Don’t have a traditional homestead yet, but you’re still wanting to feel like a homesteader?! Check out this list of 27 homesteading skills you can practice up on before you have an ACTUAL homestead.
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Are you interested in jumping into homesteading, even though you’re still in the dreaming phase?! Don’t worry friend, there are skills you can start learning RIGHT NOW, no matter where you live, what resources you have, and how many chickens you do (or don’t) have.
I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, that homesteading is not a number of acres or even a number of animals. Its a MINDSET. Homsteading is self-sufficiency. And there are plenty of homesteading skills that you can learn today that will help you to become more self-sufficient.
Consider this the homesteading skills list that you can refer to when you’re homestead dreaming. These are the skills you can try before you have an actual homestead. The ultimate list of homesteading skills for beginners.
Once you DO get your dream homestead, complete with a few acres and some animals, you’ll be ahead of the game! Life will get busy when you’re homesteading, so learn some skills now to save you time later on.
What are the Basics of Homesteading?
You know that homesteading is self-sufficiency, but what does that mean?! Here are some basics of homesteading:
- raising, caring for, and butchering livestock
- scratch cooking
- canning and preserving
- DIY everything
These are the absolute basics, but each skill can be broken down into plenty of other skills. For example, gardening can be as simple as growing some herbs in containers in your kitchen, to growing an enough vegetables to last you through the year.
There’s a lot that can go into gardening including composting, growing any and every kind of vegetable, herb, and fruit, harvesting, companion planting, and more. The point is, homesteading can be as simple or as involved as you’d like it to be.
Let’s get into some of the homesteading skills you can learn right now while you’re homestead dreaming.
Homesteading Skills You Can Learn TODAY
In no particular order, here are 27 homesteading skills you can learn today, while you’re dreaming of homesteading. The ultimate list of homesteading skills for beginners! Enjoy.
Cooking From Scratch
This is the ultimate, basic, beginner homesteading skill. Its also one that ANYONE can learn. If you eat food and you cook food, you can learn it. Cooking from scratch can have a lot of different levels. Start wherever you’re at.
If you don’t cook anything from scratch, choose to make 1-2 meals a week all on your own. Learn basics like cooking a whole chicken, making bone broth, homemade mac and cheese, and other simple recipes. The more you learn, the more you can experiment.
Have you heard of milling your own grain? Did you know this is a thing? Invest in a grain mill and you can buy grains in bulk, and grind them fresh for each of your recipes. This is a simple and easy skill to learn.
There is a small investment up front when you invest in a grain mill, but you can save money in the long run by making your bread from scratch and stocking up on bulk grains.
There’s nothing quite like a loaf of fresh baked bread. Its magical! Bread baking can seem intimidating to a lot of people, but its actually SO easy. A lot of my favorite bread recipes can be made in 2 hours, start to finish.
Again, if you’ve never made bread before, try easy recipes to start out. Once you get more comfortable with it you can make anything from dinner rolls, to French bread, cinnamon rolls to English muffins and bagels. The options are endless! YUM.
Once you get familiar with basic bread making, you can jump into the world of sourdough. Sourdough is wild yeast, or homemade yeast, and you can use it to make all kinds of sourdough goodies.
This is the way people made bread hundreds of years ago! Its the original yeast. So amazing. I have a tutorial HERE on making your own sourdough starter.
Canning & Preserving
If you want to learn how to can and preserve food, all you need is a big pot of water and canning jars/lids. Start with easy and basic recipes that you can make using a water bath canner. As you learn you can move onto more difficult recipes using a pressure canner.
Learn how to freeze and dehydrate foods to preserve them as well. Once you have a successful garden, you’ll find it so valuable to be able to preserve your harvest and enjoy it through the winter.
Another way to preserve food is through fermentation! Have you heard of fermentation? Its using bacteria and yeast to used to break down sugars in food and preserve it. Guess what? Its also good for you!
You can ferment plenty of foods including carrots, jalapenos, cucumbers, milk, cabbage, and more. Think kombucha, kefir, sourdough, and fermented vegetables. This is something that’s been around forever and is a great way to be more self-sufficient.
Even if you don’t have a dairy cow (which may be a homesteading dream of yours) you can build skills NOW that will help you when you do. Learn to do all kinds of things with dairy including cheese making!
Cheese making can be super simple and basic, or much more complicated. Start off with simple recipes like chevre, mozzarella, and feta. All great for beginners!
If you’re looking to build more skills in the dairy world, learn how to make yogurt! This one is SO simple and easy. Don’t be intimidated. You can save a lot of money buy learning to make your own yogurt.
HERE is a great recipe for making homemade yogurt in the instant pot.
Stocking Your Pantry
Back before we relied on grocery stores and all of the convenient food sources we have, people used to have to stock their pantries. I’m sure you got a good idea of how reliant we are on stores with the recent pandemic in 2020. The shelves were empty of the necessities.
Imagine if you were prepared and more self-sufficient, by having a month, 6 months, or a years worth of supplies in your pantry? This is a skill you can build! Again, start small and try to build up a month’s worth of food and supplies. Buy in bulk and buy the basics.
Cooking a Whole Animal
Even if you didn’t raise the animal yourself, or harvest it, you can still learn the valuable skill of cooking a whole animal. Basically what this means, is learn how to cook with different cuts of meat. Don’t just buy ground beef and steaks from the grocery store. Buy other cuts an learn how to cook them!
For beef, a great option is to buy a quarter or a half cow from a local farmer. Its a larger investment up front buy you’ll get tons of meat, and all different cuts.
