How to Cook Yummy Food without a Refrigerator

by Tammy Strobel on May 2, 2011

About three months ago, we started an experiment. We decided to unplug our refrigerator because we wanted to answer these questions:

– Do we need a refrigerator in our tiny house?
– How reliant are we on our refrigerator?
– What would it be like to live without a refrigerator? Would our eating habits change? Would we miss it?

After we unplugged the refrigerator we started using a tiny, 1 cubic foot, cooler to keep our half and half and cheese from spoiling. So technically, we’re only 95% free from refrigerator use. To keep our tiny cooler cold, we use small ice packs. Logan has been taking the ice packs to work every other day and freezing them. Some folks have said this is “cheating,” but I call it creativity. :)

The little cooler rocks and it turns out I don’t miss the refrigerator at all. I don’t miss the loud humming noise, cleaning it, or throwing out the leftovers. In short, we figured out that don’t need a refrigerator in our little house. Plus, our eating habits haven’t changed much. In fact, I think we’re eating better. We’re eating more real food and less processed food. The only drawback of going without a refrigerator is that I have to shop more often for produce.

A lot of folks assume that we eat out a lot because we’ve turned off the refrigerator. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating out, however we do our best to cook a majority of our meals at home. We cook at home because it saves money and it’s healthier. I don’t know about you, but every time I eat out, I usually order a treat that isn’t very good for me if eaten regularly.

Speaking of the types of food we eat, a reader emailed me and asked: “What are your favorite meals for cooking in tiny spaces? Can you share some of your recipes?”

Our diet consists of what Michael Pollan calls “real food,” meaning most of the food we eat has fewer than 5 ingredients, has pronounceable ingredients, and excludes high fructose corn syrup sweeteners. Also, we try to get out of the supermarket as much as possible and shop at the farmer’s market.

Below are a few examples of my favorite low-cost meals, that are easy to prepare in small spaces, with no refrigerator. If you’re looking for other creative meal ideas, head over Stone Soup.

Breakfast . . .

  • Toasted bread, with a side of fruit.
  • A cup of granola and fruit.

Lunch . . .

  • An egg sandwich. Usually, I fry up my eggs, with a little bit of olive oil, toast the bread and add additional goodies like carrots, cheese and lettuce.
  • Hard boiled eggs with bread and fruit.
  • A small bowl of Quinoa or rice, with peanuts on top.

Dinner

  • Quinoa or rice stir-fry with vegetables, like carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green beans.
  • Frittata with mushrooms, carrots and peppers.
  • Salad, with dried cherries, an apple and balsamic vinegar. We never forget to pick up a baguette and some cheese for a side dish.
  • Tacos with corn tortillas, eggs, sweet potatoes, onion and garlic.
  • Pasta with garlic and onion sauteed in olive oil.

Desserts

  • Currently we have a macaroon subscription with Confectionery, a local PDX business. The macaroons are delivered to our front door at the beginning of every month and they literally melt in my mouth.
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies are also favorite. Whenever we need a little flour, Logan busts out the tiny wheat mill to grind some up. Fresh flour makes baked goods fluffy and delicious.

Parting Words . . .

Living without a refrigerator has forced us to be a little more creative when it comes to meal planning. More importantly, we’ve learned that it is possible to cook yummy food without a big cold box. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine.

Do you have any low-cost recipes you’d like to share?

1 Lisa Fine May 2, 2011

I love to cook from scratch, and try to cook foods at a low cost. One of my favorite things to make is a batch of muffins, and I’ll crumble them into a smoothie for breakfast, or eat them with soup and salad at lunch.

Vegetarian bean chili is a favorite, so are all kinds of soups [I have lots of recipes at my blog], and homemade veggie burgers made with chickpeas, oats, and walnut.

What do you do about leftovers? I assume you’re cooking smaller amounts, or do you have room for them in the cooler?

