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Living without a Refrigerator – It Can Be Done!

 
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This is not my article but thought it would fit nicely in this Forum. I've been living #Vanlife without a fridge or A/C for 5 going on my 6th yr now. I basically eat a diet of many different sandwiches, canned beans, taters, veggies, tuna, salmon, meats and noodles, lots of spices & herbs & hot sauce, lets also not forget the peanut butter. ツ I do eggs many different ways(eating a dozen up within a week to 10days at most) and Ive only broke open 5 rotted eggs in that whole 5+yrs. For drinks Ive been only drinking water, coffee(black), many different teas, lemon juice & water, along with some other pre-packaged juices. Ive also been starting to eat alot of wild edible weeds & plants(after research) as a salad. Anyways there is alot more that I could write on the subject of #Vanlife without a fridge, BUT it can be done... I am proof! ツ

Okay on with this great article -->>
Living without a Refrigerator – It Can Be Done!

One of the primary scenarios many preppers prepare for is the loss of the electrical grid. Without electricity life as we know it is not possible and one of the appliances we rely on heavily to keep our food good would simply not work anymore. I’m talking about the refrigerator, that appliance that keeps our food fresher longer so we can shop once a week and happily eat the food we have, knowing we won’t die of some terrible foodborne illness.

So what would you do if you had no refrigerator? Could you survive? Of course, you could! Human beings lived for millennia without refrigeration. The difference between them and us is that they knew how to:

   Store food they weren’t eating
   Not cook more than they needed at any given meal
   Preserve food so it keeps for the long-term (which is required in regions where winter visits once a year)

Many people are even choosing to live without refrigeration now, prior to any collapse of the grid or society, simply because they want to cut their dependence on the grid and/or lower their energy costs. However, if you are going to live without the use of a fridge, then you need to know what you are doing.  Different foods have different storage requirements and you will need to change the way you shop and the way you prepare meals if you are living without a fridge. First, let’s take a look at different foods and how to store them without refrigeration. Then we will cover some other basic tips.

Foods and How to Store Them

There are certain foods that need refrigeration and there are foods that we think need refrigeration. In fact, you might be surprised at what foods will keep well out of the fridge, and no, I’m not talking about that cold soda or beer. Here are some food-storage rules you need to know.

Fruit


fruitbowl living without a refrigerator Most fruit can store just fine on the counter. However, the shelf-life of fruit without refrigeration varies, depending on the type of fruit. Fruit with thicker skins, such as oranges and apples, are generally good for around a month. Pears will last up to 2 weeks. Bananas don’t last as long. Just a couple days to ripen and then you need to eat them up before they get too ripe.

Pineapples and mangoes should be eaten within 24 hours of ripening, which usually takes 3-4 days. The one type of fruit that definitely does not last long without refrigeration is berries, which should be consumed within 24 hours of purchase or harvest.

Vegetables


vegetables-variety living without a refrigerator Vegetables are easier than fruit to store without refrigeration. There are quite a few vegetables that can be stored for up to a week on the counter if placed standing with the cut end in water, including:

   Lettuce
   Celery
   Broccoli
   Kale, cauliflower, cabbage, or any of the brassica family
   Herbs

Here is a list of other vegetables and how long they will last without refrigeration:

   Potatoes (1-2 months)
   Onion (1-2 months)
   Sweet potatoes (1-2 months)
   Garlic (1 month)
   Tomatoes (up to 1 week if ripe, up to 2 weeks if green)
   Summer squash, such as zucchini (2 weeks)
   Winter squash, such as butternut and acorn (1 month)
   Peppers (1-2 weeks)
   Eggplant (1 week)
   Turnips and beets (3-4 weeks)
   Carrots (2 weeks)

The most important thing to remember is that all produce, including fruit and vegetables, should remain unwashed and must never have been refrigerated. Washing can cause produce to spoil more quickly because it makes it easier for bacteria to get to it. Previous refrigeration can cause condensation to form on the food, attracting mold and bacteria.

