The kitchen is at once a place of sustenance and a lab for fun and entertainment. If you have already baked infinite loaves of sourdough bread or have fallen into a kitchen experimentation rut, you might be looking for a new kitchen project.
Here are 8 kitchen projects that we have tried and enjoyed, and the tools that you need to do them.
Homemade butter is delicious and fun to make. It can be used to spread on fresh bread, or in a variety of ways in home cooking. This kitchen experiment requires minimal materials: just some heavy cream and a jar to shake it up in. Making butter is also fun to try with kids. Here’s how to make homemade butter.
Almond milk is easy to make and has many uses in the kitchen. Plus, once you have made almond milk, you have the pulp that can be used in baking projects — yet another cooking project for your enjoyment — as well as some homemade beauty products like face scrub. In terms of tools, all you need is a blender, cheesecloth and a receptacle to soak your nuts and catch your freshly squeezed almond juice. Here’s how to make almond milk in your own home kitchen.
Whipped coffee, also known as dalgona coffee, was a viral social media trend at the beginning of the pandemic. Even though it isn’t as hot as it once was, whipped coffee is a fun thing to make that only requires some instant coffee, a hand mixer (you can try to whip it without one, but it is much more physically taxing), sugar, milk and ice. It might give you the boost that you need. Here’s how to make whipped coffee.
Cheese is a satisfying and hands-on home kitchen project. In addition to milk, you will need citric acid and rennet, which may seem inscrutable at first glance, but are really available at stores like Central Street Farmhouse, most health food stores and some big box stores. In terms of tools, you just need a pot, some gloves to protect your hands from the heat (not required, but helpful) and a strainer or cheesecloth. Here’s how to make mozzarella cheese, which is one of the easiest cheeses to craft for beginners, in your home kitchen.
Making nut butter is an easy and quick way to supplement a tasty pantry staple — or find an alternative for your nut-sensitive cohabitants. You can make a classic like peanut butter or almond butter, but you can also experiment with more exotic nuts like cashews and pistachios, or even nut alternatives like sunflower seeds and pepitas. All you need is a food processor and a bulk quantity of nuts or whatever you are trying to make into a spread. Here are the basics of how to make nut (and seed) butter at home.
Making a sweet batch of jam is a scrumptious way to use produce creatively and preserve it after its peak harvest. Use your homegrown harvest, or whatever you can afford in bulk. Water bath canning is probably easiest for beginners to get started and doesn’t require the same upfront cost as purchasing a pressure canner that is needed to preserve low-acid foods. Still, If it is your first time water bath canning, you will need to purchase some equipment, including canning jars and lids, a large pot, tongs to pick up the cans and a tool to measure headspace on the cans (in many cases, you can purchase sets from Ball or other canning equipment suppliers that have everything you need). Here is how to make and can onion jam, a delicious fall treat that can be used in a number of savory dishes.
Smoking meat is a delicious way to preserve meat — besides, who doesn’t love homemade bacon? Smoking meat may require a little more upfront cost than many other kitchen experiments. Ideally, you will need a smokehouse or a smoker, but you can even use your oven or a gas grill if you are willing to be a little creative and put up with the smell and smoke. Here is how to smoke bacon, but you can also find another smoked meat (or vegetables, or tofu) recipe that you like and give it a shot once you master the basics.
If you have a lot of meat from a local farm or from hunting, making sausage is a great way to experiment in the kitchen. This one also requires a little more upfront cost because will need the apparatus to create sausage (you can also get an attachment for your food processor to do this) as well as the casings. Once you master the basics, you can even experiment with different, more vegetable-heavy blends of sausage, full of goodies like beets and broccoli. Here are the basics of how to make sausage.