There are around 1.7 billion people living off-grid worldwide and 200,000 families living off-grid in the U.S., and these numbers are rising each year. The kitchen is the heart of many homes, so when it comes to living off-grid it shouldn't be any different. Whether you're searching for a solar powered oven, an off-grid refrigerator or pots and pans, outfitting your off-grid kitchen with good quality appliances may cost a little more to begin with, but will be worth it in the long run.
Getting The Right Utensils
Kitchen utensils for off-gridders are usually multi-functional to save on space, made of metal so they don't easily break and don't consume unnecessary energy. A hand mixer or egg beater can be used for making all types of batters, whipped cream, meringues and, of course, for beating eggs. A good quality mixer will be comfortable to use and come apart for easy cleaning, and - as there are no electrical components - will usually last a very long time.
For other food prepping, a couple of sharp, high-quality knives are a must. Higher quality knives (many Japanese knives are great) will last longer and require less maintenance as they will be less likely to rust and will remain sharp. Most kitchens need a few different knives for different jobs, so investing in good quality ones that will last will save costs in the long run.
Cooking Your Meals
Off-grid ovens can be powered by propane or wood, but these are limited resources, so opting for solar power to cook your meals is a better option. The main drawback here is that cooking with the sun usually takes longer than cooking in a conventional oven, so good planning is essential. While all solar powered ovens work best in direct sun, many also work even in cloudy daytime weather. Forbes reports that 63% of Americans enjoy barbecuing their food all year round, so why not add a solar oven to your outdoor cooking setup and do some fuel-free side dishes while the barbecue cooks the main course?
Fridge And Freezer Options
Many people living off-grid don't have a refrigerator or freezer, opting for a chiller instead or preserving food in other ways. But a fridge and freezer sure make life easier and reduce food waste.
Off-grid chest refrigerators and freezers offer a lot of storage space, but their low and wide shape could mean you don't have enough space for one of each. However, a chest freezer can be converted into a fridge/freezer by using a control unit to monitor the temperature to keep it cold, but not frozen. Food you want to freeze goes in the bottom of the chest and food you want to refrigerate can sit at the top. Chest freezers don't require much power to run, so a single solar panel is plenty to run a DC model in most cases. You'll want your chest fridge/freezer to be thermostatically-controlled, so you may need to purchase a thermostat control unit separately if the model you choose doesn't include one.
Most off-gridders have smaller homes, so in cases where a smaller footprint is needed, a vertical off-grid refrigerator/freezer combo unit is preferable. These units are powered by either propane or DC electricity (i.e. solar power) and offer varying amounts of refrigeration and freezer space.
Off-grid living is a growing lifestyle as many want to reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their monthly living costs, or gain independence from municipal utilities. It can be a simpler way of life, but it does come with added challenges. As many off-gridders grow their own food - a precious resource - the right off-grid appliances can reduce the amount of food wasted. Investing in good quality kitchen equipment that will last a long time will make life easier as an off-gridder.
Sally Keys is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible.