How to Keep Food Cold With No Power: Food Refrigeration Techniques


via The Great Northern Prepper

In a Grid down scenario where there is no power, and you either dont have any alternative energies in your home, there are various ways to refrigerate foods, based on age old and modern methods. As preppers it is very important for us to know how to keep food cold without refrigeration.

Clay Pot Refrigeration

Have you ever wondered what our ancestors did without refrigeration? How were they able to prevent their food from spoiling? Some of our ancient civilizations did in fact have refrigeration and used simple items they had on hand to create it.

The zeer, or clay pot refrigeration keeps food cool (icy cold) without electricity by using evaporative cooling. Essentially, a porous outer earthenware pot, lined with wet sand, contains an inner pot (which can be glazed to prevent penetration by the liquid) within which the food is placed. The evaporation of the outer liquid draws heat from the inner pot.

In a short or long-term disaster where power is out, knowing essential skills on how to prevent foods from spoiling will help you survive longer and stay healthier. Further, having this simple device can also help you have a diverse diet during a disaster and prolong food fatigue. The best part is that making this device is incredibly cheap, very effective, and doesn’t require any electricity, which is perfect for those disasters where the power is affected and you have no fuel to power your generators.

All that is needed to create a clay pot refrigerator is two terra cotta pots, one larger than the other, as well as some sand, water, and cloth. To make the “fridge”, you just put one pot inside the other, and fill up the spaces with wet sand, which keeps the inside of the pots cold. You will also need to put a wet towel over the top to keep the warm air and light from getting in.

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from our ancient ancestors. Using what they had available to them, our ancestors seemed to have many of the modern day conveniences we have today.

(his article has been contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition. )

 

Root Cellar Refrigeration

 A root cellar for fall and winter storage is a must for any latitude, even in the south where I live, and cold-season temperatures may not reach a cellar’s ideal levels between 32 and 40 degrees F. But, the simple fact is, the cooler one keeps any food (with few exceptions), the longer it will last.

If my cellars can keep fresh foods edible for even a month longer than the case would be without them, while also providing better summer temperatures for canned and dried foods, cellars will be indispensable additions to my efforts of survival and preparedness. Building this type of food storage container is not at all difficult and takes about two days to complete, with most time spent digging the hole. You might be able to get the job done in less time, but for me it took two days, then again I am lazy and like to take my time while doing things.

Stuff You’ll Need:
Straw Bales
Clear Plastic Sheeting
Plastic Sheeting
Shovel and Pick
Old Deep-freeze Or Refrigerator

Step 1:
Remove motor, shelves and lock from door (so no child can get locked inside).
Step 2:
Dig a hole large enough to hold the deep freeze where the top of the freezer is ground level or slightly below ground level.
Step 3:
Place some rocks in bottom of the hole for drainage.
Step 4:
Place the freezer into hole on its back. The door will open like a lid.
Step 5:
Fill around freezer with soil.
Step 6:
Place vegetables in freezer. Follow storage guidelines for vegetables just as if you were using a cellar.
Step 7:
Cover freezer with a sheet of plastic to keep water from freezing the lid shut.
Step 8:
Place bags of leaves or bales of hay or straw on top of the freezer to help with cold weather.

To keep the metal from rusting, it could be sealed with an exterior-grade sealer, preferably the black-tar product used on the basements of homes (driveway sealer might work too). This tar should also keep out the ants and termites. I just stuck mine in the ground as is but this extra step could extend the life of the set-up. You may need to add a small vent pipe from the freezer to the outside to let in fresh air. Like I said mine was stuck in the ground without much extra effort and I have had no problems thus far, time will tell.

(by M.D. Creekmore Survivalistblog.net)

Building a Root Cellar

Before refrigeration, the root cellar was an essential way to keep carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and other root vegetables fresh through the winter months.

This time-tested storage method still makes sense today—whether you stock a root cellar with your own homegrown produce or the bounty from local farmers’ markets.

Start With a Hole in the Ground

Technically, a root cellar is any storage location that uses natural cooling, insulating, and humidifying properties of the earth.

  • To work properly, a root cellar must be able to hold a temperature of 32º to  40º F and a humidity level of 85 to 95 percent.
  • The cool temperature slows the release of ethylene gas and stops the grow of microorganisms that cause decomposition.
  • The humidity level prevents loss of moisture through evaporation—and the withering looks that go along with it.

Today, root cellars are often attached to houses for easy access, though it can take some effort to create a cold basement corner.

  • The best method is to use the foundation walls on the northeast corner for two sides.
  • Build the other two walls in the basement with stud and board.
  • Insulate the interior walls, ceiling, and door (and any pipes or ducts) to keep the heat out.
  • Ensure there is a ventilation system that allows cool, fresh air from the outside to be brought into the root cellar and stale air to be exhausted out.

Another option outside the house is to dig down into the ground or horizontally into a hillside. A third option is to create is to bury suitable containers such as metal garbage cans or barrels, leaving about 4 inches exposed at the top. Heap earth around the circumference, then cover the lid with straw or mulch and a sheet of plastic to keep everything dry.

How to Keep It Cool

To create the best atmosphere in your root cellar, consider this:

  • Complete temperature stability is reached about 10 feet (3 m) deep.
  • Don’t dig a root cellar near a large tree; the tree’s roots can be difficult to dig through, and they will eventually grow and crack the cellar walls.
  • Inside, wooden shelving, bins, and platforms are the norm, as wood does not conduct heat and cold as rapidly as metal does.
  • Air circulation is critical for minimizing airborne mold, so shelves should stand 1 to 3 inches (3 to 8 cm) away from the walls.
  • For outdoor root cellars, packed earth is the preferred flooring. Concrete works well and is practical for a cellar in a basement.
  • Every root cellar needs a thermometer and a hygrometer (to measure temperature and humidity, respectively), which should be checked daily, if possible.
  • Heat is usually regulated using ventilation to the outside or an exhaust pipe—usually to allow cold air in, often on fall nights to get the temperature down.

Root cellars have been used for centuries, before electricity and refrigeration was the norm they were used to keep the harvest good during the winter. While it’s not such a common sight today many rural homes have a root cellar. In a grid down scenario not having refrigeration can literally mean life or death. With a good root cellar or even a simple pot in pot cooler you can prolong the life of your foods and have a greater chance at survival.

How it works:

A root cellar is a great place to store food because of the low temperature and low humidity. This keeps food from freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer. The soil on top of the root cellar the earth acts as the temperature control.

Originally root cellars held mostly vegetables but they can also accommodate certain fruits and beverages. It was not uncommon in past times to have a root cellar full of alcoholic beverages. Some other foods can be kept in a root cellar primarily jams, salted meat, bread, butter, cheese and even milk and cream. Some food like salads, meat and pies can be kept in the root cellar but this will only prolong their life for a short time. Many other foods will sour and rot even if kept in the root cellar.

Some Examples:

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European Food Storage Pits

Article from Joan Shaw of dragongoose.com

 Some thirty years ago, an international student from eastern Europe remarked to me that what she found most intriguing upon her first trip to the supermarket in the United States was the sight of bins upon bins of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are times when I enter our local markets that I feel equally intrigued, at times near paralyzed, by the choices in the fresh food sections today. Grapefruit from Florida, apples from Australia, blueberries, grapes, peaches, and nectarines from Chile, fresh pineapple from Hawaii, bananas from Central America,  kiwi fruit, mangoes – and that’s just some of the fruit available.

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