Eggs

Eggs are something that we tend to put in the fridge, but they don’t actually need refrigeration. Eggs can sit on the counter for a week and be just fine, provided they haven’t been previously refrigerated (for the same reason as produce) or washed. If you wash the eggs, you will remove the natural antibacterial coating on the eggs, which is called bloom. If there is a lot of dirt, then use a cleaning pad to cleanse the shell. If water is required, then use cool water and no soap.

There are also a number of preservation methods that you can use that will allow eggs to keep longer than a week. If you have a root cellar or basement, that is a good start. You can also coat the eggs in something non-toxic that will seal the pores and keep oxygen out. Traditionally, people have submersed them in a solution of liquid sodium silicate or have coated them in lard or shortening.

Dairy

This is where having no refrigeration starts to become challenging. Let’s begin with butter and cheese. Salted butter can actually keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 weeks, although if you have a cooler place, such as a cool basement or cellar, that would help extend the shelf-life. The same can be said for a number of different cheeses, particularly hard cheeses.

When it comes to milk, it just has to be refrigerated. If you can do without milk, that’s great. If you use it in small quantities for cooking, then buy it and use it the same day. If you need more milk, then the best thing is to use powdered milk or canned or other milk that is packaged for shelf-storage.

Meat

Meat is the other difficulty when it comes to no refrigeration. Fresh meat will not keep without it. Period. If you eat meat, then you must cook it the same day you buy it. For short periods of time (within 24 hours) you can keep it in a cooler.  You can also purchase canned meat or dried meat, which will store for long periods of time.

Condiments

The final thing we usually keep in the fridge is condiments, but we actually don’t need to. Condiments can keep just fine if stored without refrigeration. Jams, jellies, and maple syrup will keep between 2-4 weeks. Peanut butter does much better, with a shelf-life of months. When it comes to honey, it has an indefinite shelf-life, although it might crystalize.



Ketchup, relish, mustard, and anything pickled will last for a number of months without refrigeration. Surprisingly, even mayonnaise will last indefinitely, but only if no bacteria gets into the container. As long as you take care to use a clean spoon each time you use the mayonnaise or buy it in a squeeze bottle, you will be fine.

Now that you have a good idea of what foods you can store without refrigeration and for how long, there are a few other things you should know about living without a fridge. Here are some final tips to take away with you.
Leftovers

This might be the most difficult to deal with – no leftovers! Without a fridge, you won’t be storing leftovers for a few days so you can eat them later in the week. You won’t be making that mammoth batch of soup to eat for lunch all week. When living without refrigeration, you will need to cook smaller meals that will be eaten then and there. If you happen to have anything left over, you need to it within 24 hours.

Find Other Storage Methods

You aren’t limited just to counter storage if you don’t have refrigeration. There are a number of ways you can store food to help it keep cool without using a fridge. Here are some suggestions:

   Root cellar/basement: This was mentioned above and it provides a great place to store produce and preserves when you have no fridge.
   Evaporating cooler: Use a cistern or screened enclosure in which to store your food and then cover with damp cloths. The evaporation from the cloths will help keep it cool inside, but you can only do this if you live somewhere that does not experience high humidity.
   A Zeer pot: A Zeer pot is simply another form of evaporative cooling. Two terracotta pots, one smaller than the other, are used. Put the smaller pot inside the lager pot and fill the space between them with wet sand. Cover it with a damp cloth and re-dampen the cloth and the sand when required.
   Don’t harvest: If you grow your own food and it will keep just fine in the ground or on the plant, then leave it there until you are going to use it.

Shop Daily

Do what the Europeans do and shop for your meat and produce daily. This way, you will use what you buy in the same day and you won’t have much to store. It certainly keeps things simple.
Buy from the Farmer

Farmers-Market Living without a refrigerator  Purchase your produce, eggs, and meat (when possible) directly from the farmer, either at the farm or a farmer’s market. That way you can ensure the food has been not been previously washed or refrigerated and you know how it was grown/raised. This gives you more control over the food you buy.

