One thing that the COVID-19 global pandemic has taught us is that you can never be too safe in keeping enough food supplies available for you and your family to safely shelter in place.
Disruptions to the food supply chain accounted for many families’ feelings of panic over their own food supply. While the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent panic are both thankfully receding, many of you may be asking, how do I guard against food disruption and make sure I have an adequate supply going forward? As part of a protection plan to guard against instances such as these you want to have enough food on hand to support you and yours long enough to see you through situations exactly like this.
This means you must have enough refrigerator and especially freezer space to accommodate this supply. COVID-19 served as a reality check for most of us in planning and organizing food storage through weeks, if not months, of the unexpected. Many of us found – especially those of us who live off grid – that we do not have enough refrigerator or freezer storage to accommodate our needs for a larger supply of food.
Be it inclement weather, family emergencies, a global pandemic, or other unforeseen issues; by accounting for your family’s food needs and planning ahead you put yourself into a position of power. At the very least, by having a supply of food easily accessible, you and your family will have peace of mind, allowing you to ride out any calamity and need to shelter in place. This will buy you time to get your bearings and initiate additional courses of action as needed. While you might not need to guard against long term shortages, it makes good sense to prepare enough for your family’s needs until you can easily resupply. There were regions during the shortages that were additionally hit with failing power and floods further adding to the uncertainty.
As part of your family’s off grid food storage plan, let’s explore options on how you can set yourself up for security and success.
Off Grid Cold Food Storage
Living off grid (without power) poses many issues that need solving including cold food storage. Some people choose to use an ice house. Ice houses are well insulated single room sheds that store ice blocks harvested during the winter for a homestead and with ice lasting until June or July. Not only is that a great deal of work, most of us still need cold food after the ice melts! Also, many of us don’t want or need such a large amount of cold storage. Thankfully there are quite a few options for cold food storage other than the old ice house. Today’s off grid cold storage options are much more reliable, technologically advanced and space saving.
If you are living off grid or have a cabin without power, there is no better refrigeration option than a propane refrigerator. Nowadays gas fridges are made in large sizes which is great if you’re looking to store up a supply of food. Propane refrigerators are quite easy to set up and very reliable. Setting up a propane fridge consists of hooking your fridge up to a propane tank and lighting it. That’s it. Propane refrigerators are the longest lasting refrigeration option especially when compared to a traditional compressor fridge. There are no moving parts on a propane fridge making them exceptionally durable. Also, any maintenance or parts replacement is remarkably simple to complete, even for the least mechanical person. We tell everyone, if you have access to propane, buy a propane refrigerator, you won’t regret it.
Our propane refrigerator recommendation: EZ Freeze 21 Cubic Foot >>
Propane freezers are another excellent way to store a large amount of food to prepare for something like COVID-19. Like a propane refrigerator, propane freezers are also easy to set up and exceptionally reliable. These freezers keep all food at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit and have a great recovery time. They have no problem freezing items from room temperature. A 22 cubic foot propane freezer is large enough to fit a whole steer or elk! For off grid frozen food storage, your best option will always be a propane freezer.
Our propane freezer recommendation: EZ Freeze Blizzard 22 Cubic Foot
Solar Refrigerators (DC Powered Refrigerators)
Solar refrigerators and freezers are an off grid refrigeration option with the ability to run on battery power produced by solar panels. The beauty of a DC/Solar fridge is that it does not require you to be reliant on any other power or fuel source other than the sun. The efficiency of a solar refrigerator allows you to store fresh meat and produce for later use. The draw back of a solar refrigerator or freezer is that you need sun, batteries and solar panels for these to work. Maintaining batteries can get wearisome and replacing them is expensive. However, for many living off grid, solar powered fridges and freezers are a great option.
The largest and best DC Solar Refrigerator: Sunstar 16 Cubic Foot Refrigerator/Freezer
The best DC Solar Chest Freezer: 21 Cubic foot DC Solar Chest Freezer
Fresh Off Grid Food Options
If you have the means to establish fresh resources on your property such as laying hens, livestock, honey bees, a vegetable garden, fruit trees, nut trees, and/or feed crops to support your homestead to any degree will further alleviate stress or food insecurity for your family.
Hunting and food foraging locally is another great way to source food for your family. Many states offer over-the-counter hunting tags for small game and even for larger game like deer or elk. Being cognizant of your local laws and regulations, even during times of crisis, ensures that you can safely obtain resources. Educating yourself so that you are well versed in edible plants in your region goes a long way towards rounding out your off grid food planning and identifying resources for you and your family.
Best Food For Off Grid Living Storage
While ideally maximizing your fresh food options is the most ideal; even our seasons dictate that we must account for leaner months throughout the year. Add in the unexpected events of inclement weather, failed crops or unforeseen global events and it’s always a good idea to have food preservation options so that you can be as prepared as possible. Here are a few ideas on what foods to keep on hand in your food reserves.
Off grid food preservation
There are a variety of food preservation methods that can be done at home. Here is our short list of some of the food preservation methods that you can learn so you can DIY to extend your food reserves at home.
Preserving food with:
- Alcohol preserving
- Lactic Fermentation
Other techniques to preserve food:
- Air Drying (herbs/spices/onions/garlic)
- Dehydrating (jerky/fruit/veggies)
- Water glassing
There is a wealth of knowledge to be had by joining some local food preservation organizations online or in your community!
Off grid food storage
Dry goods and commercially canned goods can be stored on shelves anywhere you have available space – in the garage, a spare room, a closet or even under the bed.
For storage of cool foods, find a cooler space in the home to store them like a cellar or a basement. Potatoes, onions, turnips, etc. store well in dark and cool spaces. Off grid refrigerators and freezers can store milk, meat, cheese and other perishable items.
A Little Bit About Off Grid Food Preparation
Aside from eating canned or dried foods, should you actually want to cook your food; your off grid options are often limited to the grill or an open campfire. However, let’s explore additional off grid range and ovens.
Off grid oven/stove
Battery spark propane cooktops and ovens are the best option for cooking off the grid. Unlike a traditional gas oven, these require no electricity to function. Traditional gas ovens purchased at a big box retailer like Home Depot still need to be plugged in to use the oven due to the glowbar. This is why they still come with a plug. However, a battery spark stove needs absolutely no power to function. The burners and oven can be lit with a match if there are no batteries available.
The best off grid oven/stove: Peerless Premier 30” Battery Spark Range
As a consequence of not having off grid food preservation, supply or storage, the panic and fear of the coronavirus has fully illustrated to many of us that we could be ill prepared to navigate uncertainty in our food supply. Being at the mercy of poorly functioning supply lines, increasing demand, panic buyers, power outages and restricted travel is not the time to discover that you don’t have enough of the basic necessities for survival.
We hope that this guide serves you and your family well in identifying opportunities that you can maximize for ensuring that you weather the unforeseen easily and comfortably.
Please contact us should you have any questions on any of our off grid cold food storage options or our off grid ovens, stoves or cook tops. Also, check out our gas lamps, solar powered air conditioning, and solar-friendly dc powered ceiling fans to ride out any sheltering in place event in further comfort.