If you ask our Masters what tools had the biggest bang for their buck to help them successfully eat their veggies, these were the ones that came up most often.
The list isn’t long, and it isn’t expensive either. Get these items in your kitchen, and you’ll be ready to go with any CSA, no matter where you live…
Full disclosure: I am an affiliate for Amazon, so if you want to order one of these items, we’d sure appreciate it if you did so using one of these links. (I’ll make a small commission, and it’s a very simple way to support your local farmer.)
Basic CSA Kitchen Tools List 1.0
1. Debbie Meyer Green Bags
These are used almost universally by CSA members to help them store, organize, and lengthen the life of their veggies.
Debbie Meyer Green Bags are our bag of choice, as they absorb ethylene gas, emitted by all vegetables once harvested (this gas hastens spoilage). Debbie Meyer bags lengthen the life of your produce by several weeks. You can also use them to store bread longer.
A pack of 20 will easily last you year, as you can re-use each bag up to 10 times. Totally worth it.
If you get one thing on this list, let this be it!
2. Freezer Ziplock bags
You’ll be freezing a LOT of your food for the winter. If you find yourself with an excess of greens, you can simply blanch them and freeze them on a sheet pan; then pop them in a freezer bag to save until later.
You can also flash freeze peppers, garlic, and onions. All you do is pop them into a freezer Ziplock.
So get yourself a couple boxes of these (grab some gallon size too). If you don’t like the idea of using plastic, then buy some Mason jars instead….
3. Salad Spinner
An essential tool for washing and drying greens efficiently. Our favorite is the Oxo brand. Some CSA Masters leave their lettuce stored right in the spinner in the fridge!
4. Glass containers
Large glass storage or prep bowls with lids
These are good for storing a large amount of prepped veggies or dinner leftovers. Our Masters also use them for prepping meals ahead-of-time. Get several sizes.
Mason Jars (Wide Mouth, quarts)
Unlimited possibilities, these are a great storage tool for not only meal prep, but if you’re going to learn can veggies, or learn how to ferment (so easy!), you’ll need these.
Other CSA masters use these to store their frozen veggies — garlic cloves for instance can be stored unpeeled right in the jar and frozen!
Definitely get the wide-mouth jars. If you can only get one size, get the quarts. They are the most versatile.
Our Masters also use them for storing Mason Jar salads — a great lunch meal for on-the-go. You can probably find these cheaper at your local box store in season.
5. Ice Cube Trays
To avoid wasting food, you’ll want to know how to freeze your unused veggies. Enter the ice cube tray. These little guys help you freeze things like DIY veggie broth, pesto cubes, blanched spinach or kale, and more!
I love the silicone trays. I’m not sure what size cube this is exactly, but it’s bigger than a normal ice cube — the size is ideal for most servings.
6. Food processor
Most of our CSA masters have one. It’s the one “big-ticket” item in the kitchen. They use it for making salsa, pesto, pizza dough, and pureeing items like soups and sauces. It’s even a great tool for shredding carrots or cauliflower “rice.”
7. Skillet — two choices
Basic oven-safe, non-stick frying pan
You’ll use this for stir fries, pan sautes, and quiches, as well as frittatas or skillet meals that can simply be baked right in the pan in the oven. We like pans that have a clear lid so you can see what’s going on inside.
Masters will often either have a basic non-stick skillet or a cast iron skillet. You decide.
8. Chef’s Knife — a Good one!
Food prep is so much faster and safer when you spend the money for a high quality knife. To find the best knife for you, it’s best to go to a kitchen store and try them out by hand. It’s all about how it feels in your hand.
I also like the AccuSharp 001C Knife Sharpener and slide it through my knife before almost every use. A sharp knife is so important, and I absolutely hate the drama of expensive knife sharpeners.
Accusharp is cheap and it works. It is one of my FAVORITE kitchen tools.
9. Sheet Pan for Roasting
When you join a CSA, one of the exit strategies you learn about is “the Sheet Pan Meal.” This allows you to throw your entire meal (meat, veggie, starch) onto one sheet pan, and prep a meal in 30 minutes.
The sheet pan should have a lip and be large enough to handle large portions of food. I recommend this one, which was Cook’s Illustrated’s top-performing sheet pan years ago.
The sheet pan also comes in handy to help you freeze clumps of blanched greens or berries. Make sure it can fit in your freezer.
10. Large Stock Pot
You’ll use this for soups and stews as well as to make regular batches of DIY veggie stock — a great way to use your carrot peels, tops, and other veggie scraps.
11. Slow Cooker
This is a staple in every CSA Master’s kitchen. It’s a versatile tool, giving you the option to simply toss some veggies and meat into a pot before you leave for work, and come home to a delicious, home-cooked meal.
Grab one at a local garage sale. You don’t need one with lots of bells and whistles. A warm setting is a nice feature.
CSA Kitchen Tools 2.0
We’ve also put together a list of more advanced tools that you’ll often find in the CSA Master’s kitchen, after they’ve gotten their feet wet. These are more expensive frills, but can go a long way to giving you options to use your produce.
1. A Really Good Blender
We’ve got CSA people who swear by the Ninja. Others love their Vitamix. Personally, I use a basic, run-of-the-mill blender and get by (although the motor does get overworked). I use it for pureeing my soups, making smoothies, and sauces.
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