Living off-grid, you learn new ways of doing things. I have quickly realized that simply eating a primarily vegan or vegetarian diet can significantly reduce the need for refrigeration. Only 2 types of items need refrigeration. The first is animal products. Eggs, milk, cheeses, yogurt, meats, and other food items that we get from animals all need to be kept cold to slow down the process of the food spoiling. The second group of items that require refrigeration are leftovers. This can be eliminated very easily by being more careful in the amount of food that you prepare.
With winter storms coming more frequently, I wanted to share some ideas. These are things that I do on a regular basis but are great for others to learn in case of power outages. There are substitutions that you can make in place of the perishable ingredients. Here are a few of my favorites.
1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp. warm water, let set a minute to thicken
1/2 of a banana, mashed
1/4 cup of applesauce
almond milk, I buy cartons that are not refrigerated until opened
Butter: substitute with 1/2 the amount of butter with applesauce. I keep a pack of the individual size serving cups on hand as they are 1/2 cup each.
Ground meat: TVP (textured vegetable protein)
seitan (gluten powder mixed with water to make a very stiff mix)
homemade veggie burger made from beans and finely chopped veggies
All of the items mention above are things that can be stored on a pantry shelf. No refrigeration is needed for the base ingredients until you use them. The almond milk needs refrigeration once the quart sized box carton is opened. The remaining items only need refrigeration if you make too much and have leftovers.
Just these few things can help to lessen the stress of trying to keep perishables cold enough in a power outage. Pick a couple of them and learn to use them before a situation comes up and you are forced to rely on them. Testing them in recipes also will allow you a chance to see which options your family enjoys and which ones you do not.