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Tools of the trade for making dog food

Since I committed myself to making dog food for my pooches nearly five years ago, I’ve been asked a lot of questions, not just about my recipe and its vitamin formulations, but about the kitchen tools and techniques I use. And while you can conjure up any of the recipes we’ve written about using the simplest of tools, it helps to have gadgets that make meal preparation easier and foolproof if you want to cook pet food on a regular basis. Obviously, all of my selections have double duty and are also used in meal preparation for the bipeds.

Remember, you really don’t need any of these products – other than the digital scale, of course – to make delicious, nutritious dog food. The most important steps are to learn how to prepare complete and balanced meals for your dog and to allow time to prepare these meals for your dog.

Here is a list of the utensils, tools, and implements that I have found to be the most helpful and reliable on this trip.

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Food preparation

Food processor Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12 Cup Food Processor
For the first step in making dog food, I coarsely cut the raw vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and fruits like apples into large pieces and then put them in the food processor to keep dicing. This Breville model has a nice large chute feed that makes this step easier. For the other vegetables like green beans and Brussels sprouts etc they can be put in the whole processor to be finely processed too. When you have all of these ingredients in small, neat pieces, mixing them together is much easier and is much easier for the dogs to digest.

I also use the food processor in the final step of making dog food when I combine the vegetables and grain ingredients with the meat protein to make sure everything is well mixed together.

meat grinder Panasonic MK-G20NR
While this meat grinder is typically used for a lot of raw foods, a lightly cooked automatic feeder, it is also useful when you want to save money by buying larger cuts of meat like beef and lamb. Using ground beef also saves prep time, and since store-bought ground beef can be very suspicious of food-borne bacteria, etc., you can grind the meat yourself to be on the safe side. Most of the contamination is on meat surfaces. It is therefore best to first fry the meat with a vegetable oil before grinding it. Internal muscle meat is practically sterile, as explained to us by a food safety expert.

Mortar and pestle Fox Run Marble Among the myriad of uses for your kitchen, I rely on my mortar and pestle to pick up some of the vitamins in the recipe, such as: B. the multivitamins to grind.

Digital scales Escali Primo A digital scale is not only used to measure ingredients for the preparation of meals, but can also be invaluable for accurately determining portion sizes every time. All kitchens need a digital scale!

Nutri Bullet or a Nutri-Bullet 900 high speed mixer / blender
I use my Nutri Ball to grind seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and flax – and to make great smoothies for the dogs and myself.

Cooking appliances

Since I usually make 16 pounds of dog food at a time, I usually use larger appliances like an 8-liter electric pressure cooker and a 7-liter slow cooker (also known as a crock pot). I mostly use the pressure cooker for faster cooking, and while it can act as a slow cooker too, I find a large oval slow cooker to be more convenient, especially for stirring, to mix all of the vegetable and grain ingredients together.

Electric pressure cooker Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, 8 Qt.
Truly an invaluable everyday kitchen tool. It can make oh so many recipes, including broth and bone broth, quick and easy. And you can prepare chicken breasts in just 12 minutes! This model also has a function for making yogurt.

Slow cooker All Clad Slow Cooker 7 Qt Gourmet Slow Cooker with all-in-one browning
One of the best things about this slow cooker is its versatility – the inner pot can be used on the stove as well as in the stovetop for browning – and while this feature is not typically used in making dog food, it is invaluable in making other products Worth meals like soups and stews. It also has a steamer function which is very convenient. I use the “low” cook function to lightly cook the vegetables before mixing them with the meat protein in the final step (see food processor). The glass lid makes it easier to hold tabs.

Under vacuum Instant Accu Slim Sous Vide from Instant Pot
I ran a Kenji Lopez-Alt experiment that compared different cooking methods for skin and boneless chicken breast shrinkage (one of the main proteins I use in my dog ​​food). I found that using a sous vide resulted in far less shrinkage. A chicken breast that produces wonderful broth cooked in a pressure cooker (which is also used in the recipe) can lose weight by 45% (or more) and in a slow cooker by 35%, but only 20% (or less). with a sous vide. If the ingredients list requires 7 pounds of chicken (as requested in my recipe for chicken / veggies) it means you may need to purchase more than 12 pounds of chicken (or more) to achieve this goal, depending on the method you used. More chicken means a higher cost per serving. The other main benefit of sous vide cooking is that it uses much less heat (albeit a longer cooking time) to cook food so that more vitamins and nutrients are retained. This sous vide diving circulator is one of the cheapest entry-level models and has worked well for me.

Silicone sous vide bags Platinum Pure – Large Reusable Sous Vide Bags
One of the environmental drawbacks of the sous vide method is that you cook the food in a plastic bag (dipped in water) so you can go through many bags in the process. Better to use reusable bags like this one made of silicone.

Food storage

Glasses Weck glasses
These beautifully designed wide mouth jars are great for a variety of tasks such as food preservation. But they can also be used to freeze items like chicken broth or even the dog food itself. Its wide opening makes it much easier to pour in and out the food. It is recommended that the plastic lids (sold separately) be used instead of the glass lids when using the jars in a freezer. I also use these lovely jars to make yogurt and to store my sourdough starter and they even make a good flower vase!

Vacuum sealing FoodSaver FM2000 vacuum sealer
When the freezer space in your kitchen is tight, you can use this handy device to store the food. This vacuum sealer is simple, reliable, and actually fun.

BPA freezer container Cubeware 15-Pack Snap-Seal Bento Box, Meal Preparation Container (28 oz, BPA-Free) Or use a size that allows you to store 3 to 4 days worth of dog food at the same time.

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