2 Tammy May 2, 2011

Hey Lisa – thanks for sharing your recipes. They sound yummy! :) I’ll have to check out your blog.

We’re actually cooking in smaller amounts. So we don’t have as many leftovers. But if we do there is room is our little cooler. :)

3 David May 2, 2011

Tammy, I would consider an unglazed ceramic water container that slowly evaporates to cool its contents. Personally, I love water with a little lime or lemon as the most refreshing beverage I know–and for many getting used to unchilled beverages can be a difficult transition. I live in Ukraine, and few people use ice with drinks here–and it took me some time to become used to warmer drinks. The old-fashioned water crocks, though, give probably a five or ten degree reduction in the water inside that is extremely refreshing. By the way, a little lemon or lime juice (freshly squeezed and not that horrible stuff sold in the bottle, please) go a long way to mask differences in water taste when you are traveling.
I’m also incredibly fond of steel cut oats for oatmeal. They take a while to cook, but the texture and flavor are both fantastic and if you buy in bulk they can be very cheap.
Here, refrigerators tend to be quite small and most cooking is from scratch with natural ingredients. Thus, we shop for food quite often.
As you probably know, there are insulated coolers designed to last for up to five days of 90 degree weather with one supply of ice. I know one gentleman who bought one and promptly applied another inch of foam insulation on all sides. He tells me he has never had to add ice in less than a week.
I can’t believe how much food in the average American household gets shoved into the back of a refrigerator until it is clearly spoiled, then it is discarded uneaten. Here, we tend to eat a dish every meal until it is gone–I simply can’t remember the last time we had to throw out food for having spoiled uneaten.
If you eat much fruit, one of the hanging fruit baskets with a hook for bananas is well worth having. Fruits (and many vegetables) seem to do quite well with them, and bananas really do last longer when hung like that.
You might also consider learning to can, so you can enjoy the results of freshly harvested foods through more of the year. In America, we used to make a tomato sauce with various additional veggies such as mushrooms, celery, carrot, peppers, and onion. The entire mixture was cooked down over some hours, reducing the volume substantially. Then we canned the resulting concentrate–and had wonderful sauces through the Winter which we used for pasta toppings, pizza, or even the base for some wonderful soups. We knew exactly what was in the sauce, and did not have to contend with the additives such as corn syrup or sugar present in so many commercial offerings. Towards the end of the season, if there is a decent “U Pick” farm in your area, you can get some outrageous prices on remaining fruit. It’s surprising how few people are willing to pick tomatoes when the weather gets very hot late in the Summer–yet the resulting opportunity to stock up for the cold season is outstanding.
Good luck!

4 Logan May 2, 2011

Hi David,

Where do you use the ceramic container? Outside? Colin Beavan of the no impact man fame tried one of those in an apartment and it didn’t work for them. I think it had to do with temp inside. Its my understanding that unless its warm enough to rapidly evaporate the water (like outside in the summer) then the ceramic it doesn’t work all that well. But I’m known to be wrong quite frequently. ;)

5 David May 2, 2011

Logan,

Evaporation is less a factor of air temperature than of relative humidity. If your climate is like California’s (where I spent six years), it is dry as a rule–except of course when it’s raining.

This kind of water container is often sold in health food stores and food co-ops. I’d check with them to get some feedback from others who use them in your area before investing in one–then I’d likely keep it on the counter.

Failing finding anyone who has one, you might make a small experiment with a small towel wrapped around a highly temperature-conductive vessel such as a steel pot. Wet the towel, and see whether the water gets noticeably cooler.

David

6 Logan May 2, 2011

Awesome! Thanks for the insight! :D

7 Brad May 2, 2011

Hi Tammy,

I’ve been going fridge-less too for the last 3 months. I had mused about losing my cool for awhile, but it was the fridge that decided it for me by breaking. I am in the process of downsizing/moving and so have chosen not to replace it. My experience is much like yours. In the winter I rotated water bottles outside, now I keep food in my very cool basement. I miss being able to freeze dinners for later and I am still working out yoghurt issues. I have always preferred room temperature beer,

I considered taking a bucket of ice shavings from the nearby hockey arena but was turned off by the thought of finding blood and broken teeth in the mix. Any how, I am doing just fine. I enjoy the quiet kitchen.

