. A juicer differs from a blender in that it removes the tough plant fibers of popular juicing foods like wheat grass and carrots and turns them into a vitamin-rich drink. Some sources point out that the nutrients in the foods are released into your bloodstream more quickly when your digestive system does not have to contend with the fiber.
You really don't need a full set of knives. Two or three good ones will do, along with a sharpener. A good knife can last a lifetime and can make a world of difference in food preparation. If you have a good knife, you can tackle whole foods like winter squash, and you can produce healthy chopped veggies in record time. A paring knife, bread knife, and large chopping knife are a good place to start.
This is not a waste of counter space. A good kitchen scale can really help you with healthy cooking. Nothing beats it for portion control, calorie counting, and precise measuring in the kitchen.