At the end of the day, a refrigerator is a convenience, one that we have come to depend on so deeply that it feels like a need. However, a fridge is an energy guzzler that we can live without, if we are willing to change our shopping and eating habits and make some adjustments. Give it a try and you might find you like it.

article source  --  http://askaprepper.com/living-without-refrigerator-can-done/
 
pollinator
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While I get where they are coming from, most of this still relies on someone else having refrigeration. To my mind, that doesn't count. Shopping everyday would be much more of an energy hog for me than a refrigerator.
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote: Shopping everyday would be much more of an energy hog for me than a refrigerator.



Amen to that. Daily shopping for perishables, as the Europeans often do, simply off-loads the energy & infrastructure demand onto the supply chain.  Part of the reason that household refrigerators are such a useful tool in our modern "convenience" lifestyle is that we are responsible for both the energy consumption and the maintenance of that infrastructure ourselves.  This is a very "prepper" thing to do, and also has a lot to do with why our refrigerators are so much larger than European household refrigerators as well. And while a larger refrigerator does take more power to maintain safe temperatures, on a per volume basis they are much more energy efficient than those little dorm style refrigerators that are so much more common across the pond.

I get it, I really do.  The van life pretty much requires these kinds of compromises, the salt life even more so.  One of the ways of avoiding refrigeration, used historically in the US and is still common to this day, is canning,  Including the canning of meats and butter, the two main justifications for the icebox before it was powered.  Not every American household had an icebox with regular ice deliveries, obviously; so the lower middle income households had to do it some other way.  However, industrial canning is an energy intensive process as well; largely off-loading the energy cost to the food supply chain.  Granted, canned goods store for a *long* time; and have their place in just about any household pantry.  But, if we were to compare locally produced butter to that of canned butter, shipped from far away; I suspect that the embedded energy cost of that can of butter would be higher than spending two weeks in a typical refrigerator.

My criticisms aside, that chart of condiment shelf lives is useful data.  

The typical household only has two or three levels of refrigeration (refrigerator at 36 degrees, freezer at 0 degrees, and maybe a deep freezer at -20 degrees), but it's entirely reasonable that a small refrigerator set to 50-60 degrees just for the condiments would come out ahead, on an energy-per-volume basis.  I've seen really small refrigerators, that resemble large drawers, that would be perfect for this use.
 
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The lowest fridge consumption is of those that have top doors. Cool air is not lost every time the doors are opened. Fridge drawers are a second best, keeping most cool air inside the drawer when the door is opened.

I agree the fridge is a convenience that saves energy, considering the supply chain. But what if electricity or fridge fabrication fail for good? It's good to have a plan B and know how to do it.
Traditionally, fresh meat comes from poultry, which can be killed and consumed in the same day, or from fish, if you happen to live by the coast/big river.
Most of cattle and other big animals are consumed in preserve: sausages, dried, smoked, salted, in fat, ...
Raw milk was delivered daily and consumed daily, I suspect this is why you call it "daily" in English language. Milk powder is not as good as fresh milk, but it can be stored for months, for special cases.
 
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Thank you for this great info!  These lists really help with planning backpacking trips. I've gone on short trips where friends ate that powdered, dehydrated "in a bag" soup stuff that costs $8+ per meal while I was happily eating cheese, cream cheese, and other things that people usually refrigerate. I'm so happy to get to add new things to my list of great foods to pack.

On another note, I find the shelf life of vegetables list (above) to be VERY conservative, at least in my climate. For example, I can leave small tomatoes on my counter for months. They may start to shrivel a bit (natural dehydration), but they are delicious.

In my humble opinion, in general, people just need to get a feel for what a food is like when it's bad- does it stink? is it oozing? is there visible mold? (For mold, I just scoop or cut that part out and eat it the good parts right away.) Also, learn how to avoid botulism...And then stop being so afraid. Leave vegetables and fruits out to see how long they last in your climate & time of the year.