8 Foy May 2, 2011

I’m curious how you got around refrigerating your eggs?

9 Tammy May 2, 2011

@Foy – Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated. For more, read this thread.

10 Logan May 2, 2011

As a caveat we typically eat a dozen eggs in a 3-4 days. Eggs may not need to be kept at 4 degrees Celsius (typical frig temp) but its best to not to leave them out for more than several warm days. Eggs will keep longer in winter, but summer will be a little trickier. :) Salmonella food poisoning is not a fun experience.

11 Dave May 2, 2011

Count on me to pipe up on a cooking post :D

The basic ingredients for a lot of things are staple pantry foods that can be stored at room temperature just fine – which is how people were able to live up to the 1940’s when electric appliances actually started to be common in homes. We do have a refrigerator, but use it mainly to keep leftovers, as we tend to cook for about 4-5 people, and then take leftovers for lunches to work and whatnot :) We’ve said a number of times that we’d love to have a much smaller refrigerator than what our apartment is furnished with. Especially as we’re hoping to get more into canning things like stocks, soups and vegetables, it would give us more room to store the canned items and not use the electricity to keep them cold :)

http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2010/04/baking-powder-biscuits.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2010/03/homemade-tomato-soup-and-toasted-cheese.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2009/12/make-yourself-some-sauerkraut.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2009/10/sausage-mushroom-and-sauerkraut-pierogi.html (actually no sausage in recipe, originally did with sausage, but liked better without)
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2009/09/radish-sandwiches.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2009/04/10-minute-tasty-asparagus-and-brown.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2011/03/kimchee.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-old-oatmeal.html
http://givetothewheat.blogspot.com/2011/03/soba-lovely.html

The pierogi are a bit time consuming, but very simple in ingredients, and everything there is made from pantry staples that will keep quite a while at room temps (flour, beans, eggs, butter, oils, onion, salt, pepper, other spices, oats, dried fruits, etc) plus fresh produce which you can get the day you’re going to cook. If you’re going to use dried beans and not canned ones, know you have to soak them overnight and then cook them a bit before preparing the actual dish, but it’s cheaper that way, and dried beans will keep almost indefinitely, as long as they stay dry.

So excited for you guys to get going on the house! So exciting that it’s happening in the near future!

12 Tammy May 2, 2011

Thanks Dave! You’re awesome. :)

13 AnnDenee May 2, 2011

Hi Tammy,
I’ve been reading your posts for a while and am totally inspired by this one because I recently wrote a short post about how my refrigerator is too big. Anything that gets pushed back beyond the 1st row has entered the “rotting zone”! My conclusion was that rather than a larger refrigerator, which everyone seems to be getting now-a-days; I actually need a smaller refrigerator.
Well, since then, I have focused on keeping the “rotting zone” cleared out. So all my shelves have only half a dozen items on them all arranged on the front edge. And the freezer is filled with loaves of bread. While I had embraced the idea of a smaller fridge, your article has opened a new doorway to me… no fridge at all. :-D I’m so excited!! I’m already coming up with ideas on how to use my new space!!
Now, to sell it to the hub. haha

14 Greg W May 2, 2011

Hi Tammy;
I’m a sailor from way back. One way to keep eggs without refrigeration is to turn them over 3 times a week in their carton. My understanding is that the reason this works is that it keeps air from entering the semi porous eggshell. When an egg is absolutely fresh, its shell is coated inside by the egg white and air can’t get through the shell. As it ages the shell dries out inside where the airspace sits. Turning the eggs over keeps the whole interior of the shell moist. If you are able to start with unwashed, farm fresh eggs (we get ours from our neighbor) this is best in my experience. Hope this helps.

