There are many reasons to turn to an off-grid lifestyle, and many choose an off-grid lifestyle because it can save you a lot of money. Other people are interested in living a more sustainable life or appreciate the idea of being closer to nature. However, many questions arise when it comes to thinking about off-grid food. Will you be hunting or growing food, or is that something that you haven’t considered? It’s important to think about these questions before going off grid.
Believe it or not, human beings were able to preserve food before they invented electricity. There are various methods to preserve your off-grid food, but these techniques depend on the food in question and whether you have access to specific products, materials, or natural resources. Some preservation and storage methods also last longer than others and will only work if you plan to preserve your off-grid food for a specific amount of time.
Many families that live off the grid have decided to grow their own food, as well. However, preserving your food is something that must be considered since the growing season may vary depending on the climate and your access to resources.
There are a variety of ways to preserve your food; if you are serious about understanding how to store and preserve food off the grid, you might want to keep reading. Here are some off grid food preservation tips to think about.
If you are hoping to figure out a way to preserve off grid food like vegetables, you might want to consider fermentation.
Fermentation is quite popular, and it’s the process by which you get sauerkraut (by fermenting cabbage). Other vegetables that are commonly fermented are carrots, garlic, radishes, and more. One huge bonus when it comes to fermentation? You will get some probiotics! For those who don’t know, there are a range of health benefits when it comes to consuming food containing probiotics. Specifically, probiotics can help your digestive system, keep your heart healthy, and more.
Fermentation isn’t that complicated to achieve.
First, you should be placing the vegetables in a mason jar and leaving some space at the top (around an inch). Next, you should stir about a ½ tablespoon of salt into about a quart of water, then pour the water over the vegetables in the jar. If you aren’t the biggest fan of glass jars, one can also use ceramic crocks to ferment food.
If you are choosing mason jars that are larger than a quart, remember to add 1-3 tablespoons of salt per quart. Let the mason jars sit for one or two weeks in a place where there isn’t much sunlight, and remember to open the lid at least once a day. This will help the carbon dioxide that is released thanks to the fermentation process to escape the jar. Some individuals or families might prefer to season the vegetables according to their preference before the fermentation process.
One of the best ways to preserve off grid food is to can the food. If you are interested in canning food, you will need to have glass jars, rings, and lids. One important thing to remember is that most lids cannot be reused, so you will want to store extra lids at all times. Some companies do offer reusable lids now, but they tend to cost more.
If you plan on canning off grid food in the long-term, this is a worthwhile investment. The rings, however, can be reused. Many people turn to canning whether they are thinking about off-grid food or not. You might even have friends that can jellies, jams, and fruits, and are not interested in food preservation techniques at all.
Canning is simple: you place food in cans or jars and heat them to a point that destroys any microbes that could potentially spoil the food. Canning works for a lot more than meat – it works for vegetables, soups, or even milk. You should examine the food before you think about canning off grid food, as well, because different foods have different sterilization temperatures.
Canning can be done over an electric stove or a propane stove. One of the best aspects about canning your off-grid food is that it can be stored for several years. This is essential for families that hope to store food for a long time, and it’s easy to see how this method of preserving off-grid food can prove useful during a cold and harsh winter.
If you are confused about what can be canned – there’s a simple way to remember what off grid food can be canned: anything that you have seen canned in a supermarket can be canned at home. It’s about much more than meats, vegetables and soups – stews, beans, chili, and fruits can be canned, as well. Even though they can remain preserved for years, it is best to consume canned food within the first year.
One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to canning food is the fact that botulism can spread. Botulism is a serious illness that can actually lead to death or paralysis. Botulism can spread through contaminated food, so being careful during the canning process is crucial.
A Root Cellar
If you are serious about food preservation, you might also consider building a root cellar. For eons before refrigeration, and even still today, root cellars have been used in food preservation. They are usually underground with no light and cement or stone walls to keep the environment cool and dark. Many families use them to store off-grid food like vegetables, nuts, fruits, and more. Some of them are only partially underground, as well.
One of the best things about a root cellar is that they work for food preservation year-round. Specifically, you can store food in a root cellar during hot summer months to make sure that your food doesn’t spoil. Also, a root cellar comes in handy during winter months since you can store food at above-freezing temperatures. Of course, creating a root cellar takes a significant amount of time, work, and energy.