2019 Modern Homesteader’s Christmas Wish List
* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.
Despite the fact that most modern homesteaders lust after some version of “the simple life” and like to challenge ourselves to make do with what we’ve got (and be resourceful AF), we also tend to be suckers for good quality kitchen gadgets, garden tools, cookbooks, preserving equipment, natural ingredients and products that either take us back to a simpler time (hello cast iron and wooden spoons!) or make balancing this whole homesteading thing with the demands of life in the 21st century just a little -or a lot- quicker and easier (I’m looking at you, Instant Pot!)
The awesome thing is, as modern homesteading gains traction and more and more people jump on the self-sufficiency train, the more old-fashioned tools and modern-day time savers are becoming available for those of us who are striving for a homegrown, homemade life.
Naturally, many of us already have a list a mile long of practical, useful gifts that would have us swooning on Christmas morning. But if you need a few ideas for the modern homesteader in your life, you’re looking to inconspicuously send a link full of your favourite products to someone who needs a hint *wink wink*, or you just enjoy browsing Christmas gift guides full of your favourite things (yes, seed catalogues absolutely count;), then this list is certain to have everything you’re heart desires and more. (And if it doesn’t, please let me know what’s missing so I can add it!)
I’ll admit, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about what songs are on the Top 40 list right now or what hashtags are trending on social media, but when it comes to what’s hot in the modern homesteading world, I’m your girl.
And so, without further ado, I present to you the first annual Modern Homesteader’s Christmas Wish List!
Because the greatest gift of the season is being close to your loved ones. But the second greatest gift is the one you really want;)
(Please note: I am an affiliate for the products listed below, which means that if you make a purchase through one of these links I may get a small commission for recommending the product. However this doesn’t cost you anything extra and allows me to earn enough to keep this blog (and all of the free content) going strong. Thanks so much for your support!)
Gifts for the Kitchen
Cast Iron Cookware
No homestead kitchen is complete without at least one piece of cast iron cookware. If you weren’t lucky enough to inherit cast iron from you meemaw, here are a few cast iron pieces that will help you build your collection (and maybe even ensure you’ll have some timeless pieces to pass down to the future generations in your family!)
Every homestead needs at least one classic cast iron skillet. Not only does cast iron make any modern homesteader feel just a little more like Ma Ingalls from Little House On the Prairie, it’s also a healthier and all around better way to cook food!
Cast iron heats up and cooks food more evenly which helps prevent burning, and it actually adds iron, an essential nutrient, to your food. And there are no harmful chemicals that could end up in your food (which unfortunately can’t be said for non-stick pans). Plus, cast iron lasts forever and can even end up being a family heirloom that can be passed down through generations.
A dutch oven is another must on any homestead, whether modern or old-fashioned, on or off the grid. Most modern dutch ovens are made of plain cast iron or cast iron covered with enamel. They can be used to cook food on the stovetop or in the oven, making them incredibly versatile.
There’s also this Spider Dutch Oven with feet that sit above hot ashes in a fire pit or wood burning fireplace and a concave lid that allows coals to sit safely on top, making it possible to bake food over an open flame. This is especially useful for homesteaders living off-grid or to have on hand in case of an emergency.
If there’s any way to make homemade pie better, it’s with a cast iron pie pan. This cast iron pie pan ensures an evenly baked crust and a classic crimped edge for the perfect homemade pie. Add a rustic touch (and a dose of iron!) to any homemade pie!
This cast iron gift set is the ultimate Christmas gift for anyone with a penchant for old-fashioned living or healthier cooking! The set includes an 8″ skillet, 8″ lid, 8″ crock, handmade wooden trivet, stainless steel cleaning mesh, and organic seasoning paste. Perfect for a gift or as a starter set.
Small Appliances & Kitchen Gadgets
We could all use a little help in the kitchen sometimes. Consider the following gadgets and appliances a helping hand to assist you in getting from-scratch food on the table in record time!
Ah, the Instant Pot. You’ve most likely heard lots about this handy modern kitchen tool and/or have stumbled upon about a thousand different Instant Pot recipes online. But you may also be wondering if this is just another trendy new kitchen appliance that will end up buried at the back of your cupboard. That’s what I thought before I got my own Instant Pot last Christmas, but OMG, let me tell you… I use it ALL the time.
Like a couple weeks ago when I cooked short ribs for the first time and was trying to get dinner on the table at 6:00 at night when I realized they would take 4 hours to cook in the oven! Into the Instant Pot they went and were done in 45 minutes:)
Of course, I also use it for soups, stews, homemade chicken stock, chilli, pot roast, whole chickens, rice… You name it, the Instant Pot can probably cook it.
Dubbed a “multi-cooker” with a seemingly endless variety of functions, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and steamer, and has settings to cook everything from rice and porridge to soup and broth and even yogurt. You can even cook frozen chicken breasts to perfection in 10 minutes! Yes, you read that right. You don’t even need to thaw frozen meats when using the Instant Pot and you can still have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.
