Foods For Off-Grid Living: 30 Important Foods To Prepare

It is not mere curiosity that should drive us to think about off-grid living and its foods, but also the fact that we live in very turbulent times – recent events of the Covid-19 pandemic only serve to prove this.

Therefore, one of the most important features of choosing an off-grid lifestyle is the foods for off-grid living: preparation, growth, and storage.

While it is true that man does not live on bread alone, bread is the basis of physical existence regardless of whether we live a regular or off-grid lifestyle.

Have you ever wondered, in a world where everything has changed so drastically, how someone living off the grid survives without the conveniences to which we have become accustomed?

So, what are the best foods for living off the grid? How are they grown and preserved? Let’s learn everything there is to know about off-grid food in this article. Trust me, you’ll find it helpful, and you’ll get off to a better start.

30 Foods For Off-Grid Living: Preparation, Growth, And Storage

30 Foods To Prepare To Start Living Off The Grid

A lot of people nowadays seem to consider our Neolithic ancestors to be vastly inferior to us, but surviving in the wild without modern technologies and appliances is no joke.

In fact, it is a mission impossible for most modern people, primarily because skills required for off-grid survival, such as cooking, hunting, and sustaining a sufficient food stock will take a lot of time to pick up.

Lucky for you, here is a list of foods that will make your life much easier, even if you don’t have the aforementioned skills completely mastered!

MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)

MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)

MRE’s were developed mostly for the needs of the military, which required an even more efficient source of calories than canned food.

As a result, MRE’s are a completely viable off-grid food. Not only that, but they are extremely easy to use and prepare.

One of the greatest advantages of this off-grid food type is the fact that, while you need to keep them in a cool environment, you don’t need a refrigerator to keep them edible!

In addition to this, each meal provides about 1,200 calories – which is plenty, considering the recommended daily calorie intake goes anywhere between 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

Dried Foods

Dried Foods

Dried foods are delicious, healthy, lightweight, simple to make, store and utilize. This makes dried food a perfect choice for an off-grid lifestyle. Here is a list of some dried foods which you can consider:

  • Dried Beans
  • Canned Beans
  • Dried Corn
  • Canned Corn
  • White Rice
  • Whole Wheat Grains
  • Raw Oats (Oatmeal)
  • Dried Pasta
  • Freeze-Dried Fruits & Vegetables
  • Pemmican (Homemade Meat Jerky)
  • Dried Seaweed

Fresh Foods

Fresh Foods

Fresh foods are an equally essential component of any balanced diet. They are rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that are necessary for good health.

Including some fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, seafood, eggs, etc., is a must for an off-grid lifestyle.

Canned Foods

Canned Foods

Canned foods are a convenient and practical way to supplement your diet with adequate nutrition. While many regions of the world lack access to safe and healthy meals, canning allows people to enjoy a variety of foods all year.

Therefore, canned food is preferred by people living off-grid.

Some suggestions for canned food are:

  • Hormel Spam (Canned Meat)
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Sardines
  • Vienna Sausages
  • Canned Chili
  • Canned Beef Stew
  • Canned Chicken Breast

Spices, Sugars & Salts With Indefinite Shelf Life

Spices, Sugars & Salts With Indefinite Shelf Life

Salt, oil, sugar, and spices all play significant roles in our everyday diets and are taken in various forms. While an overdose of these components is harmful to one’s health, our bodies need them in tiny amounts for a variety of reasons. 

So, we suggest you maintain a stock of at least the following while living off the grid.

Bonus For Yourself

Apart from the food items listed above, it is also essential to include certain complimentary items for your off-grid living. These items will serve as a bonus for you.

  • Powdered Milk
  •  Gee
  • Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Instant Coffee (Bonus)

To get more ideas on off rid foods, you can also check out our article on the 2 Week Food Supply List For Your Perfect Off-Grid Trip.

Grow Your Own Food

Grow Your Own Food

Your body needs energy and off-grid life may provide an excellent chance to develop and produce food in your own garden. Consider growing perennial plants if you aren’t traveling around a lot because they will nourish you for years! 

