Many items we use every day in the kitchen are powered by electricity, but if you’re looking for green alternatives that are powerless, you won’t have to go very far. You might already have a few of these kitchen gadgets, or can pick them up in any kitchen store or online. No power required, but lots of tasty dishes to be created with your own hands and just a few tools.
1. Manual Mixer or Beater
While most mixers are electric, manual mixers are operated by a handle alone. While most of them are called an “egg beater” or “egg mixer,” these can be used to beat and whip any dish. The crank or manual handle is all it needs to turn the beaters. Doing so manually takes a bit more time and a lot more arm work, but runs without using any power whatsoever.
2. French Press
If you’re a coffee drinker, a French press uses hot water and coffee grounds to brew coffee in just a few minutes. The only work required would be boiling the water in your tea kettle first, and grinding the beans in your manual grinder. Just a few minutes in the press and—viola! You'll have fresh, delicious coffee.
3. Grinder or Mortar and Pestle
A manual, hand-cranking grinder is easy to use and can crush or grind just about anything. You can get hand-crank grinders for coffee, meat, or just about anything else. For small things like seeds, herbs, beans, and corn, a mortar and pestle works without much fuss—just a lot of hand crushing.
4. Can Opener
Manual, handheld can openers are super easy to use. All you do is attach it to the side of the can, press down, and turn the crank handle. Go all the way around the edge of the can with the opener and the next thing you know, it’s all the way open.
5. Apple Slicer
Have you ever used an apple slicer? They’re pretty nifty! No need to peel the apple unless you prefer it without the skin. Simply place the metal circle in the middle of the apple slicer over the center of the apple and push down, all the way through the apple. Be careful of the sharp edge on the bottom of the apple slicer as you’re trying to push through the bottom of the apple. The circle should cut the apple core away, and all you’ll have left are neat little snack-sized apple slices.
6. Mandoline Slicer
These slicers are handy to have around the house for making quick healthy dishes, and they require zero power. They have a raised blade which slices any fruit or vegetable that is pushed along its surface with the handle. Mandoline slicers can also be used to slice eggs, meat, and cheese. Many styles come with multiple blades that can be replaced when one gets dull.
Vegetable peelers will peel just about anything and get rid of a fruit or vegetable skin in a jiffy. From apples to eggplants, cucumbers, carrots and mangoes—a peeler is a handy gadget for preparing any fruit or vegetable dish. Push down and away from you in long swipes to remove the skin, then slice or chop any of these fruits or vegetables with a paring knife.
8. Pineapple Corer
A pineapple corer is very similar to an apple slicer and prepares fresh pineapple in a flash. You simply cut the ends off the pineapple, then use the corer to push through the pineapple in a spiral motion. After that, you’re left with one large, spiral piece of pineapple.
9. Tea Kettle
A tea kettle doesn’t require any power at all, just a heat source in order to boil the water. This can be done on a grill, over a fire, or whatever you may be using to cook. Set the kettle over the heat source on a grate or grill and the water will heat up, just as it would on any stove. Be careful not to touch any metal parts of the kettle with your hands, and to have potholders nearby to lift it off the heat source if there’s no plastic to grab onto. Prevent all burns, if possible.