Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Top 10 Gifts for the Health-Conscious Cook
There's nothing like the right tool when it comes to food preparation! Here are 10 gift suggestions for the healthy cook in your life. Or pass along this list to that special person looking for gift ideas for you!
All prices are approximate and linked through Amazon for simplicity. Better prices may be found elsewhere.
1. Food Dehydrator ($190)
Beef jerky, dried herbs, fruit leathers, flax crackers—the versatility of the dehydrator is immeasurable. From sprouted seeds to kale chips to yogurt, dehydrators preserve the nutrients in just about any food. We even salvaged a moisture-ridden iPod once!
Two popular dehydrator brands are Excalibur and Good4U. Raw Food Guru offers this comparison.
2. Vitamix ($380-$500)
This is a food processor, smoothie maker, flour grinder, and much more. It can be used to make nut butters, to puree soups, and to blend coconut milk. You can make a green juice by blending the greens and then straining through a nut milk bag. The Vitamix is extremely durable and easy to clean. Blendtec also offers a similar product. The website Perfect Smoothie gives an interesting comparison of the two.
3. Juicer ($260-$480)
The twin-great technology of the Green Star Juicer makes it the number one choice for a healing regimen, according to the Best Juicers website. There is little waste with the Green Star, because of the twin gears. The juicer is safe and easy to reassemble. The Omega J8005 Juicer is more affordable and also gets great reviews.
4. Food Processor ($35-$180)
A food processor can't be beat for chopping vegetables. According to the Consumer Search website, the best budget food processor is the Hamilton Beach Chef Prep for less than $40. The best overall processor, according to reviewers, is the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus for approximately $180.
5. Immersion Blender ($30)
The immersion blender is great for pureeing individual portions of soup. Yogurt starter can be dissolved in warm milk and eggs can be mixed for egg dishes with ease. It also works great for homemade mayonnaise!
6. Coffee Grinder ($25)
This tool is useful for grinding spices, seeds, nuts, and herbs.
7. Funnel ($8)
Mason jars abound in any natural kitchen. This funnel makes the transfer of liquids a breeze. This is a must-have for making soup broths, transferring oils between containers, pouring kefirs, and more. Add a mesh strainer and you can filter as you transfer.
8. Stainless Steel Popsicle Molds ($40)
This set of six molds may be expensive, but it will last forever. This is a great way to offer a healthy snack to kids. Make a fruit smoothie and pour into molds. Popsicle sticks will need to be replenished.
9. Knife ($50-$300)
A dependable knife is critical. A chef's knife and a paring knife make a good pair. Global is an outstanding brand. Other recommended brands include Wusthof and J.A. Henckels.
10. Fermentation Jar or Crock ($8-$200)
Proper equipment is essential for fermentation. Consider the Harsch crock, or a jar with an airlock for fermented vegetables. Pickl-It has an excellent selection of fermentation jars. Fido jars work well for fruit chutneys and condiments, as well as cultured vegetables.
From the foods we eat to the tools we use, healthy eating is always a worthwhile investment.