A favourite recipe in our household is Salsa. I have a hybrid form. Fresh cilantro, finely chopped red onion, diced canned tomatoes (or fresh if you have them) diced garlic, lemon juice, (again fresh if you have it is best) chili flakes and salt to taste. I typically judge the amount of ingredients based on how much cilantro I harvest or have on hand. I especially like this dish as I use it to make refried beans by adding some to a pinto beans and heating. Additionally I will add it to quinoa to make a quick tabbouleh.

It is also great on Eggs in the morning. Needs to be eaten reasonably quickly as the cilantro goes mushy in a day or so.

Cheers Greg

15 Gayle May 2, 2011

I think I (as a human) would be fine. However, I feed my dog (and some that I board) raw and cooked meat so I tend to get it whenever it is on sale and freeze it. Then it needs refrigeration after I unfreeze as I am going through it. Other than that ….. I am with you. If I was feeding canned food and kibble or if I could go to the butcher or Trader Joe’s every single day and not have to look for sales, it would be easier. I have a very small fridge/freezer though so I am doing my part!! Thanks for all your posts Tammy!!

16 Tracy May 2, 2011

I can completely see my hubby and I doing this but…..with two hungry teens that eat more than we do….no way do I feel I could do this.

17 Holli May 2, 2011

Super cool to learn how successful your no refrigerator living is going (pun intended):)

I personally don’t like ice water or really cold food. Some salad recipes I’ve created keep just fine sitting out for a day because they are made with celery or are dense with moisture:

You can easily add left over baguette or bread to this one for added texture and body –
http://holliwithani.com/2011/04/11/recipe-easy-chop-salad/

You can add cheese, meat or even lettuce to this one if you need to use it up or want to make it more hearty –
http://holliwithani.com/2011/02/19/recipe-simple-apple-salad/

With Olive Oil as a dressing these salads should be stored in an airtight container to prevent the oil from going bad. I find myself consuming the whole salad over the coarse of lunch, dinner and a snack.

Watermelon/melons: My Grandfather taught me that you don’t have to store a watermelon in the fridge if you simple cut it as needed and keep the cut end covered with a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. But, he was of Native American heritage, so he often did things the old fashioned way.

Anyway, thanks for being an inspiring example!

18 Becky Lerner May 2, 2011

I knew a guy who lived on a sailboat, and he kept his produce in cold water.

19 Steve Jones May 2, 2011

Great post! I love the idea of cooking smaller meals to limit leftovers… I feel so bad when I go to eat some leftovers, only to realize they have been in the fridge too long and have spoiled, I hate wasting food. I read an article a while ago, can’t remember which one, that said the average US consumer throws away over 15 percent of the food they buy.

As for ideas for you to try… I have been eating meusli for a while now and love it, it’s great to add to things or use in place of granola! Also, for dessert I love rice pudding… use a traditional rice (i like calrose…) and cook with milk instead of water. Add some sugar and raisins and it comes out nice! You do need to either purchase milk the day of, or store a little in the cooler, but it’s a nice treat.

20 Sarah Jean May 2, 2011

Wow — what an inspirational post!! I write a blog on challenging the sexual objectification of women and I often think about the link between consumption and objectification. Thanks for sharing!!

21 Catherine May 2, 2011

Hi there,

Great post! We decided to turn our fridge off a year ago to see if we could go without it. After a month we moved it down to the garage and then after 3 months we gave it away on freecycle.