And if all of the amazing food you can make isn’t enough to make you want the hottest item on everyone’s Christmas list this year, you can also make infused oils, extracts, soap, salves and creams. There’s not much you can’t do with an Instant Pot, and while it won’t cook dinner for you and serve it to you at a candlelit table, it’s pretty much the next best thing.
I have to say, as much as I love my Instant Pot, there’s no kitchen appliance I use more often than my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I use it to make our yeast bread, baked goods, pizza dough, quick breads, cookie dough, brownies, and the list goes on. Plus there are an endless number of cool and useful attachments for the from-scratch home cook, including a food processor, pasta maker, spiralizer, meat grinder and many more.
I’ve lived without a food processor for years, and it sucks. Grating, julienning and slicing everything by hand is super time-consuming, and any time saved in the kitchen is the greatest gift of all for anyone who strives to make all her meals from scratch. This Breville food processor is a solid product and a workhorse that’s made to last in the kitchen. It’s also a godsend during preserving season when you’ve got 100 pounds of cucumber to slice and turn into pickles, cabbage to shred for sauerkraut and peppers and onions to dice up for homemade salsa:)
Grinding your own flour at home means you get all of the health benefits of fresh, whole grains in your home-baked goods. This Mockmill 100 stone grain mill can grind up to 100 grams of soft wheat per minute with its ceramic grinding stones and industrial motor, making it the cream of the cop when it comes to grinding your own wheat berries and ancient grains the fast and efficient way! A must for the serious home baker.
Preserving Equipment & Tools
Preserving food goes hand-in-hand with homesteading. Luckily for us modern folk, there are a few useful tools and appliances that can help put up the harvest safely and with ease. Here are the preservation tools that every homesteader needs in their kitchen in 2019.
A water bath canner is an essential tool for any homesteader, whether modern or old-fashioned. This is the perfect tool for anyone just getting started (or wanting to get started) canning fruit, sauces, jams, jellies, pickles, salsas, spreads, chutneys, juices and preserves. A must-have in any homestead kitchen!
While water bath canners are great for jams, jellies, pickles and preserves, you need a pressure canner for serious canning of vegetables, meats, soups, stews and stocks. The pressure canner at the top of pretty much every homesteader’s wish list is the All-American Pressure Canner. There’s nothing you can’t can with this baby!
It can also be used as a water bath canner, which means it’s possible to can everything from pickles and preserves to meat, seafood, vegetables and combination recipes. You can literally preserve almost the entire harvest with just this one tool!
I didn’t know how badly I needed a dehydrator in my life until I got an Excalibur dehydrator for Christmas a couple years ago. What a game changer!
Dehydrating opens up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to preserving, making it possible to make your own dried fruits, fruit leathers, dehydrated vegetables, “sun”dried tomatoes, dried herbs, powdered greens, veggie and kale chips, beef jerky, whole dried meals and even yogurt. And all you need to do is set it and forget it! No skill required:)
A Food Saver vacuum sealer is the answer to your prayers when it comes to preserving food in the freezer. The airtight sealing system helps you extend the shelf life and prevent freezer burn for everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and prepared freezer meals. A must-have for any modern homesteader who uses the grid to her advantage;)
Where would I be without my canning tools? Probably with third degree burns on my arms and a big mess on my counter. Honestly, I don’t know how people can foods without a few handy canning tools like these jar lifters, this canning scoop and this canning funnel.
My own canning tools are some of the most used items in my kitchen. I even use the scoop and funnel for other messy tasks like using the funnel to transfer dry goods into jars and using the scoop to transfer flour from the big bag into my flour canister, sans mess:)
While you can totally ferment food the old-fashioned way (with nothing more than a fermenting crock), this fermenting kit makes it fun and easy to ferment any food with ease. A great gift for any beginner or seasoned fermenter!
Indoor Growing Kits
Grow food indoors all year long with these indoor growing kits for sprouts, microgreens and mushrooms and ensure you always have a supply of fresh, healthy food to add to your home cooked meals!
This rustic, barn-wood style planter box and culinary herb growing kit makes growing herbs indoors both easy and attractive. Don’t wait for warm weather! Grow herbs in your kitchen so you’ll always have them fresh when you need them to all your home cooking.
Sprouts are thought to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods known to man since they contain all the nutrition of full grown plants compacted into tiny sprouts that can be consumed en masse. The best part? You can grow them on your counter all year long! Even better? They’re ready to eat in just a few days and you don’t even need soil!
This sprouting kit comes with everything you need to start sprouting seeds at home even if you have no experience. Also comes with a large variety of seeds and includes stackable trays that can be used to sprout many different seeds at once. Also includes wheat berries and can even be used to grow wheatgrass hydroponically!
