How Do You Keep Food from Spoiling without A Refrigerator

Updated on April 15, 2022

It’s possible to survive without refrigeration, despite popular belief. The challenges of food storage and preservation had been solved long before the invention of home coolers and freezers, but our current “fast and simple” society has largely forgotten this useful information. You can save money and eat fresh produce all year long by learning how to preserve food without refrigeration.

Yes, loading up a freezer or refrigerator with a few armloads of frozen grocery fare is both quick and simple. There are so many people doing this now that we often fail to notice the limitations of our home refrigeration systems.

No refrigerator or freezer can store a year’s worth of food, for example. Refrigeration is not an option if you grow all or most of the food your family consumes.

A significant amount of the nutritional content of food that has been frozen or refrigerated for more than three months is lost as well. When food is kept in the freezer for an extended period of time, it can go from edible to disgusting.

Consider, too, what happens to a large freezer full of frozen food during a prolonged power outage. Frozen food decomposes in two days without electricity.

Consider the financial aspect as well. Although the cost of operating a home refrigerating device is negligible, it is still bread that you could use somewhere else (like for a subscription to MOTHER).

It’s also worth considering what you could buy with the money you’d make if you sold your refrigerator or freezer. It’s also possible to turn the unit over and fill it with dirt and table scraps and sprinkle in a few fat earthworms if you don’t want to sell it. Over the course of the next year, you’ll have enough of worm farm livestock to sell to local fisherman and organic gardeners.

Chances are, though, if you’ve made it all the way to here, you’re really interested in preserving food in a way that doesn’t require refrigeration. If your mother, your mother’s mother, and your mom’s mom’s mom nourished a family without the use of an electric refrigerator, you’re not alone. Do it, because your great-grandmother did. After a while, you’ll begin to look forward to the festivities every year!

5 Ways to Preserve Food Without Refrigeration

1. Canning

Partially cooking and sealing food to kill bacteria is the classic preservation method of canning. Except for pickles, which need a few weeks to develop their flavour, the food is ready to eat right away. Sterilization of glass jars and lids, preparation of food and any additives like brine or sugar syrup, filling and processing, cleaning and storing the filled jars are all steps in the canning process.

Even though it may take a while to master, this is a skill that improves with practise. Jars can be expensive to buy, but they last a very long time. (My great-grandmother has been using the same jars for more than a half-century.) A click lid replacement is all you need, and it doesn’t cost much.


Preserving food with this method is believed to be the simplest and least time-consuming method of doing so. In order to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms such as mould, bacteria, and mildew, food must be dried before it can be stored securely for an extended length of time.

You can use a low-temperature oven or a food dehydrator, but the latter will take a long time. You can eat dried food, especially fruit, as is or rehydrate it by soaking it in water for a few hours before eating. It’s also possible to produce fruit leather or beef jerky at home. (I like to make my own jerky, and this is a great recipe for it.)


It’s a bit like canning, except that it doesn’t seal the food, enables “good” bacteria to enter, and utilises an acidic brine. Fermentation As Resilient Communities’ Paul Clarke explains, “the brine enables for controlled fermentation of your food by selected anaerobic bacteria, wiping off any hazardous moulds or bacterial strains while preserving your harvest against further breakdown.

” Making fermented kimchi, a hot Korean relish, has recently become one of my favourite past times. One large cabbage head can be reduced to the size of a 1-quart jar. Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food II” cookbook is where I get the inspiration for this dish. In just two or three days, you can have a delicious meal ready to eat. After all of the food has been consumed, the fermentation process continues to enhance the flavour.

Salt Curing and Brining

Most germs cannot withstand a salt concentration of more than 10 percent, therefore salting meat to preserve it is an age-old practise. Crocks of pork are packed firmly with salt and sugar, then stored at a steady temperature for several weeks.

This process is known as curing. A salt curing brine solution must be changed on a regular basis in brining, which differs from salt curing. It takes a long time to remove the extra salt from salt-cured beef and reduce it down to a level that is safe to eat.


Unlike salt-curing, this method produces a finished product that does not need to be cooked further. Hank Shaw explains in his award-winning blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, why curing meat is so important to the hunter-gatherer way of life and why you should start with goose or duck prosciutto: As far as charcuterie projects go, this one is the simplest.

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