Tips for Living Without a Fridge

Refrigerators are one of the great wonders of modern science, and can greatly improve your quality of life. However, we’ve also grown so dependent on them, we don’t even know how to live without them anymore. Many people in the world still live without modern refrigeration, and it’s certainly not impossible.

There are many reasons you might find yourself living without a refrigerator. If you are a new homesteader, just getting set up, you might be completely off-grid or not have the infrastructure yet on your homestead to power a full-sized refrigerator. You also might find yourself stuck in a long-term power outage, in which case some of the following tips might be useful to know.

DIY Refrigeration

There are a few different options for DIY refrigeration. Obviously, this isn’t the same as modern refrigeration, but there are some things you can create that will help keep foods cool. A root cellar is a great option if you can build one; you could even use a basement or simply bury a large cooler or even an old refrigerator or deep freezer. You could also build what’s called a zeer pot, which is essentially a pot inside of another pot, with sand in between and covered with a damp cloth.

Change Your Thinking

There are so many foods that we simply assume need to be kept in the refrigerator because that’s how we’ve always done it, but many foods can keep quite well at room temperature. Raw eggs that have never been refrigerated, for instance, can keep for up to a month. Butter can also be kept at room temperature, especially in an earthen or porcelain crock. Many kids of cheese will keep for at least a few days at room temperature, and almost all breads and baked goods will as well.

Invest in Good Containers 

The manner of storage will greatly improve the shelf life of your perishable foods. Airtight tins, mason jars, earthen crocks, cheesecloth, linen, are all great options for proper storage. For example, some produce like leafy greens can be stored in a jar with water like a bouquet of flowers, or wrapped in a linen napkin and kept in a cooler or large crock.

Location, Location, Location

Where you keep your food is just as important as how. Try to keep your perishables in a cool, dry, and dark place. Know the coolest, driest places in your kitchen or cellar, and organize your food accordingly.

Preserve Using Other Methods

Canning, drying, pickling and fermenting, and curing (as in meat) are all age-old methods of preserving food that are still used to this day around the world and are great alternatives to refrigeration.

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