You can do animal husbandry if you don’t want to become completely vegan. By raising animals you can also enjoy the benefits of eggs, milk, and meat. Additionally, you can also get wool and leather for your clothes. 

Adopting our traditional method of exchanging foods grown in our own organic farms with other community members can be very helpful while living off-grid.

In this way, you don’t have to cultivate every single fruit, vegetable, or animal. This will also help you build a strong off-grid community.

So, in this section, we will check out some ideas for growing your own food for off-grid living.

Fish

Fish is the most nutritious of all the available meats. Not to mention it has the greatest protein retention when compared to chicken, pig, and beef. It also has the lowest feed conversion ratio when compared to other protein sources.

Growing fish is a good option for off-grid living and it has gained popularity in recent years as more people seek nutritious supplies of farmed fish for their families.

Fishing culture (also known as aquaculture) can be easily done on a small scale while living off the grid. You can check out here to get a more clear idea. 

You may even go a step further and establish your own fish farm and start to sell your fish for profit. This is apart from feeding your family with home-grown fish.

I’m sure your friends from the off-grid community would want to eat fresh home-grown fish from your farm as much as you do.

Chicken

Chicken is one of the most popular types of meat that is included in off-grid foods. It is not only readily available and simple to cook, but it is also rich in essential nutrients and can be a fine addition to a well-balanced diet.

Did you know that chicken can be easily raised while living off the grid? Raising chickens at home was pretty normal in the olden days. It was considered to be a good source of getting some fresh eggs and meat.

For more information on raising chickens off the grid, check out our article on 

What Do You Need To Raise Chickens?

Rabbits

Some people consider that rabbit meat can be a “super” meal. It is rich in protein and low in calories. Not to mention, it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Rabbit meat has a very low percentage of fat, and when you compare it to any other meat be it beef, chicken, or pork, the calorie intake is also much less.

Raising rabbits has been a common practice for both farmers and homesteaders.

Everything about rabbits makes them perfect to use as a sustainable food option for living off-grid. Click here to learn how to raise rabbits for meat.

Raising a healthy rabbit colony requires only a small amount of daily effort. Compared to growing other small animals, breeding rabbits offers one of the greatest meat outputs while having the lowest initial costs.

Cows And Goats

Off-grid animal husbandry, such as raising goats and cows, is important if you wish to establish your freedom and be completely or mostly self-sufficient. Raising these creatures off-grid has its own set of difficulties, however, it is also very rewarding.

Both cows and goats are excellent sources for dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, etc., which is one of the important components of any food style.

The nutrients in dairy products build your healthy bones and reduce the risk of getting affected by certain diseases. 

The best part about raising these animals when living off the grid is that their maintenance cost is very low.

These animals can basically take care of themselves and can survive on bushes, trees, grass, desert scrub, aromatic herbs, etc.

Beans

Beans are a source of complete protein and have a long-term shelf life, making them one of the best options for off-grid food. They are rich in fiber and B vitamins. Plus, they are a great replacement for meat as a source of vegetarian protein.

Growing plants away from the grid are important for being self-sufficient in your food production.

For example, beans are very adaptable, and they grow in both direct sunlight and moderate shade. Check out how to grow beans at home here

Corn

Corn is one of the most popular and diverse foodstuffs which can be easily grown in your home garden. It is an essential survival food because of its high carbohydrate content, nutritional value, and ease of storage.

Corn can be considered a vegetable when it is freshly harvested and growing it is especially popular with home gardeners.

People living off the grid can use simple techniques and grow corn to include them in their balanced diet. 

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Other Food Stuff

When you decide to live off the grid, survival gardening can be a good technique to adopt. With very little resources, you can simply cultivate an off-grid survival garden.

 While survival gardening is similar to normal gardening, you will enjoy how this kind of off-grid living may help you optimize the resources available to you.

Apart from the items discussed above, you can also try your hands at growing wheat, winter squash, apples, potatoes, honey, etc. 

Note for readers

This is merely a starting point and not an in-depth, step-by-step explanation. However, we have included some links within the text for more details to help you get started.