I'm near Sacramento, CA, so it's really dry and quite hot (108° today, June 18). In the spring, summer, & fall, food ripens and gets over-ripe quickly, compared to winter.  Still, it lasts quite a while out of the fridge. Just try it.

Quick tip- Put some heavier duty cup hooks under the back, bottom of your kitchen cabinets & hang colanders for produce. I have 10 or so & I love them.  Good air circulation & clears off my counter for what else? More baskets of produce, obviously!
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Great information here; thing is, we have tried to find dried milk at the store or even online; and the prices have went  up so much since the last time I bought dry milk a few years ago.  We had started trying to find dry milk for our pantry way before the  issue with the power grid here in Texas this February; and  only able to find  small packages for an astronomical amount of money even when reconstituted.

I just checked, and some pricing has come back down; however, its still not as economical as getting a gallon of milk at the store.  Being raised in a family that had farming background, I know that having a cow or goat to milk  is also not cheap; and yes, that gallon of milk in the fridge from your cow or goat is more than likely going to cost more than a gallon of milk at the store.

However, trying to dehydrate milk isn't as straightforward as one would think, either.

But, there are plenty of  dairy farmers that should have something in place where they  can send the  older milk off the shelf to be processed into dry milk as well as into cheese, sour cream, etc.

SO, what do we do when the one item you do use, that needs to be refrigerated, that I like the taste of *yes, I am a mutant*; is cheaper to buy in liquid form but has to be kept cold? Only thing that comes to mind is a Spring house or wellhouse and it would have to be running with the cold water from glacial melt to really be cold enough.
 
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Kim said  "we have tried to find dried milk at the store or even online; and the prices have went  up so much since the last time I bought dry milk a few years ago.



I only use milk for cooking and know for a while buying dry milk online was not available.  I bought when it became available and didn't notice the price was out of line.

I also use canned evaporated milk and also that coffee creamer stuff. These seem to work for me.
 
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I would: keep a cow or goat, in a bootstrapped, pastured, nearly free system, (grazing on community lands is a good option) store milk in a root cellar, and as cheese and sour cream and butter and tvorog, and sell excess milk and dairy products to recoup the cost.
 
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Can you not buy UHT milk? (ultra high tempertaure) it's shelf stable but liquid, I wouldn't recommend drinking it but it works fine in cooking. We don't drink milk so there's no point keeping it in the fridge it just goes off, but I keep some of these around so that when I want something made with milk I can make it.


I cannot see any point in living without a fridge if you are not forced into it. the extra time and energy and money required to find work arounds are huge. and I don't care what anyone says, Butter goes rancid in less than 2 days out of a fridge, Blerch, Yes it's still edible and won't kill you but it tastes vile.

 
pollinator
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Andrea Bloom wrote:

Quick tip- Put some heavier duty cup hooks under the back, bottom of your kitchen cabinets & hang colanders for produce. I have 10 or so & I love them.  Good air circulation & clears off my counter for what else? More baskets of produce, obviously!



Love that colander idea, Andrea! Are you making sure to keep the ethylene-producers (such as pears and bananas) away from the ethylene-sensitive (such as apples)? That will help, too.
 
Kim Huse
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Colander idea is a good one; but here; I would be overwhelmed by fruit flies and fungus gnats
 
Creighton Samuels
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Skandi Rogers wrote: and I don't care what anyone says, Butter goes rancid in less than 2 days out of a fridge,



I've kept butter on the counter for up to a month using a butter crock;which works like a coffee cup holding the butter stuck to the sides of the cup, then inverted into another cup with a bit of water in the bottom.  This forms an oxygen seal.  The water still needs to be changed every 3 days or so, but compared to some of these other non-refrigeration work arounds, is a minor chore.  I bought it as a useful tool, but also as a kind of test to see how well & how long butter can be kept in a water sealed container at room temps.  I imagine that i could make a much larger butter crock, if I needed to.