Take your indoor growing one step further and grow some microgreens! Similar to sprouts, microgreens are simply baby seedlings that are eaten when they’re still small instead of being allowed to grow to their full size. (The difference is that sprouts are merely sprouted seeds whereas microgreens are allowed to grow into seedlings).
This microgreens starter kit has everything you need to get started growing microgreens indoors including growing trays, a selection of seeds and even the soil! Hydroponic microgreens kits are also available. Another great way to grow fresh, nutrient-packed food that’s ready to harvest in just a few days. Perfect for year-round growing indoors in any size space!
Mushrooms are a fantastic food source to start growing indoors since they don’t exactly need a lot of sunlight. I once knew of a woman who lived in a tin high rise apartment in downtown Vancouver and she grew mushrooms in her bedroom closet! And it’s not hard to see why: This oyster mushroom growing kit comes with everything you need to grow right out of the box – just add water, and you’ll be harvesting delicious mushrooms to cook with in stir fries, pasta dishes, pizza or however else you enjoy mushrooms at home!
Odds, Ends & Stocking Stuffers
Here are a few more odds, ends and items that no modern homestead kitchen should be without.
I use my wooden cooking utensils almost every day in my kitchen. Not only are they rustic and beautiful on display on my counter, they’re also all-natural and great for cooking food without fear of plastic particles or metals leeching into your food. A great stocking stuffer idea!
I LOVE my silicone oven mitts. Not only do they keep my hands safe and insulated from heat, the silicone exterior makes it easier to grip hot pans and casserole dishes without fear of them slipping out of your hands and making a big hot mess all over your kitchen. And the silicone also makes them easy to wipe clean when you get food on them and prevents burn marks. I got mine as a wedding present and have used them almost daily for almost 5 years now and they’re still just as good as new!
These glass fermentation weights make keeping fermenting foods under the brine a breeze, which helps to minimize food loss and ensure a quality finished product. These make for a fantastic stocking stuffer for any modern (or not so modern) homesteader!
There’s nothing a homesteader loves more than staring for hours on end at the pretty Mason jars of home-canned food that line her pantry shelves. But dried goods can sometimes be a bit of an eyesore in their packages, boxes and bags. The solution? Put them in this oversized Mason jar!
You can display dried goods like four, sugar, grains, dried fruits, nuts, etc. in this beauty on your countertop or tucked away in your pantry. Or you could store just about anything else in here (Lego pieces come to mind as I glance over at my living room floor… Kids.)
What homesteader doesn’t love to flip through cookbooks for hours on end? It’s even better when the recipes are all made from scratch and actually easy to make at home! The following cookbooks are a mix of the hottest sellers right now and tried and true classics bound to give you the inspiration (and instructions) you need to make from scratch cooking a breeze!
The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes For Heritage Cooking In Any Kitchen is the hottest selling homestead-themed cookbook of 2019, hands-down.
Author Jill Winger, creator of The Prairie Homestead blog and host of The Old-Fashioned On Purpose Podcast makes traditional homestead and heritage cooking easy and accessible with simple, fresh farmstead recipes like Maple Sage Breakfast Sausages, Farmer’s BreakfastHash, Homemade French Bread, Honey Whipped Carrots, Tomato Basil Galette and Fudgy Sourdough Brownies, to name but a few. This book is also loaded with lots of other great information on growing and preserving your own food. This is the cookbook that’s topping many a modern homesteader’s wish list this Christmas (including mine!)
Part cookbook, part memoir, part practical homesteading and general life advice, author Melissa K. Norris weaves together the story of her family, the wisdom passed onto her through five generations of homesteading experience and the from-scratch recipes that she’s inherited from those who came before her in her book Hand Made: The Modern Guide to Made-From-Scratch Living. Full of easy, straightforward recipes with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. You’ll find everything in his book from sourdough bread to buttermilk biscuits (the best I’ve ever had!) to homemade soap to homespun Christmas decorations and more!
If you’re a fan of Alaska: The Last Frontier, then you’ll definitely be a fan of Homestead Kitchen: Stories And Recipes From Our Hearth To Yours. Written by ATLF stars Eivin and Eve Kilcher, this is a true homesteader’s cookbook that covers everything from Essential Cooking Staples and Tools to “Cooking the Homestead Way” to homestead recipes categorized by the origins of their ingredients. There are recipes from the garden, the henhouse, the pantry, the root cellar, the milking shed, the forest and the sea, to name a few. Plus many entertaining stories and tidbits of information about the Kilcher family sprinkled throughout.
I can’t say enough good things about The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I call it my “canning bible” since it’s my go-to guide for canning everything under the sun. This book contains 400 canning recipes and complete step-by-step instructions for water bath and pressure canning so even a total newbie can’t go wrong. Another must-have kitchen “tool” for every modern homesteader.
