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Living without a fridge??

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 24th March 2010, 1:05 pm

Our fridge freezer in knackerd..seriously on its last legs...dread to think how much electric it's eating! :pale:

SO I've been doing a little wandering around internet land and am serioulsy considering NOT buying a new one.
Looking in my fridge now (which isn't even half full, despite just going shopping) I have marge, some open UHT rice milk, some left over pastry (which looks like it need throwing!) condiments and jam and some salad-ie stuff.
The freezer has 2 ice cube trays and 4 frozen peas...hmmmm.

I really don't think its worth it.

For at least 3-4 months of the year here I could store FROZEN food in my porch let alone fridge stuff, and as I am no real housekeeper and am always leaving stuff out the fridge, even in high summer, I know the chances of us going down with food poisioning are low.

SO what do you think???

Anyone else doing it here??

I plan to turn the old fridge freezer into a winter "fridge" (by replaceing the door with fly mesh) in a cold place and using the freezer part for veg storage.

Really like to hear what your thoughts are Smile
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Post by Compostwoman on 24th March 2010, 4:45 pm

Well

pre electric, people managed...but then people shopped more ( and there were more shops!) and there was more fresh food available I suspect...

Not sure I could store the produce I grow to eat and to sell without some form of cooler...alsothough it could be an evaporative set up ( terracotta pot style) or a sunken, insulated cool store...

hmmm food for thought, indeed...

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 24th March 2010, 4:55 pm

Lots of bits online about the terrecotta pots evaporation method. I can understand the need to chill if you have a large amount of produce to sell, but I think my domestic circumstances just no longer warrent a whole fridge!

One of the pot ideas is here.. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fother90.cooperhewitt.org%2FDesign%2Fpot-in-pot-cooler&h=c4d64dd45dca5fe6703ef72b1701ae44 Dont know if it would work in Scotland, not dry enough??

At the end of the day, my "milk" is UHT, my eggs are in the chickens (!!) I pick fresh veg from the garden in the hottest weather, and its cold enough in winter to store brought fresh produce safely.
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Post by Compostwoman on 24th March 2010, 5:25 pm

And you don't have meat or dairy to worry about, do you....

Probally quite do able for your circumstances, tbh...

also could use a bucket of cold water to cool things, I have done that in hot weather ( whats that?) to keep things chilled...

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Post by Guest on 24th March 2010, 7:06 pm

Interesting Carless...I went down the same thought route as we only have milk products to worry about. I always wanted a larder as it is better for cheese and eggs...fridges are for meat storage.

Anyway I was give a new small fridge that seems to be quite efficient. I run it at about 5degC. The eggs are out of the fridge. So far my other food store is at about 8degC so its got all the veg and bottled and jams etc in it.

We do have a huge freezer but then I feed us all year on what I primarily grow in the summer. And I decided it is worth the cost.

As long as you use the non-milk milk up quickly I would have thought a north larder would work. You could always try it and see..if not buy a new efficienct small fridge..?

In france they sell mess cages that hang up in the larder for things you want to keep the flies off.

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 24th March 2010, 7:16 pm

@ Zoe i think I have seen simlar cages in camping shops?

We are 5 people so an open carton of rice milk or orange juice is gone fairly quick Wink

We may think about getting a mini fridge , the kind that take 6 drinks cans, to use in a heat wave *cue hysterical laughing*. The only thing I would need to keep cool would be the marge.
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Post by Compostwoman on 24th March 2010, 7:24 pm

I woul;d have thought that if you dug a hole and put an insultated box ( old fridge?) down inside, so it was well in the soil, and had the abiliry to put water in a container inside this...and then have a container in the water to put the stuff you want to cool....

that this would work quite well...

I am in the throes of constructing a hole/box/water etc ...for use at the circle in the wood....

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Post by Guest on 24th March 2010, 7:49 pm

Zoe wrote:In france they sell mess cages that hang up in the larder for things you want to keep the flies off.

That was supposed to be MESH cage...sorry too tired!

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 24th March 2010, 7:51 pm

If you live a meatless, dairyless existence then it would certainly be a great deal easier. As Zoe said, with a proper larder it would also be much easier. Modern houses seldom have larders however, and are not constructed in such a way that a proper one could be easily arranged within. Although it should not be impossible.
Decent stone slabs would be key.
For many types of veg and fruit a larder would be better than a fridge, as fridges rob so much moisture.
A root cellar would be another fine idea for fridge avoidance.

Although we are major meaties, we store a large amount of food outside of the fridge - hams, salamis, sides of bacon etc all hang under our North-facing porch for months at a time. and much of our veg is stored tehre in stacked baskets.

I would rather not be without my fridge or freezers though. getting pastry cases down to temp, forming beef patties... in fact, I have to confess I always look rather covetously at the blast chillers they have in Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef America, and when I have my post-lottery kitchen I may well have one. In fact, my post-lottery win kitchen design is not very Green at all I have to say.

