Could you live off-grid without a refrigerator? Susan Gregersen has for over 30 years. She wrote Life Without Refrigeration to share her experiences and tips for preserving food without benefit of a fridge. She explains how bacterial growth and spoilage occur, and why some foods need to be kept cold.
To start with, several chapters address places to keep food cool –
basements and crawl spaces.
She then devotes a chapter to alternative means of preserving food –
With each method of storage or preservation, Ms. Gregersen offers examples of which foods are best suited for that method. I was particularly interested in the dairy and meat suggestions and found some new ideas for dehydrating that I plan to try. Especially cottage cheese and sour cream. Apparently it is possible. As another alternative, she gives information on commercial dried and canned meat, dairy and eggs, and alternatives. Raising meat and dairy animals is also an option.
I have stored food in my unheated workshop for many years with great success. Mostly canned, dehydrated, or dry goods, but also citrus and root veggies, wrapped in newspaper and put in boxes. It is very important to pay attention to signs of spoilage and know what kinds of storage or preservation are safe for the foods you are storing. Also how soon to use them.
Although Susan does not give detailed instructions for the projects offered, they serve as a springboard for ideas to further research.
To sum up, this book is a handy reference guide to all of the above, for the beginner. If you are looking for more advanced storage and preservation methods, such as for meat and dairy, it is a good jumping off point.
I bought Life Without Refrigeration from Amazon, Kindle Version. I did not receive any compensation for this review.
Available on Amazon $7.99 paperback, $3.99 Kindle
- my new favorite home canned tomato sauce
Over the summer, I got a case of tomatoes at the farmer’s market and they were so tasty that I decided I needed to save some for over the winter. Sun drying was out of the question. Too much rain and too much humidity. So, I decided to make sauce and can it. My previous sauces have been too watery, so this time I tried a new approach. Lydia from Lydia’s kitchen, says the tomato seeds can make the sauce bitter, so I quartered and seeded them and filled 2 pots with the pieces, skin and all. I cooked them down for 2 or 3 hours, then let them sit overnight to cool, so I could put them through the blender. The next morning, I processed the cooked tomatoes in a high speed blender on the smoothie setting for a couple minutes, including the skins, which were now soft. I poured the thick, rich sauce back into the pots and cooked it down to half.
- boiling canning jars to sterilize
The following day, I heated the sauce, sterilized jars, filled them and capped them. I processed them in a boiling water bath for the amount of time indicated by the Ball Blue Book for 7800 ft. elevation.
- ball blue book of canning
This is my new favorite way to preserve tomatoes. Sadly, we have already used up all the sauce for spaghetti, pizza, and soup. The good news is, I seemed to have cooked out enough of the water for the sauce to stay thick. The flavor was incredible. I think next season I will be getting several cases of those tomatoes.
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