How to Preserve Food Without Refrigeration

You can learn how to preserve food without refrigeration by learning the basics of canning, drying, and root cellaring.

| July/August 1971

Believe it or not, it is possible to live without refrigeration. Long before the advent of home coolers and freezers, the problems of food storage and preservation had been solved, but this invaluable knowledge has been largely forgotten by our modern "quick and easy" society. Today, you can learn how to preserve food without refrigeration to save money and have delicious produce all year.

Yes, it certainly is both fast and easy to cram an armload of frozen supermarket food into the freezer or refrigerator. It's become so natural to do exactly that, in fact, that we now often completely overlook the home refrigeration unit's definite limitations.

For instance, it's impossible to store a year's supply of food in a refrigerator or freezer. If you raise all or most of what your family eats, then refrigeration is definitely not a practical means of preservation.

And did you realize that food frozen or refrigerated for longer than three months loses both its flavor and appearance and the greater portion of its nutritional value? Some edibles become positively revolting when frozen overlong.

Consider, also, what happens to a big freezer of frozen food during a major, lengthy power failure. It only takes about two days without electricity to turn a marvelous store of frozen victuals into a sodden, rotting mess.

There's a money angle to consider too. Operating expenses for a home refrigerating unit are nominal — probably not more than a couple of dollars a month — but that is still bread you could use elsewhere (like for a subscription to MOTHER). And think of all the nice, useful things you could buy with the money you'd get if you sold your refrigerator or freezer. Or — if the unit is too old or useless to sell — you can still make money with it by turning it on its back, filling it with dirt and table scraps and sprinkling in a handful of fat earthworms. Within a year, you'll be able to sell livestock from this worm farm to all the fishermen and organic gardeners in your neighborhood!

9/6/2017 3:18:21 PM

Love the article but can't see the chart. Could someone email it to me please, thank you!

9/6/2017 3:18:20 PM

Love the article but unable to read the chart or find it anywhere else online. Can you email it to me please, thank you!

8/4/2016 6:11:42 AM

My husband and I love to read your posts whenever we have a chance. They are informative and thorough. I liked your insights on food preservation. I myself have written a similar article on the topic. I would much appreciate your perspectives on that if your situation allows you to take a look at that. Best regards.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!