5 Methods Of Preserving Food

5 Methods Of Preserving Food

Growing and hunting food is a fun and exciting part for many off-gridders, however, the true difficulty comes when you attempt to preserve the food for later use.

The goal of preserving is to either slow down or completely eliminate the activities of microbes and enzymes in the environment. 

Even though food storage and preservation is an emerging business model, it is not new to mankind. Our ancestors developed many techniques to preserve their foodstuffs. 

Let us now have a look at some methods for preserving food so that you can stock it up for a long duration.

Smoking, Salting, Drying/Dehydration

Removing moisture from the food or, to say in simple terms, drying the food, is one of the best methods to preserve food from ancient times. This will not only prevent your food from degrading, but it keeps it edible well past the usual lifespan.

You may use the sun or smokehouses (or a store-bought smoker), air dry, low, slow heat in an oven, and, of course, a broad range of consumer and professional food dehydrators.

These techniques not only preserve foods but also change their flavor, texture, and appearance. Today, these traditional methods are preferred for their distinct effects in a variety of food preparations.

Root Cellars/Cold Storage

A root cellar is technically any storage place that uses the advantage of the earth’s inherent cooling, insulating, and humidifying characteristics to preserve perishable foodstuffs.

An underground root cellar was an important method to preserve carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and other root crops even before refrigeration was invented.

Today, root cellars are making a comeback again to preserve food from freezing in the winter and cool in the summer to avoid spoiling.

Pickling And Fermentation

Pickling and fermentation is another well-known technique widely used for food preservation. The foodstuff is brine-soaked for many weeks during this process, altering the appearance, taste, and texture of the food.

Fermentation generates lactic acid, which aids in food preservation.

Most vegetables, such as cucumbers, cabbage, green olives, capers, garlic, onions, carrots, cauliflower, beans, etc., can be easily preserved using these methods.

Fact Check:

Even though the terms pickling and fermentation are used together, they are not the same. Pickling involves soaking foods in an acidic solution to create a sour taste.

In contrast, when foods are fermented, the sour flavor is produced by a chemical reaction between the sugars in the food and naturally existing bacteria — no additional acid is needed.

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Simple Off-Grid Refrigeration: The Cold Box

As conventional refrigerators use electricity 24 hours a day, you’ll have to make some sacrifices to preserve your foods.

This involves either rediscovering ancient human resourcefulness, investing in a high-tech, contemporary off-grid refrigerator, or adopting a blend of the two.

Cold box is a simple and effective refrigeration technique that can be used while living off-grid to effectively preserve your perishable foodstuffs for a longer time period.

Other Traditional Methods

Individual food items may be stored in a number of ways, including coating them in non-rancid fat such as a suit, covering them in ashes, candying them in honey, or immersing them in slaked lime (a product of limestone and seashells).

You can do some additional research to find out these traditional methods and try to use them. This is the fun part of off-grid living. Anything and everything is a challenge that you need to accept, and emerging victorious is satisfying. 

Foods For Off-Grid Living – Credit: Emoffgrid Youtube Channel

Personal Experience

My family and I use to reside in a very remote part of the world. I may have been exposed to off-grid living since I was a kid, but it is only now that I understand what it means to live off-grid.

My father used to raise both fish and shrimp, while my mother used to manage cattle and veggies. The visiting market was not very often as we had our own survival garden at home. We had also developed our own methods to preserve food and all of it was fun.

This lifestyle has been the most beautiful, liberating, meaningful, gratifying, and fulfilling experienced for us, in my opinion. Of course, we work harder, however, we also feel far healthier, stronger, and happier than anyone who is living a normal life.

Conclusion

So, how feasible is it to arrange food for an off-grid lifestyle?

Well, if you combine growing some food of your own, proper storing, nomadic skills such as hunting and fishing, and a little compromise here and there, you can have a very comfortable off-grid life independent of mainstream civilization.

As usual, thank you for including “Emoffgrid” as a part of your life! Hopefully, this information can be useful to you even if you don’t plan to run away from it all, but simply to make your diet more versatile and practical.

Tell us about your off-grid food experiences and anything else you’d want to contribute regarding off-grid foods based on your knowledge.