Having less spoilt food and not having to clean the fridge have been fantastic benefits. We did, however, purchase a low energy, well insulated freezer (the kind designed for people off the grid) for our downstairs room, where it is cool all year. We freeze our garden produce and left overs plus ice bricks, which we use in an ice box for when we need to keep anything cool.This is not much as we are mostly vegetarian and dairy free. Off our kitchen we have a pantry which we are converting into a ‘cool room’ using vents and our food stays pretty cool in there. Our eggs (we have chickens) stay fresh in there for ages. It took a little getting used to and some changes to our eating and shopping habits but mostly we prefer it…and are using far less energy. People wondered how we’d go without a fridge and if the boys would have enough food to eat. So far…so good.

We mostly have:

Breakfast and morning tea: fresh fruit
Lunch: Salad sandwiches or soup, pasta, rice dishes
Afternoon tea: homemade biscuits, crackers or muffins, popcorn, vege sticks
Dinner: Similar to lunch, with perhaps eggs or occasionally chicken.

Catherine

22 Jessica May 3, 2011

I love this post! My husband and I are downsizing our refrigerator when we renovate our kitchen. We have two children so we cannot go frig-free, but we do not need an American standard size refrigerator. I read somewhere that most refrigerators contain mostly “compost and condiments”. And when I took a good look at ours, that was exactly correct!

We eat a lot of fresh produce and I shop almost every day. Last night I made a great quinoa salad – quinoa mixed with black beans, sliced olives, corn kernels, chopped onion, tomato and green pepper, mixed with an olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette. We also add ground cumin and coriander, with some garlic powder to the vinaigrette for more flavor. This is delicious warm, cold and everywhere in-between (it also makes for a great potluck dish).

23 Catherine May 3, 2011

Hi Jessica,

We have two boys, 4 and 7, and they are doing ok with us not having a fridge. We are dairy free though…makes it easier.

Catherine

24 Heather May 3, 2011

This is a really interesting thread and there are lots of great suggestions. A few times I made my own fresh butter using heavy cream. I found the recipe on Mother Earth. It was really easy and tasted wonderful. One thing I learned from that is there is a little device called a “butter bell” (about $10) and it is like a little upside-down egg cup. You put water in one part and the butter is actually kept completely fresh sitting out on the counter, in the water and is spreadable. Now I don’t normally refrigerate my butter that I’m using but do keep the rest of it in the fridge. This might be another idea you can use.

I saw the draft of your tiny house plan and it looks wonderful. I also wanted to say that you may not need 2 sinks but only one and you could use the saved space for something else. We installed a lovely apron sink in our kitchen and, though it takes up less room than the double one we had, it is really big and deep (too big and deep). Consequently, we now use a little square basin in the sink and we wash all of our dishes in there. It works perfectly well. Just like camping. Take care.

25 Tammy May 4, 2011

Thanks Heather! Great ideas!

I like the idea of having one large sink. I saw a few at the recycling center here in Portland. My friend got her sink there and I love it.

26 Kristy Powell May 3, 2011

Boo for persons who have mentioned anything you do as cheating. You are doing a thousand things more radical than the rest of us. You challenge us. You don’t cheat, you do your best, and your best just happens to be better than the most of our bests when it comes to these sorts of intentional living adjustments.

You are an inspiration, and whatever you two do to make it work… do it! Who cares if you really bike your ice packs to work. Most people forget their coffee mugs and just buy a few cups of coffee out a day in disposable cups… we should all be commending you for being able to remember something like an ice pack on a regular basis.

I think it’s just great, clearly.

And my most favorite whole foods recipe book is Feeding the Whole Family… it has really great, all whole foods, hearty and nutritious meals. http://amzn.to/jq6VoP
But why would I think you’re going to consume a book… I’d be happy to mail you my favorite recipes from the book if you like (I tend to cook things if I have the recipe on paper in front of me rather than sitting in my inbox).

27 Tammy May 4, 2011

@Kristy – You are sweet. :) I’ll see if I can get the book at the library. Although, I have to say buying books is one of my biggest weaknesses. But there are worse vices to have right? :)

28 rob May 3, 2011

reading this inspired me to go looking for a smaller fridge than the 13-year old “standard” fridge I have now. Talk about an exercise in frustration. a 2’x2′ fridge would be perfect, but nothing that is high or ultra-high efficiency will fit into a “standard” fridge space. They are too tall. Or short enough and still 2′ deep, but too wide.

