By: Kadedra H (Founder & Director)


Living in your tiny-home can be a huge adjustment for your kitchen space and cooking needs. Although we have many cooking alternatives when cooking in a tiny-home, there are certain common perishable goods that are needs in any kitchen no matter the size.

Living in your vehicle often is met with obstacles in reliable electricity/fuel and constant temperature fluctuations as we travel different climates. This directly affects the type of cooling system we use to preserve our food and the cooking systems we use to heat it. After throwing away spoiled, water-logged or rotten food, it is natural to start exploring easy-to-prepare, long-lasting meals. In this blog, we will cover 9 non-perishable alternatives to foods that usually require refrigeration or have a short shelf-life.

Fresh Milk (refrigerated)

Perishable Alternative: Dried coconut milk powder,

Canned coconut milk

Milk is a highly perishable food and requires refrigeration in order to stay fresh. However, there is a way to enjoy the smooth taste of milk that is vegan, raw and healthy with no-fridge needed! Dehydrated coconut milk powder (I use this brand of dried coconut milk powder) is a great way to enjoy milk in your coffee, or add water to make into liquid coconut milk to add to smoothies or cereal. Canned coconut milk is also great to add to soups or stews.

Tofu (refrigerated)

Non-Perishable Alternative: Carton shelf-stable tofu

Dehydrated tofu cubes

Do you enjoy tofu but are tired of having to pour out a slimy cart that has gone bad in your van? Explore the shelf-stable “carton” tofu that comes in soft to extra-firm. It lasts a few months and can store right in your pantry!

If you want an extra-firm tofu that is able to last a lifetime on your kitchen shelf, check out dehydrated tofu cubes often found at international stores.

Peanut butter (partially shelf-stable)

Non-Perishable Alternative: Peanut Butter powder

Dehydrated peanut butter is a great way for long-storage of your peanut butter. Simply add water or oil to make peanut butter, or add the powder directly to your smoothies for the taste without the mess!

Fresh ground coffee (partially shelf-stable)

Non-Perishable Alternative: Instant Coffee or tea

Did you know that coffee expires? Overtime, the coffee will begin to decrease in flavor due to fluctuating temperatures and exposure to moisture - both are inevitable variables when living in your van. Opt for instant coffee packs to a long-lasting coffee alternative that will outlast all weather conditions.

Fresh fruit (perishable)

Non-Perishable Alternative: Dehydrated (dried) fruit

Fruit is vital to a proper diet - yet many nomads go without due to the hassle of keeping fruit fresh in their van without refrigeration. Dehydrated fruit (dried apples, dried pears, dried pineapple) is a great way to enjoy the bounty of health benefits of fresh fruit without compromising nutritional value or flavor. They are also built to last in your pantry and are a great addition to cereals, granola bars, or to enjoy as a high-energy snack.

Vegetable Broth (perishable)

Non-Perishable Alternative: Bouillon cubes or dried vegetable broth powder

Enjoy a delicious soup, stew or stir-fry using non-perishable bouillon cubes or vegetable broth powder. Both are great alternatives to perishable vegetable broth, and are great for small meals that may not require the entire refrigerated carton of vegetable broth.

Fresh/Frozen Vegetables (perishable)

Dehydrated vegetable (soup mix) or canned

Just like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables spoil and rot fast without proper refrigeration. To keep your perishable vegetables, try to prepare them the day of purchase. If you are searching for shelf-stable alternatives to fresh vegetables, seek out dried/dehydrated vegetables or canned vegetables.

Fresh tomatoes (perishable)

Dried tomatoes/tomato paste

Sundried tomatoes are a great way to enjoy the fresh flavor of tomatoes. Sundried tomatoes can be made into fresh tomato sauce, tomato paste, or added directly to salads or stews.

Tempeh (perishable)

TVP (textured vegetable protein)

Tempeh is made with fermented grains, seeds or beans like soybeans. Fresh tempeh needs to be refrigerated, but you can manage this by opting for textured vegetable protein instead. TVP can be used as a substitute for tempeh for ground beef dishes, taco meat or burgers.

What are some of your shelf-staple alternatives? Comment below!


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