One of the major adjustments we’ve had to make in this move is getting along without refrigeration.
Granted, we’ll pick up some ice for the coolers when we’re in town to keep the beer cold and a few select provisions to be consumed within the next few days (the fresh made jalapeño poppers at the local market are to-die-for), but we go without for most of the time. We have been eyeballing the new high-performance ice chests like Yeti and Rtic as an upgrade for the long-haul.
While some people choose to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on propane-powered or DC fridges for PV systems, we just can’t swing the investment at this time. There are SO many resources to learn about living without a fridge (like many within the boating community as mentioned in a previous post), but I was particularly drawn to this blogger who has lived without an ice box for over 30 years!
When reading into the possibilities, we discovered that there are very few everyday food items that actually require refrigeration. Did you know that eggs can keep at room temperature for about 2 weeks as long as they are bought fresh and were never chilled? We’ve learned to tolerate powdered milk in our occasional bowls of cereal, and we are now a little less hasty in discarding those containers with bold lettering urging us to ‘refrigerate after opening.’ For instance, I’m still using the jarred jelly and bottled Italian dressing after several weeks with no ill effects (mostly by keeping them stored as cold and dark as possible and giving them a good visual inspection and sniff test before diving in).
This 30-day shopping list has been incredibly helpful to us in making sure we are organized for our intermittent trips to town. I also went ahead and requested this free 5-week meal planning tool for when we finally have a fully-provisioned pantry, and it looks to be a great time-saver for conventional kitchens. Again, we’ll be looking ahead to next year’s garden for canning, and we’ll be learning more about smoking meats. Check out this righteous smokehouse project on YouTube!!
In the meantime, pancakes have become my specialty! I use coconut oil and doctor them up with canned fruit and granola, and always use REAL maple syrup for a decadent and satisfying meal at any time of day.
We’ve also come to favor orzo which goes really nicely with fresh brussel sprouts or canned French-style green beans, as well as these convenient dehydrated hash browns that are fixed up with diced onions and peppers, and served with a side of canned Ranch Style Beans (having this homemade recipe on deck is something to look forward to). Of course, a staple for New Mexican pantries is a never-ending supply of Hatch Green Chiles. Without a freezer to store fresh-roasted chiles, we rely on chiles in the jar. You can read more about what’s so cool about Hatch Green Chiles and book your trip to attend the Hatch Valley Chile Fest over Labor Day weekend!
My pants are falling off me now and Ben needs to punch another hole in his belt, so we’re definitely working off all that we’re eating!! Our good friend Sandy gave us some time-tested campfire recipes from Florida this week, and I just came across this interesting gourmet campfire cookbook on Twitter so we look forward to some cool and clear weather to give those a try real soon. Do you have any favorites to share?