One caveat; if the air temps around the crock go above about 75 degrees F., the ball of butter will pull away from the sides of the crock cup and fall into the water.  Which is fine too, just an extra bit of inconvience.  Spreads great, still tastes like butter, and I never got sick trying. My little crock holds exactly one stick of butter, and I've never had one survive longer than a month.  However, since the problem is really about oxygen, I intended to seal an entire pound of butter into a tupperware container with an oxygen absorber and see what happens. I never got around to that experiment.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I have seen those little butter crocks but never tried one. I've never had butter go rancid on the counter, but we do eat a lot of butter so it isn't likely to last more than a few days.

Skandi - are you talking about unsalted butter, because that has a much shorter shelf life. I never use unsalted butter so I have no experience with it.
 
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I have been considering unplugging my fridge, but the way I think I would go about it is to get an ice machine,  then make up ice on demand....      But so far running my fridge off solar, it is just to nice to make up a huge meal and have it for the next 3 days, or toss half of it in the freezer, then have it a week later....        

The trade offs are still too high for me  to give up the fridge, it saves me time by keeping my trips to the grocery store down to once every week or two weeks.


It might make sense if I could bike over to my food supply, but then you have rainy days / or snow you have to contend with.
 
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I've kept perishables like milk for up to 3 days by putting them in a bucket of water in summer, and up to 5 days by burying a large ceramic crock containing water with a lid to keep dirt out.  

If you don't want the item itself to be wet you can set up a water jacket system with a lid and keep things cool.  The water evaporates (a sort of wicking) keeping items cool, just need to replenish the water every so often.

Did this many times over the years when rough camping.  I will have a similar system in place for my summer kitchen.

Cheers!  K
 
Skandi Rogers
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Butter won't kill you after being out no, but as soon as it starts to change colour which it does after a day the taste is gone to me. if it's open in the fridge for more than a couple of weeks it also starts to change colour and the taste goes.
Salted butter I'm not sure you can even buy unsalted here.

So for me to dislike butter and demote it to cooking butter all that needs to happen is that slight darkening of the surface.
 
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Thanks for the reminder! I try to keep the bananas and pears in a different corner of the kitchen, but the other 4 people in my house have a tendency to re-arrange things.  (I have a 3 year old interior decorator who is quite adept at climbing onto counters.)
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

So for me to dislike butter and demote it to cooking butter all that needs to happen is that slight darkening of the surface.



I'm pretty sure that you're talking about oxidation here.  Try a butter crock like I described in a prior post, I think that you'll like the results.

 
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I’ve found a small used chest freezer converted to a fridge is very energy efficient. The combo was $45 total and uses about 250 watt-hours a day which my small solar system handles well. In the winter when solar power is limited the fridge could be used on the porch or be vented outdoors at night to chill it down, and remove most of the electrical cost.

I’ll be giving lactobfermentation a go too, I’m a fan of kimchee and sauerkraut already so I hope to preserve that way. I don’t buy meat or dairy anymore so that makes it a bit easier too, my fridge most holds leftovers from the pressure cooker or crockpot.
 
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I was in Northern Laos a few years ago on a three day trek. Our guide grew up in a village with no electricity. They now have micro hydro providing a constant source of electricity. The first thing he did was buy a mobile phone - essential for growing his guiding business. The second thing he bought was a fridge.

A fridge freed up much of his time and more importantly his wife’s who could enroll in a local college and advance her education. They no longer had to make daily trips to the market. They could buy larger and also cheaper per pound fish and meat which they could batch cook and store in the fridge. (Shopping and cooking was shared).

Much of the article annoys me. Has Karen been to Europe? It’s 40+ countries each with it’s own culture, many having multiple cultures. I’ve lived in four of them. Sure some people shop daily. Some shop weekly. Some grow their own food, others don’t.

