The Right Tools for the Job

Maintaining A Safe Food Supply With No Electricity

One of the key elements of survival is nutrition. For centuries, people produced, hunted or gathered much of their own food and consumed it seasonally. Fresh greens and eggs in the spring and dairy products, ripe fruits and vegetables during the summer were immensely enjoyed because they would only be available for a short time. Once the growing season was over, the cold winter weather allowed them to store and eat meat through the winter, supplemented by grains, flours and root vegetables that would keep in cold conditions.

Cultures learned to preserve some foods and to enjoy others only in season. Now, however, modern refrigeration techniques have made safe food storage possible in nearly every home in the country, and people are accustomed to eating many of their favorite foods throughout the year. If you have ever wondered how you would supply your family with the foods they normally eat in a situation where no electricity is available, here are two ways to accomplish this goal.


Most fruits, vegetables and even some meats can be safely stored without refrigeration once they have been properly dehydrated. Dehydration simply means removing the water content of the food by a slow drying process. This can be accomplished without electricity by using heat from the sun, or a slow-burning fire. A simple solar dehydrator can be fashioned using materials such as a window screen, cardboard and some plastic sheeting. When the food is completely dried, it should be stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool place until eaten. Dehydrated foods can be eaten dry, like jerky, or re-hydrated quickly by soaking for a few minutes in hot water. Most will remain shelf-stable and safe to eat for years, while taking up very little space and remaining easy to transport.

Propane Freezing and Refrigeration

While dehydrating is an easy way to preserve some foods, it is not a workable solution for all foods. Dairy products, some meats, cheeses and others foods are more palatable when refrigerated or frozen. When no electricity is available, using refrigeration appliances that run on propane are a workable option. Propane freezers and refrigerators closely resemble their electrical cousins and have the further advantage of being more durable because they use only five main components, instead of the dozens found in electrical models.

Propane refrigeration appliances can be fed from a standard propane tank. For years, these appliances have been popular choices for recreational vehicles and off-grid cabins. Now, however, they are being embraced by people who want to make sure they can provide a safe food supply for their families during some type of emergency situation where electricity is no longer available. While propane appliances are not as easy to find as electrical models, a local propane supplier like Gas Production CO Inc. can likely provide more information and assistance with tank installation and setup.