29 Amanda May 4, 2011

Hi Tammy, I am curious if you are able to buy your produce in smaller amounts at the farmer’s market? For example, I noticed that you included carrots in your stir fry. I’ve always had to buy a bunch of carrots at one time, more than just a stir fry worth. Same with salad greens, beans, mushrooms etc. With all that fresh produce my cooler would be full! Do you have a place to park the tiny house that is close enough to markets to be able to shop as often as you do now?

30 Tammy May 4, 2011

Hey Amanda – We’re looking at a variety of different places to park our little house. At this point, we haven’t decided where we want to put the house yet. A majority of the spots will be close to markets, so that we can stock up on fresh food frequently. :)

31 DJ May 4, 2011

As long as you are within easy distance of a grocery store, you should be all right. It’s much more difficult the farther you live from a store to rely on fresh produce.

32 Blue Roses May 4, 2011

I’m watching this post, because I am moving into a teeeeeny space with not only the teeniest of fridges, but also no stove (just a toaster, microwave, and hot plate). So I am going to learn to cook/eat small – which means I will be getting rid of my beautiful, beloved giant stew pot. No room, no need.

33 Nina Yau May 5, 2011

Why are you so multi-talented and creative, Tammy? Oh, I know why. You’re simply awesome! Thanks for the cool tips!

34 Delores May 6, 2011

Interesting.
We tend to cook a few large meals and use them all week for lunches at work. We have a full size refrigerator and manage to lose very little.
However, we’re about to visit friends and camp out for a month, basically living out of our car so we will be down to a cooler and a two burner stove and it is very helpful to see what simple dishes are possible without having a lot on hand. I’m very used to cooking out of my pantry, so it will be interesting to see what we do when we have to purchase as we go.

35 Sarah May 6, 2011

amazing! i would love to try this. and i need a tiny wheat mill! :)

36 kerry May 9, 2011

This was a very educational post!

gregs salsa

fermentation

37 Victoria May 11, 2011

I love this post! We turned off our refrigerator for one winter, keeping our frozen foods in a cooler on the back porch and using frozen jugs of water to cool our fridge to keep cheese & leftovers. It worked great and saved us $25/month in electric.

I like your ideas for going even further with the idea. I’m hoping to live in a wall tent or 1-room cabin this summer so this information will definitely come in handy!!

38 Annie May 11, 2011

Hi Tammy!
I found that while I stuffed the freezer compartment full on a standard refrigerator my refrigerated compartment stayed pretty empty. As a result when I moved to this place instead of stressing over the fact that it didn’t have a refrigerator I found a deep freezer that I used to keep an ice chest cold.

I did break down and get a refrigerator but instead of getting one of those big monster ones (that are impossible for a single woman to move alone) I invested in an under-counter “dorm” fridge instead. I got the 4.5 cubic foot model, which is plenty big enough for a gallon of milk, some drinks, condiments and any leftovers. Now I have two smaller appliances that actually fit my lifestyle instead of one giant appliance that didn’t!

Since I do like stocking up on meats and freezing them I doubt I will ever be able to eliminate the deep freezer, but I don’t miss having a big bulky refrigerator at all! The best part is when I move I can easily move these in my van without any difficulty or assistance.

Take care!
Annie

39 Sarah November 20, 2011

Hi, I’m new to the site & am loving everything. I fantasize about living “tiny.” We do live in a small home compared to the average in our area. We’ve had to be creative. I love organizing & being forced to be resourceful. Challenges by way of seeing if I can live without something is very exciting to me. Annie, I think what you’ve done might be the next step for me. We have a pretty big fridge & have noticed the same thing…stocked freezer & space in the fridge. We need the compartment space switched. I’d love to get one of those well insulated deep freezers made for off-gridders that one reader mentions…then either a cooler maybe we start with a small dorm fridge. Let’s see if I can talk the hubby into this! We are working on becoming self-sufficient so I thing with hunter/gatherer instincts we’ll need a deep freezer.