What would be far more useful article is ‘How to use a European size fridge’, one that fits under the counter. Of course I’m generalising not all European fridges are small and not all North American fridges are like mine, an electricity sapping behemoth, a piece of junk my New Jersey landlord provided. It kicks out so much heat, it could be installed in a passivhaus as the single source of heating. I recently discovered it has 320 watts of old school lightbulbs under the plastic panel at the top. Maybe I could use it for reheating food . . . Fridges are more efficient when they’re full. So I’d have to store and buy way too much food . . . Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do . . . Spend, consume and generate waste . . . Oops . . .  I’ll get my hat.

 
Creighton Samuels
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Edward Norton wrote:
It kicks out so much heat, it could be installed in a passivhaus as the single source of heating.


Yes it can, and it contributes to the heat demand of any home in a colder climate; as does every electric device inside that home.  So in practice, you can ignore the greater electric demand of a larger fridge, as it's not proportional to it's volume, but instead to it's surface area and insulation rating.  All else being equal, a larger volume of a single refrigerator is more energy efficient than a small one, when measured by watt-hours-per-volume.


I recently discovered it has 320 watts of old school lightbulbs under the plastic panel at the top. Maybe I could use it for reheating food .



Or just remove them.  



. . Fridges are more efficient when they’re full. So I’d have to store and buy way too much food .



Or just put some bottles of water in there with your food, and those bottles will also protect you in a short term power outage as well.
 
Edward Norton
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Should I replace my car with a bus and then fill all the empty seats with crash test dummies as it works out more efficient per seat? I’m uncomfortable with efficiency when it leads to increased overall consumption.

I agree, one big fridge is better than three under the counter units for the same volume of cooling. And the bottled water is a good idea if you have intermittent power, not something I’ve personally experienced.

I’m yet to be convinced that big fridges aren’t anything more than a vanity item encouraging over consumption.

The original article suggests living without a fridge for a whole stack of inconvenience, a whole stack of additional organisation for a very small saving. In the hierarchy of needs, refrigeration is pretty high. Use all the food saving techniques she wrote about and downsize your fridge. Or go the prepper route she suggests and shop daily . . .
 
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Edward Norton wrote:Should I replace my car with a bus and then fill all the empty seats with crash test dummies as it works out more efficient per seat? I’m uncomfortable with efficiency when it leads to increased overall consumption.



It doesn't necessarily.  You also need to consider the embedded energy costs of manufacturing.  So if you happen to already possess a fridge that's too large, it doesn't necessarily make sense to buy a smaller one.  Also, adding the water bottles actually does improve the efficiency somewhat, so your comparison to filling empty seats in a bus is a bit unfair.  Closer to buying a 7 passenger minivan when you're married with no kids; the realistic future expansion of needs could justify it, if it's the only vehicle that you're going to own for the next 9+ years (the average replacement cycle of a modern refrigerator).  Sure, you could buy a tiny car and make due for a few years; yet there will be inconveniences and expenses along the way, it's a lot easier to help a friend move using a minivan than a tiny car.  If you live alone and expect that to continue, and don't already own a refrigerator; sure, buy a small one.  If your old fridge dies; again, buy one the correct size for your household.


I agree, one big fridge is better than three under the counter units for the same volume of cooling. And the bottled water is a good idea if you have intermittent power, not something I’ve personally experienced.

I’m yet to be convinced that big fridges aren’t anything more than a vanity item encouraging over consumption.

The original article suggests living without a fridge for a whole stack of inconvenience, a whole stack of additional organization for a very small saving. In the hierarchy of needs, refrigeration is pretty high. Use all the food saving techniques she wrote about and downsize your fridge. Or go the prepper route she suggests and shop daily . . .



Daily shopping, unless you live within walking distance of a grocery store in a city, is significantly worse for overall energy efficiiency.  Add those extra trips in a car to the carbon budget of refrigeration and you'll justify the (slight & nonlinear) increase in power consumption of a typical 19 cubic foot fridge easily.  And only having enough food in your household for a day, or even a weekend, doesn't sound like a prepper habit to me.
 
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I have lived without a fridge or a freezer for four years now and at this point it feels normal.  Granted, I'm in a privileged position in a lot of ways - so I don't think less of people who use a fridge.

