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Five Things I Couldn’t Live Without In Our Off-Grid Kitchen

Moving off-grid can seem like this quaint little experiment where you lay in meadows of wildflowers during sunny afternoons and play with kittens all day. Although that doesn’t really happen, there are more benefits to the lifestyle than one can imagine.

There is also a lot of work to be done. Just feeding our family three meals per day, cleaning up from that, and keeping up with laundry and basic homeschooling can fill 12 hours of my day.

Which is why knowing what is useful and what is not is extremely important. There are things we brought with us that I almost never use and others that I am not sure how we would manage without.

So I thought I’d share a list of the top five things that I have used nearly every day since we moved off-grid. These tools have come in handy for this survival phase of homesteading when daily life is chaotic and feeding your family is more utilitarian than gourmet.

Berkey Water Filter.

This is at the top of my list as it is our source for clean drinking water – even more important than food! We have had one for years, but only now is it imperative to our survival. Before we arrived to our land we set up a water catchment system and soon after arriving the Berkey was set up to filter our drinking and cooking water. It is the best water filter that I know of and is a workhorse in our home. (You can find one here.)

Cast-Iron Skillets.

I loved these guys when we I used an electric stove in an on-grid kitchen. I am so glad I ditched my stainless steel skillets for cast-iron! Not only are they non-stick, if seasoned right, without all of the nasty chemicals, but they also clean up super easy and work really well on a cast-iron wood stove. A must for every kitchen! (I use this 12″ American made skillet.)

Stainless Steel Bowl/Plates.

Before our move I gave away our nice, very breakable, dishes. We needed as few things as possible taking up space in our move and then needed multitasking dishware when we first arrived so that we could get our domestic infrastructure set up. These stainless steel bowl plates worked perfectly as either bowl or plate. We bought just eight of them and only now am I considering buying more dishes. (These are the ones we purchased.)

Small Cutting Board.

Every cutting board I have ever owned and loved has been at least 1.5 feet long and 1 foot wide. Before we moved I bought a very small, handled cutting board. I didn’t even buy it specifically because of our off-grid move, but I am so glad now to have it. When you are washing dishes in dishpans or a small camper-style sink, getting out that huge cutting board is just demoralizing. (This little guy has been so helpful.)

Quart Jars and a Food Funnel.

I actually parted with quite a few jars before we left, but the ones we kept have come in very handy – and not for canning. We use them for drinking, because they are sturdy. I use them to store leftovers, using the food funnel for ease of pouring. We use them to store our silverware in since we don’t have a drawer with a silverware divider. They are so multifunctional and sturdy that I am not entirely sure what our kitchen would look like without them.

So, those are five definite necessities in our off-grid kitchen. Now if only I could find a pot that instantly heats water without electricity and a sink that does dishes for me…

  Leave a Reply

  • Question: Why did you get rid of your stainless steel pans, yet you have chosen to eat from stainless steel bowls? I’m confused… is there something bad about stainless steel? Or was it that you just prefer the cast iron?

    Linda January 27, 2012 AT 12:05 pm
    • Linda – We simply didn’t have room for all of our stainless steel cookware because of the cast-iron. We still use stainless steel pots, though :).

      Shannon July 24, 2012 AT 11:22 am
  • I use my canning funnel every single day! I have two, and some days both get used.

    Of course I use canning jars a lot, though I don’t can per se. We use them to freeze our chicken stock. We also use cast-iron pans almost daily, though I haven’t given up stainless steel yet.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jeanmarie January 19, 2012 AT 11:20 pm
  • I could not agree with you more about the Berkey! The other thing I am so glad that we bought was a nice propane fridge! I LOVED it!!

    Jennifer January 19, 2012 AT 10:32 pm
  • I’ve never heard of a cast iron humidifier. I’ll have to look into that.

    I use a cast iron pot for making soup. It makes amazing soup and I couldn’t live without it.

    michelle January 19, 2012 AT 7:24 am
  • when we’re at our off-grid cabin, i use a massive cast-iron lidded pan on the wood stove. it was an antique mall find, and I don’t know what it’s called. it would cover two burners on an electric stove and is somewhat rectangular, with handles on the short ends. i can use the bottom for pancakes, or fill the whole thing with stew and cover it for an hour or two, stirring occasionally. i like it because it can hold a TON!
    if we move there full-time, i think i’d like a cast-iron humidifier to sit on the stove permanently. it makes the air feel so much warmer.

    lacy January 18, 2012 AT 7:18 pm
  • Oops. I meant “Even though we’re NOT off-grid…”

    Brenda January 18, 2012 AT 3:55 pm
  • Even though, we’re now off grid, these stainless mugs are a must for us. As a mom of little ones, it’s so nice that these don’t break.

    Brenda January 18, 2012 AT 3:53 pm
  • Funny, I use these every day in my on-grid kitchen, too. Guess I’m slightly prepared for when we move. We don’t have stainless steel plates, though, just bowls.

    Cathy January 18, 2012 AT 12:38 pm
  • I want to read more about your going off-grid. Do you have any other posts about it?

    Carly January 15, 2012 AT 5:55 pm
    • Carly – You can check out my blog, where you will find other posts documenting our journey.

      Shannon January 18, 2012 AT 8:41 pm
  • There is a pot that boils water in 3-5 minutes. It’s called the “Kelly Kettle.” There is a great video that shows how quickly you can heat water with only a small amount of fuel (pinecones, twigs, sticks, etc).

    Audrey January 14, 2012 AT 7:32 pm

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