40 Tanja May 30, 2011

Tammy I am so excited for you and Logan. My burning question is what’s the expected time frame for when you’ll be in your tiny house? We’ve got another two weeks to a month before we’re ready to settle into ours and my feet are itching to get in! (Although we’re cheating on being a true tiny house. No kitchen, no bathroom. There’s a main house on the property and we’re going to share those facilities with it.)

Anyways, one of my favorite easy recipe ideas are bean salads. You can soak just enough beans at a time, mix in some lovely fresh diced veggies, a splash of olive oil, a big splash of vinegar, a few seasonings and done! I do black bean salads, garbanzo salads, and lentil salads most frequently.

41 Tammy May 30, 2011

@Tanja – Construction begins next week. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll move in during the first week of September. :) We’re super excited!

Thanks for sharing the recipe. It sounds so yummy! Good luck with your big move. :)

42 Tanja May 31, 2011

Wow, next week! You’ve got a busy three months ahead of you. I hope you keep us updated on it.

And thanks for the luck. It’s getting really close now for us. Tomorrow is the last day of drywall mudding. ;)

43 rob May 30, 2011

@Tanja:

Your posting came at an appropriate time. I just returned from my CSA with this week’s fresh veggies, and I just finished cooking up some garbanzos this afternoon, to go with the pintos in the fridge. Bean salad, with fresh radishes, onion, hakurei turnips, tomato and a little apple cider vinegar. :)

44 Tammy May 30, 2011

@Rob – That sounds amazing! Yummy. :)

45 rob May 30, 2011

@Tammy:

It *is* amazing. Between your postings and Kerry @SquawkFox I have been inspired to move completely away from canned beans (complete with BPA) and pretty much constantly have some beans soaking and some others cooking. Those that don’t get used immediately are frozen in my little chest freezer full of yummy “overflow” food. This winter when the fresh veggies are harder to get there will be lots of pre-done and preserved stuff from this summer. Cooking and preserving stuff when it’s cheap (or free, as in from my garden) is its own form of minimalism, as I’m minimizing the money I spend on food :)

Harder to do if you do the tiny house thing, but since I’m not …

46 Tammy May 30, 2011

@Rob – Nice!!! That makes me happy. I haven’t gotten into preserving stuff (at least not yet). Although, I think it would be possible to do in the little house (just on a smaller scale). :)

47 rob May 30, 2011

@Tammy:

I think in a tiny house your focus would be preserving food in a way that it’s OK at room temperature. Canning & perhaps dehydrating. Central to my strategy is cooking and freezing, though. Or vacuum-packing dehydrated or fresh veggies. That then go into the freezer. I have a lot of solar electric on my roof so electricity is (literally) free to me so running the chest freezer is a super-economical way to store food. Since I’m about to put about 20 tomato plants out into the garden this week I suspect I will have the whole “preserving tomato” skillset well refined by the time next winter arrives!

48 Tanja May 31, 2011

Rob,

You’re living the life I want to live. Right now the kitchen is full of fresh organic veggies from the garden… but it’s not my garden, it’s a neighbors down the road. My big goal for the next 12 months is to start getting serious about growing.

49 rob June 1, 2011

Tanja:

I don’t know how much space you have for a garden, but an awesome way to get going in minimal space is “square foot gardening”.. a $20 investment in some wood & soil, an hour of work and you can plant. It’s seriously easy.

http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Square-Foot-Gardening/dp/1591862027/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306938208&sr=1-1

And, unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, your not at all late for planting most things.

50 Rand November 17, 2011

The reference to Michael Pollan is broken….

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