I eat all organic except the occasional non-organic cheese.  I'm 30min from town and don't generally buy food in town anyway.  

Dehydrating is a huge part of what makes this easy.  I made a couple of solar dehydrators based on the Walk design that are very convenient: 30sqft of stainless steel mesh that I keep pretty busy throughout much of the year, even drying mushrooms sometimes in winter.

Here's how I do the different things:

Dry goods (oats, lentils, rice, beans, seeds, nuts, oils, salt, many seasonings) mostly come from a food coop that delivers a truck to town once a month.  If I am in a more distant town with discount organic dry goods I'll stock up then too.
Vegetables and fruit come from the garden or from friends' gardens.  I preserve enough fruit for the year by drying and canning.  
Mushrooms and greens I grow or forage, and dry in large quantities.  I have big jars full of dried crushed nettles, plantain, sow thistle, etc, and dried mushrooms, to add to soups all winter.  There are also foraged nuts.
Herbs and seasonings from the garden, that I dry (e.g. garlic and mustard) or have fresh all year.
Eggs come from friends who have chickens.  I intend to have chickens but presently live alone and have to travel occasionally so it's not possible, but I built my friend's chicken coop and return her cartons and shells, so I get first dibs on the eggs.  I eat a lot of eggs.
Meat I get from friends at the local weekly farmers market.  I will usually get one or two meals of meat after the market, and I also dry beef to eat in smaller quantities the rest of the time.  I also get lard from friends which keeps for a while.

Dairy - my second guilty pleasure is cheese which I do sometimes buy at a store.  Cheese keeps a very long time in the ~60F pantry.  On rare occasion I'll get cream from friends or from the store to eat with fresh fruit.  I will buy good butter if I find it cheap.  Butter keeps a long time in the pantry.  But dairy is not a key part of my diet.  

Leftovers - I generally just cook for one or two days at a time so leftovers won't go bad.  Sometimes I will make a big soup and boil it once a day as a way of preserving it.  Similarly for tea I put 20+ plants and mushrooms in a pot and boil it daily for a week or two until it's all used up.



Changes I am considering:

I may at some point decide that it's not harmful to the land to eat squirrels occasionally which would be a way to get meat periodically without needing a freezer.

I may at some point decide to get a freezer, knowing that I can live without one but would like to eat more fresh meat.  But I'm not sure - I do like having to be creative in preserving things other ways.  Not that drying meat is so creative, but it's not common these days around here.  With a freezer I would kill one of the local invasive wild pigs and that could become a big part of my diet.

One day when I live with more people I will have chickens and maybe other animals which will reduce dependence on leaving home.

And of course, I intend to grow more food over time.  Partly this will just happen as the perennials mature, and also by expanding the garden.

Eat crickets?





 
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Kim Huse wrote:Great information here; thing is, we have tried to find dried milk at the store or even online; and the prices have went  up so much since the last time I bought dry milk a few years ago.  We had started trying to find dry milk for our pantry way before the  issue with the power grid here in Texas this February; and  only able to find  small packages for an astronomical amount of money even when reconstituted.
I just checked, and some pricing has come back down; however, its still not as economical as getting a gallon of milk at the store.  Being raised in a family that had farming background, I know that having a cow or goat to milk  is also not cheap; and yes, that gallon of milk in the fridge from your cow or goat is more than likely going to cost more than a gallon of milk at the store.



We have been using skimmed milk powder (SMP) since 1996 because we were in PNG and could rarely get fresh.  There is a world wide shortage of SMP.  We could not get any for a few months but always have 3 packets in the store.  The premium brands came back into stock before the generic.  In PNG, we bought a 25 Kg bag and it lasted about 12 months when stored in the pantry.

If you use SMP rather than full cream, it is less likely to go rancid as it is the fat (cream) that causes the problem.  To make things like yoghurt, use double strength SMP and if you want it creamy, just add fresh or tinned cream.  Soft cheeses can be made the same way and stored in a salt water bath.
 
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