24 Important homesteading skills to learn before SHTF
By Zoey Sky // Aug 16, 2022

To prepare for disasters, preppers stock up on food and supplies. If you're a homesteader and you want to take a more hands-on approach, learn important skills like growing crops in your garden and sewing your own clothes. (h/t to FoodStorageMoms.com)


Homesteading skills are crucial because they will help you live off the land. By learning homesteading skills, you can be more self-sufficient and live a sustainable lifestyle.

Here are 24 homesteading skills that will help you become more self-reliant before SHTF:

Learn how to make butter

You can make butter using only two ingredients: heavy cream and salt. And you don't need fancy equipment, just a food processor or a blender.

Here's a simple recipe for homemade butter without any preservatives and added chemicals:

Homemade butter


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)


  1. Pour the heavy cream into a food processor or blender. Process on high until the butter separates or for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Strain off the liquid. Use the back of a spoon to press the butter into a small bowl to further remove the remaining liquid. Season with salt if using before refrigerating.

You can also make butter from raw milk or store-bought milk, but the old-fashioned method requires more elbow grease and a lot of patience because you'll be churning or mixing the ingredients by hand.

Learn how to bake bread

Baking bread is a useful skill because it allows you to provide nourishment for your family. You can also use your baking skills to earn some extra money.

Learn how to smoke meat and cheese

Before SHTF, you can preserve food by smoking meat and cheese. This method is also a great way to add flavor to your food supply.

Learn how to grow plants using seeds

One of the best ways to be more self-sufficient is to learn how to grow fruits and vegetables from seeds since seeds are cheaper than plants.

When you learn how to grow from seed, you’ll have more control over what and how things grow in your garden. This can also save money since you're harvesting your own seeds from last year’s crop in many cases.

Need help deciding what to plant in your garden? Below is a list of plants that even gardening beginners can grow:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard, kale, or spinach
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes (Bush variety or cherry are easiest.)
  • Zucchini

Learn how to make and use natural remedies

In a post-SHTF world, you may need to use natural remedies if you can't go out and buy medicine from pharmacies. They're also a great alternative if you want natural treatments for common health issues without adverse effects.

Natural remedies can include things like herbs and essential oils. If you have a home garden, you can also grow herbs and plants for home remedies. (Related: Things to consider before turning your home into a homestead.)

Learn how to preserve food from your garden

Once you're growing fruits and vegetables in your home garden, you can preserve excess crops for your own survival stockpile. You can also sell preserved food to earn extra cash.

After your crops start producing, learn how to can or pickle vegetables. These methods are easy to master and you will only need some simple supplies.

Learn how to dehydrate foods

Dehydrating food is another great food preservation method for your crops.

Dehydrated foods will last for several months. If you go camping or hiking often, dehydrated snacks are lightweight and easy to transport.

To dehydrate foods, you can use a modern dehydrator or use an old-school technique like sun drying.

Learn how to forage and identify edible plants

Learning how to forage for edible plants allows you to get more food for your stockpile without spending any money.

Before you start eating what you find outdoors, learn how to properly identify which herbs, plants and mushrooms are safe to eat. Check illustrated field guides or articles online.

Learn how to raise chickens for eggs

If you have space on your homestead, take care of chickens so you have access to a replenishing source of fresh eggs.

As a bonus, chickens will also help keep your garden free of bugs. Chicken droppings will also help fertilize the soil.

You can also raise chickens for meat. Check if your community has any restrictions on raising animals like chickens.

Learn how to fish

Fishing is a great way to get fresh fish for eating.

To learn how to fish, you must know how to bait a hook, cast a line and clean your catch by reading up on fishing or consulting someone who knows how to fish.

Learn how to hunt for food

Hunting is another great way to find free food for your family after SHTF.

Before you start hunting, learn how to use a weapon, find game and track animals. Note that you will need to invest in a weapon and ammo.

Also take note that all states have restrictions for getting a license based on factors like age, classes taken or the type of prey you are going to hunt.

Learn how to tap trees

If there are maple trees in your state, learn how to tap them so you can get maple syrup for free.

Learn how to make compost

Composting will help reduce your waste. It can also save money on fertilizer and help your garden plants grow.

Compost is great for gardening beginners and you can make compost from things you usually throw away, like food scraps and leaves.

Learn how to purify water

Knowing how to purify water means you can find and produce clean water for your family if you lose access to running water after SHTF.

While there are many different ways to purify water, boiling is the simplest and most effective. Alternatively, you can purify water with bleach or iodine.

Make your own soap

Soap-making is a useful hobby or skill because it can help you save money and avoid harsh chemicals from store-bought soaps.

Make non-toxic cleaning products

Many store-bought cleaning products contain harmful chemicals.

Protect your loved ones and pets by making non-toxic cleaning products without any of these harmful additives. This is good for your health and the environment.

Many recipes for DIY cleaning products include common household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

Learn to sew and make clothes

Knowing how to sew is another great skill that will help you save money.

Once you learn how to sew, you can make your own clothes. Read a book, take local classes at a fabric store or check online tutorials to learn how to sew, crochet or knit.

Build a solar oven

If SHTF and you lose electricity, you can cook outdoors when it's sunny using a DIY solar oven.

Build a solar oven so you can bake, boil or fry food.

Harvest rainwater

If you live in an area with frequent droughts, you will benefit greatly from knowing how to harvest rainwater using a rain barrel or other type of container.

Harvesting rainwater will also help conserve your other water sources as you prepare for a drought.

Learn how to start a fire

Firestarting is an important survival skill because with a fire, you stay warm, cook meals or boil water for drinking.

Before SHTF, learn how to start a fire using basic tools like flint stone so you can start a fire if you run out of matches.

Learn first aid and CPR

When disaster strikes, knowing how to administer first aid and CPR could help save someone's life.

Enroll in first aid classes or learn from a book or online tutorial. The Red Cross and other organizations also make this training available for a very low price.

Learn how to tie knots

Knot-tying is a valuable skill so learn how to tie different knots. The right knots will help secure your tent or cargo while you're bugging out.

Learn how to cut down a tree and split wood

If you live in an area with lots of trees, knowing how to cut them down and split the wood means you can get free firewood with an ax or a chainsaw. Before you start chopping, learn how to use your tools properly.

Review requirements for wood cutting and gather the necessary permits.

Learn basic mechanic skills

If you own a car, you should learn how to do basic maintenance like changing the oil, checking the fluids and changing tires.

Choose some homesteading skills from this list and master them before SHTF so you can be more self-sufficient.

Watch the video below for some tips on how to raise and care for chickens on your homestead.

This video is from the Pop Up Homestead channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

6 Things to expect when you start a small-scale homestead.

What are skills, rules and principles that will help you survive the wilderness alone?

6 Most important skills every homesteader should learn.

Sources include:





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