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Fridge Free Solutions

 
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Whenever I use a Coleman cooler, a wet towel is put on top and around. The evaporative cooling reduces the temperature differential between inside and out, on hot days. Sometimes the cooler sits in a shallow pit in a shaded area. A chunk of blue foam and old carpet, insulate the surrounding ground. Well water is in the 40s and 50s around here. A hand pumped spring house could work for most foods. My grandparents had a spring house for a small dairy operation. The water never exceeded 40F. The area around the well and spring house was covered in black maple. They cast dense shade. Firewood was harvested from the grove. Thus, those trees provided heat and cool.
 
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C. Letellier wrote:My mother when she lived on the mountain had what they called the spring house. It was simply an insulated building over a small spring that always ran. It maintained about 45 to 50 degrees. In the summer the water cooled the building and in the winter it heated it.



I've noticed this winter that my unpowered hot tub is constantly about 46F. It sits on the ground with only about 3" of insulation. This has been a mild (Seattle) winter, no snow, occasional frost, lots of ambient lows around 25-35F.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Erica Wisner wrote:I think the eggs thing is partly due to washing their coatings off - it's required to wash them to get rid of poop, but it also makes them more open to losing moisture and accepting bacteria.
Modern battery farms are sort of intrinsically unhealthy and then we wash the outside to feel better about it.
We keep eggs at room temperature and have not had problems - if we get them locally, they are fresher than from the store, and keep several weeks.


You are right: when the egg is laid, there is a "bloom"[that is the technical term] that seals it. With that bloom on, it will keep a minimum of 3 weeks without any refrigeration even in hot climes. But Mrs John Q Public likes her eggs white so she can see any dirt on it, so egg factories wash the bloom off ... and the egg starts deteriorating much quicker.
Besides flour, starch was used. Hens stop laying in the winter (or lay a lot less) The last few batches of eggs were kept in flour and starch. The eggs lasted through the winter all the way to Candlemas. That is how the tradition was developed to have crèpes around Candlemas in France. You could use the last of these eggs for this.The 2nd of February is Pancake Day in France, called la Chandeleur. It marks the end of the Christmas period coming exactly 40 days after Christmas and is a Catholic holiday, Candlemas.
 
Sadie West
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I'm downsizing but leaving a non-working fridge and microwave in place as kitchen storage. What should I be prepared for in the way of mold, etc? A dish of rice pudding in the microwave quickly developed mold. After I clean out the totally moldy fridge, can I treat it to keep mold from coming back? Or are there certain items that can never be stored there, such as fresh veg, salad dressings, and other wet things on the "don't need refrigeration" list?
 
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Location: Upper Midwest - Third Coast - USDA Zone 6a/b
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I haven't the time to read through all of these great comments but I would like to add my opinion even if it is redundant.

The old farm stead where I grew up had a 'milk house' designed to keep cow's milk cool. I think the same principles could be applied in this situation.

A windmill pumped ground water at temperatures in the low to mid 50s F into the concrete block building where the water filled a concrete trough to a height predetermined by a simple drain pipe. When the water level was higher than the drain the top increment of water would drain outside. In this way the tank was constantly being filled by relatively cool water and the warmer surface water is draining constantly. This was good enough to store milk for some time.

Additionally, the windmill also turned a horizontal shaft that entered the building at eave height and extended inside where a belt drive spun a generator that charged glass batteries and supplied enough juice to run some lights in the home.
 
pollinator
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Sadie West wrote:I'm downsizing but leaving a non-working fridge and microwave in place as kitchen storage. What should I be prepared for in the way of mold, etc? A dish of rice pudding in the microwave quickly developed mold. After I clean out the totally moldy fridge, can I treat it to keep mold from coming back? Or are there certain items that can never be stored there, such as fresh veg, salad dressings, and other wet things on the "don't need refrigeration" list?



On non porus surface mold is fairly easy to kill off. You may still have a bit of trouble with nooks and crannies but most of those problems should go away after a couple of washes. Wash with soap and water to get clean. Then wash with a chlorine bleach mixture and then rinse. If you have an odor problem fill it with crumpled news papers and sprinkled with bake soda and let sit a few days closed and then wash again.(the warmer it is the better this works usually) Usually you can get rid of even bad odors if you do this complete cycle 3 or 4 times. If it can sit open in the sun for a few days that often helps too. Have never had a mold problem after but I have never used it for long term un-refrigerated storage either. If you object to bleach other sterilizing agents will work.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Hydrogen peroxide can be sprayed over a clean surface and it will break down odor. I've used a tree sprayer to coat large areas with bleach. A full face asbestos mask is employed.
 