Gifts for the Garden (and Barn)
The Hori Hori garden tool is a multipurpose tool that can be used for everything from digging to trenching, planting, cutting, and even opening your beer after a long day working in the garden;) Hori Hori, which translates to “dig dig” in Japanese, is considered one of the best all-around garden tools of 2019. And, of course, it’s a Japanese-made knife, which means it’s built to last.
Fashionable and functional, this canvas garden apron has 6 large and medium pockets to hold seed packets, tools, gloves, your phone and anything else you might need out in the garden.
As an avid gardener, I know how painful it can be to be on your knees on the dirt all the time. That’s why this fold-out canvas garden tool stool is a dream come true for gardeners of all ages! Not only does it offer you a place to sit comfortably anywhere in your garden, it also has eight large pockets to keep all of your tools and gardening gear close at hand.
These beautiful and functional garden scissors make a perfect stocking stuffer for homesteaders and gardeners. Not only will they be well used come spring when it’s time to start snipping herbs and cutting twine, these stainless steel scissors with bamboo handles packaged in a reusable wooden box make this a gorgeous gift set that would pair well with a pair of quality gardening gloves.
A garden journal is the perfect gift for homesteaders who love to get their goals and dreams down on paper, record their results and stay organized. This month-by-month guided journal helps to ensure you make the most of your garden by helping you plan your garden calendar all year long so you never miss an important task or date. There’s also space to write, doodle, plan and dream and to record your harvest, yield, seeds, crop rotation cycle and more to give you an advantage the following season too!
An egg gathering apron is a must for every chicken farmer! (Yup, even the dudes;) Not only does it make gathering eggs easy and helps to ensure they don’t crack and break, it looks super cute too! Another fun and functional gift that makes homestead life just that much better:)
Gifts for the Home
Essential oils have changed my life in so many ways. They’re a key ingredient almost every homemade product I make, from candles and room sprays to body butters and salves to homemade cleaners and bath products. And they’ve become an integral part of my journey to creating an all-natural home and medicine cabinet.
There’s an essential oil for just about everything, from illnesses and injuries to stress and anxiety to helping you focus and easing fatigue. Plus they’re an all-natural, synthetic chemical free way to make your home smell ah-mazing. Essential oils are the perfect gift for anyone, and they’re a sure hit with homesteaders everywhere.
Every essential oil enthusiast must have a diffuser. Diffusing essential oils is one of the most common ways to enjoy them and reap their health benefits and their beautiful aromas.
I currently own two diffusers and have a goal of someday having one in every room! I love using them to make my house smell amazing with just a little water and a few drops of essential oils rather than using synthetic fragrances. I especially love that I can diffuse relaxing oils like lavender in my daughter’s bedroom at night to help her sleep or I can add oils that help ease symptoms of illness that the whole family can benefit from when we’re under the weather.
Anyone with a wood stove needs one of these eco-fans! It helps to heat your living space by blowing warm air throughout your home, and it’s powered by the heat of the wood stove itself. Just set it on top of your wood stove, light a fire and enjoy the toasty warmth!
Nothing says “pioneer” like a good ol’ fashioned oil lamp. Not only does it complete the look of a vintage farmhouse, it’s also backup lighting for if and when the power goes out. Pick up a used one from your local second hand store or order new online (Yes! They actually still make these!)
There’s just something about line drying your clothes that harkens back to a simpler time. Not to mention, hanging clothes to dry helps to preserve them longer and saves money and energy. You can hang your clothes to dry inside or out with this adjustable 16-arm dryer that folds up completely and was designed for use in any size space. Great for the apartment homesteader who still wants the benefits of hanging clothes to dry!
Soap nuts naturally produce saponin: a biodegradable, hypoallergenic and extremely effective detergent. A great stocking stuffer or companion gift for the drying rack!
Handcrafted in the USA, this cast iron skillet clock is the perfect cute but functional piece of decor for any homestead kitchen, old or new!
Handmade Gifts From The Heart
Every modern homesteader appreciates the art of the handmade gift as much (if not more than) store-bought gifts. Here are some quick and easy QUALITY handmade gifts you can make at home for yourself and for the people on your list, whether they’re homesteaders or not!
- Homemade Soy Candles with Essential Oils
- Christmas Room Sprays with Essential Oils
- Homemade Whipped Body Butter
- DIY Hair Pomade with Rosemary Essential Oil
- Peppermint Sugar Scrub
- DIY Bath Salts with Essential Oils
- DIY Cookie Cutter Birdseed Ornaments
And as always, if you have anything you think should be added to the list, let me know in the comments below!
Wishing you a homemade, homegrown, homestead Christmas 🙂
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* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure. When we first started growing jalapeños, we did so with the intention of using them to make homemade salsa. We figured we’d be lucky to get enough jalapeños to...