Same goes for chicken and other meats. Learn how to cook a WHOLE chicken, how to make broth from the bones, gravy from the broth, etc.
Be more self-sufficient by learning how to cooking things over a fire. You never know if this will be a skill you need to use someday!
Invest in a quality, cast iron pot, and try cooking over a fire once a week. Learn new recipes, and build your confidence.
Sewing is one of my favorite, old-fashioned, self-sufficient skills. I have a goal this year (2022) to not buy textiles for our home, but to sew them instead. You can sew, literally ANYTHING in your home. Curtains, aprons, pillowcases, quilts, duvets, potholders, etc. Obviously you can sew other things as well such as your clothing.
Sewing is an awesome skill to have. When you know how to sew you can also re-use things and waste less. I’ve turned old table cloths into napkins, pillow covers, table runners, and more.
Not only can you learn how to sew new things, but you can also learn to mend. If you know how to mend you can patch ripped jeans, fix a curtain, darn socks, and more.
You’ll save money, waste less, and be more self-sufficient.
Similar to sewing, crochet is an awesome, self-sufficient skill to build, that anyone can try. I have an aunt that crochets dish rags for friends and family. They’re beautiful and work better than store bought rags.
I also have a sister in law who loves to crochet blankets for new babies in the family. Again, the options are endless when you learn a skill like crochet.
Along the same lines as sewing and crochet is hand-embroidery. Old-fashioned homemakers used to spend their evenings embroidering things for their family. Hand-embroidery can be so beautiful, and a fun skill to learn!
It’s not as practical as the others, but self-sufficiency doesn’t always need to be. You can learn to learn to sew cloth napkins, hand-embroider them, and then sell them!
Again, you can learn to make ALL of the textile things in and around your home. Knitting is a fun and useful skill to learn.
Take the time to learn the basics and spend 15 minutes every evening working on a knitting project.
Yes, homesteading can mean DIY decor! Homesteading is about self-sufficiency after all. Instead of buying decor for your home, learn to DIY it instead.
Use scrap wood from outside to make signs and frames. Learn how to utilize paint and thrift things to make them over. You’ll save a lot of money when you learn how to make your own decor, and it can be so special knowing you made the things in your home.
Something similar to DIY decor, is wood working. Wood working is an amazing and useful skill to learn. When you learn how to work with wood and how to use power tools, you can make so many things.
You can make patio furniture, chicken coops, fences, decor, and more. When you have a bigger homestead in the future, you’ll be so thankful you know how to work with wood and tools to make whatever you need.
If you’d like to be more self-sufficient around your home, learn to make your own cleaning products. There are plenty of different recipes out there on internet land for making everything from all-purpose spray to toilet bombs.
DIY cleaning recipes are often all natural, and VERY simple. Most recipes use a combination of the same set of ingredients. They also usually include essential oils!
DIY Bath & Body
In addition to making your own cleaning products, you can make your own bath and body products. This is a great skill to learn and your friends and family will love all of the DIY goodies you can make. DIY bath and body recipes are a great gift idea!
Learn how to make homemade lip balm, shampoo, and soap, DIY body scrubs, lotion, and more. Again, you’ll find its actually more simple than you think, and most of these recipes contain the same sets of ingredients.
An important part of homemaking is making sure your family is safe and healthy. If you’d like to be more self-sufficient in this area, and rely less on modern medicine, you can learn how to make herbal remedies.
We’ve become VERY reliant on modern medicine (I’m thankful for modern medicine) but we’ve lost the skills and knowledge that people of the past had in healing and taking care of our bodies.
HERE is an awesome resource for making your own herbal remedies.
First-Aid & CPR
This is an interesting one and something you might not have thought of! Be more self-sufficient be learning how to perform CPR and some basic first-aid knowledge. You’ll never know when it may come in handy.
I think this is something EVERYONE should learn, whether they want to be a homesteader or not.
I was watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie recently and Ma Ingalls was making soap outside over a fire. It was fascinating!
Soap making is a little more involved, and you’ll need to learn the safety precautions if you’d like to get into it. Once you do though I am sure you’ll love it! I have a friend who has some amazing resources for making soap. Check them out HERE.
I didn’t want to put gardening here, because if you’re a beginner, or homestead dreaming, you may not be able to start gardening now. But you know what you can do? You can grow something! Even if its just on a windowsill in your kitchen.
Learn how to grow and take care of household plants, keep a small tomato plant on your patio, and some herbs in your windowsill. Once you’re more comfortable and familiar with growing things, you’ll feel more confident when you try to garden in the future.
You don’t have to have a garden to compost. You can make compost tea for your houseplants. If you do have a small garden you can compost your kitchen scraps to make a great fertilizer for your plants!
HERE is a great option for a compost bucket that you can keep under your kitchen sink. Use it to make use of all of your leftover kitchen junk.
Learn how to forage for wild-edibles in your area. You’ll need to research what is in your area and what’s safe to eat. Think mushrooms, nuts, and edible flowers, plants.
This is very specific to where you live, but its a great skill to learn!
Living Within You Means
Budgeting and frugal living are awesome, old-fashioned, and self-sufficient skills to learn. Learn how to save money around your home. Believe it or not, most of the skills above will help you to save money.
Be resourceful and frugal, and try hard not to be wasteful. Live within your means, you won’t regret it.
I hope you enjoyed this list of homesteading skills for beginners. Pick one and start today! You can do it.
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