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Post by polgara on 24th March 2010, 9:05 pm

Your post lottery kitchen may not be very green Billy, but I bet it would be used very efficiently

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Post by Dandelion on 25th March 2010, 9:47 am

Our fridge freezer is also looking very knackered, and I am daily monitoring it in case it completely dies on me! I will replace it, for storing what we grow in the garden, and also because we are on a low income we do make use of 'buy one get one free' offers, and store the free one in the freezer. Looking at possible replacements, it's interesting that energy consumption is either A or A+ on most of thee models I've looked at.

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Post by Guest on 25th March 2010, 1:21 pm

Billy mentioned the stone slabs and I thought of that this morning as my butter pot is kept on marble. I have another in the pantry.

I think the most important thing about the efficiency of the fridges and freezers is the number of times the doors are opened...and left open whilst the milk is poured Argghhh!! (guess who the guilty party is..!)

But the other thing I thought of Carless - is how would you chill you Champagne if you had no fridge!

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 25th March 2010, 1:49 pm

Time for the icehouse to make a reappearance IMO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_house_%28building%29

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 25th March 2010, 4:04 pm

Damn it YES!! The champers!!

Yes, an ice house would be fantastic..Could have filled one up this year. Bet you if I dug one out this year bet we'd have no snow at all!
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Post by Guest on 25th March 2010, 4:17 pm

Wood Troll thought you could build an ice house too!

It might be interesting to bury the old fridge freezer on its back so you can open the doors (perhaps put polysterene over door and chose north facing area in shade etc)...fill up the freezer part with ice and then gradually transfer some into the fridge bit to see how long you can keep it cold enough....

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 25th March 2010, 4:26 pm

Please note if you do bury an old fridge in the ground (better to use as a mini-root cellar than a freezer but whatever), make sure you install a child-proof locking mechanism on it. The potential risk of an inquisitive child falling in (or playing hide and seek) and being unable to reopen it from within is too hideous to contemplate (and yes it has happened, hence my warning).

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 25th March 2010, 4:38 pm

Well said Wilhelm. I think you could also take off a bit of it so you can open the door from the inside?? Or maybe a padlock would be a better idea?
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 25th March 2010, 4:46 pm

The problem with opening from the inside is the seal around the door - you could remove this/make a hole, as you say, but this would compromise the coolth retention of the fridge.
Padlock is the safer option IMO. Also prevents scavenging nocturnal veggie thieves from raiding your stash.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 25th March 2010, 4:48 pm

Also another thing worth mentioning when using old fridges as storage for food outside is to wrap some chicken wire around the insulated bit by the cooling mechanism at the bottom - we were using a big old fridge as a ratproof store in our shed and the little ****ers gnawed their way up through the insulant and laid waste to the whole contents. Being the only bit not encased in metal this is the Achille heel, rodentially speaking.

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Post by Compostwoman on 25th March 2010, 8:16 pm

Gods I hate rats...

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Post by Dandelion on 28th March 2010, 6:13 pm

I was talking to a close friend this morning who is in her 80s. She lived in a house in the wilds of Herefordshire with no electricity when she was a young married woman, and remembers digging a hollow in the shade of a big tree and burying an earthenware crock so that its top was level with the soil. I can't remember if she soaked the crock with water, and it must have been covered, but it kept butter fresh during the summer. I can find out more details if anyone's interested.

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Post by Guest on 30th March 2010, 7:33 pm

I wonder what temperature it gets to?
We have a cave on the north side of the valley in shade of some trees. Even when its in the 40s outside it doesn't go above 16degC. Thats fine for wine but a bit hot for dairy products. But if we had a crock pot inside...as long as we don't open the door too much...

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 30th March 2010, 8:01 pm

It won't get to any temperature. it will stay fairly constant if you bury it reasonably. that;'s the principle of geothermal energy: constant temperature.

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Post by ACarLessFamily on 30th March 2010, 8:19 pm

Been looking at these options and we're going to buy some thermometers to check out some likely places. One place we thought of is a space under the floor in the hall where the stop tap is for the water, aways cool in there. Might be worth looking at some sort of crock pot system and a more accessible hatch to get to it.
Some great comments here guys Smile
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Post by Aberlemno on 2nd April 2010, 7:29 am

I grew up in the days before fridges - it was the early 1960s before we got a fridge which had been converted from gas to electric. In fact, we still have it and it will freeze a cucumber at 10 paces!! Mum used to keep meat overnight in the meat safe (like Zoe mentioned - zinc holey box), but mainly shopped on a daily basis. To keep the milk from going off she would put it in a bowl of cold water, which worked pretty well. Cheese, however, despite being well-wrapped in greaseproof, always looked a bit sweaty with a cracked hard outer "shell" . . . Butter regularly went rancid in summer. So yes, you can manage, but there are certain things I would be dubious about leaving laying about on a warm summer's day - leftover rice being one of them.

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