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TO: R. Ranson
FROM: Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT: Refrigeration
DATE: PM 6:29 Thursday 31 Mars 2016
TEXT:

1. A DEEP cellar = 15 feet below grade will stay 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

2. Build a spring house: Troughs of cold water cool food much more efficiently than cold air in modern refrigerators. You don't need to have a spring; you can pipe water from a nearby stream. A 4-inch diameter line will provide sufficient cold water for a spring house.

3. Build an ice house and store your own cold. Use 1 foot thick foam insulation to keep ice from melting. You don't need to dig a pond for harvesting ice. You can build wood forms on top of the ground then line with heavy duty construction plastic. You can build your own household ice box. When I was young, ice boxes were insulated with natural cork.

4. Conventional refrigerators do not use vast amounts of energy. Choose models with good insulation. Chest models are most efficient because cold air does not fall out when lid is opened.

5. To make your electric refrigerator much more efficient install the condenser coils on the outside, north wall of the house. Keep coils shaded. This will cut your electricity bills substantially. You can also put condenser coils into a flume; water cooling is much more efficient than air cooling.

6. Consider a Natural Gas Refrigerator = it runs on a pilot light = not much energy at all.

ERIC KOPEREK
 
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Sadie West wrote:After I clean out the totally moldy fridge, can I treat it to keep mold from coming back? Or are there certain items that can never be stored  there, such as fresh  veg,  salad dressings, and other wet things on the "don't need refrigeration" list?



After you get the fridge totally cleaned of mold [be sure to check the gasket], then leave the door open until it is completely dry. I stick a towel in the door so it cannot close and leave it open a couple of days.  When you start using it to store items be sure those item are also thoroughly dry.

I have used a non working fridge to store items, but I would think vegetables would give off moisture or a gas that might lead to mold.  I would only use it as a storage for things like cereals, mustard, ketchup, etc that you want to keep bugs/pests out of, unless you wanted to continue it as a fridge buy using ice.

With salad dressing, it may need to be refrigerated but I believe that mayo does not.  I an not a authority so do some research on what doesn't need refrigeration to keep it from going rancid.

Tomatoes and onions can be wrapped in paper to make them last longer.  Putting celery in water helps keep it longer.  You can refresh lettuce by putting it in ice water. You can do an internet search on how to make specific vegetable last longer.

I am very interested in Fridge free solutions as how other are actually using other methods than drying, canning and lacto fermenting.  Putting things in oil or liquor might be something that has not been discussed.
 
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Or simply you can use a clay pitcher. No need to make this big size clay fridge which can break easily into pieces.
 
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It's interesting how there is a trend and need to make and eat things like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi etc. Actually, this is a side effect of non-refrigeration. In our over refrigerated life, we need to create dishes that came up, just because of lack of refrigeration.
In mountains and hills of northern Italy, there were many abandoned old tiny cheese cellars built out of stone, usually too small to go inside. Most are now filled with trash, plastic etc.
In Poland I also remember there was a specialty that consisted of a sour potato/veg soup, basically a soup that was cooked and then was slightly soured.
People take supplement to add good bacteria to the gut, when in fact you could get all this by avoiding refrigeration. Many people complain about digestion problems.
People have a fear of bugs and bad bacterias, and have lost their instinct and knowledge to "smell" if the thing has gone bad or is based on friendly bacteria.
I remember that I soured unintentionally coconut milk, by mistake, was very nice actually!
Actually I have seen food becoming truly disgusting in some people's fridge, when they forget things, just because there is no need to keep a close or frequent look on your food, things really start to turn bad in the fridge. And then I truly do not want to put my food in that fridge, it is more of a hazard, in my opinon.
Dried food is great! Dried fruits is so much nicer than jam, and it tend to mould after some time, even in a very cold fridge.

 
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One thing I’ve wanted for a long time is a “California closet”.  Put a vent pipe thru the top to expel warm air and a screened access pipe in the bottom to the unheated, dirt basement. Wire mesh trays holding food between.

I don’t know if someone suggested this or not, don’t have time to read the entire thread, sorry!

I tried a cut and paste from an old USDA article, but it didn’t work. Two different food boxes are talked about in Comfort & convinces in farmers’ homes by Beattie. Seems to be in the 1909 USDA ag yearbook, if reading it correctly.
 
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