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Igloo-fridge idea  RSS feed

 
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I wonder if, first snow of the year, someone built an igloo out of large, well packed blocks, it would serve as a fridge/freezer until the weather warmed up. Mostly for meat, vegetables are better stored in a root cellar as they aren't nearly as calorie dense as meat, and will keep fine there until spring with some skill and tricks, like the old tomatoes in ash one, you know.

Who needs a freezer in summer anyways, there's plenty of fresh food to be had in the summer, winter is more the season for eating meat I feel. At least, it tastes nicer then. I figured I could go on a hunt about the time of the first snowfall, kill some large and tasty animal, drag it home, then cut it up and pack it in snow in my igloo-freezer. A second one could be built for use as a fridge, without the snow pack and perhaps with a small candle inside to keep it above freezing, for cooked meat and fish basically.

Plastic bags would probably need to be employed for maximum results and keeping pest animals out of the meat. But they could be reused ad infinitum with some care at least. Buying quality ones in the first place would sure help.

Oh yeah, side note, I read that back in the day old time hunters would carry potatoes or some other starch hunting with them and let their dogs have a feast by cooking them and bleeding out the animal over it. I don't like the taste of blood and it's hard to safely transport anyways so this seems like a great alternative to wasting it.

A google search of this idea turns up nothing but pages and pages of ads for igloo brand stuff, lol. Still, I suspect Inuits, Sami, etc. probably do it, and it's not my own original idea, haha. Maybe that's where I heard of it actually. But I also think it would work well outside of the Arctic in the more northerly temperate climates.

I think this could be the RMH of cold, and food preservation. It takes zero fuel and not too much skill or time or effort (yes I've built an igloo before, and not a bad one I might say, I was impressed with myself anyways). My best idea before this was sun drying the meat and making soups, stews and stocks out of it, but this is way better if it works, because stock with some chewy bits of rehydrated meat in it isn't nearly as nice as juicy, sliceable roasts.
 
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Keep in mind down a few feet temp is usually around 55°F.
 
L. Tims
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One would be used as a freezer by packing snow in with the meat. The other one would be a fridge for fish and cooked meat. I don't think those would keep very well at 55 degrees.
 
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Here is an article along the lines of your idea.  One drawback that the article mentions:

The hungry scavengers of winter will be very interested in the “abandoned” food they’ve found. Yes, some critters can smell it through the ice. And while most creatures won’t be able to scratch or bite through your icy storage locker, it’s still a possibility. For extra security, bury the ice box in slushy snow and allow it to freeze into one solid block. Then, only humans with tools can break the ice and retrieve the food. If you find that certain creatures keep visiting the box, you could also set up traps to take advantage to the draw.




https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/how-make-outdoor-ice-cache-frozen-food-storage-winter#page-2
 
L. Tims
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Cool, thanks Anne. I still feel better about the igloo though, if only for aesthetic reasons. I feel like it gives the whole thing more security and plus it's easier to tell if it DOES get busted into.

As for scavengers, I've got one thing the paleo-indians didn't have- zip-lock bags.
 
pioneer
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I think this design hinges on a few things that could be out of your control.  First I'd research how igloos are traditionally made.  I believe they rely on crusty snow that is pretty thick (10"+). 

So the quality of the snow you get may greatly impact its ability to hold an igloo shape.

Secondly, early in the winter the ground isn't all that cold.  If you put a relatively insulated igloo over it, the temp will likely be well above freezing in the igloo.  That's fine for food (if it's low enough) but the igloo itself may melt on you.

Lastly, while zip lock bags may keep the smell to a minimum, smaller four legged critters may like the warmer environment of your fridge to overwinter.  Or voles in the area that are tunneling under the snow may just luck out and find it.  Once inside they may nibble anything just to see what it is and voila, they have food and you don't.

An alternative that you might want to consider is an ice house or ice igloo.  If you have cold nights (or a lake) you can freeze blocks and store them in an ice house or build an ice block building.  The block building could be off the ground on pallets (to stay cold).  The temp inside would probably be right around freezing.  This probably won't work but it might be an option...
 
L. Tims
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Thanks Mike. I know there is an ideal type of snow for igloos but if you have the wrong kind it can be mitigated to some degree by packing it into forms to make snow bricks. That's what I did anyways and it worked nicely despite there being only four or five inches of powder snow on the ground. I just had to collect from a larger area.

Might the solution to both the small burrowing animals problem and the melting problem be a raised and insulated floor of some sort instead of building right on the ground? It could just be a couple layers of bricks with a cheap blanket over them.
 
Mike Jay
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It sure could be a solution to both.  Give it a shot and see what happens!
 
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