Blog

Cold Storage

We were just talking yesterday about how great our small fridge is. I expect that most Irish people take their fridges and freezers for granted and would not even consider living without one although as a nation we are not very far removed from living without them.

Rural electrification only happened in the sixties for most but not all of rural Ireland. I remember, as a child, visiting relatives (often elderly) living on small farms in the country who did not have indoor plumbing, never mind fridges.

I didn’t think that there was anything unusual about this because I grew up visiting these families and always enjoyed my visits. For me the excitement of being involved with farm animals was my main priority.

Nowadays we even have small fridges plugged into our cars for picnics and camping trips – haven’t we come a long way?

We have a small hand-me-down fridge which has no ice compartment and is relatively quiet in operation.  It is only ever plugged in and switched on during the summer time.

The main reason that we don’t switch on the fridge in the winter time is that we don’t have as much power coming in from our Photovoltaic panels during the shorter winter days as we do in the “longer day seasons”.

When we finish the wind turbine we will have more power coming in, however we have enough to do us at the moment and our main priority is house-building right now. It’s more important to us to spend our time working on the house at the moment, we want to get as much building work done as possible before the winter hits.

For us it’s not so much that we don’t have enough power in the winter, it’s more a case of how we chose to use that power, what electrical needs we want to meet.

We live in a mobile home which doesn’t have an insulated floor so we utilise this cold floor space in the lower cupboards as a storage space for some food items. For example we don’t often use cows milk, we prefer for a number of reasons to use soya milk – organic when possible and non-gmo of course. We buy the milk by the box of ten cartons and we store these in the cold floor cupboard.

I guess we use this cupboard like an old fashioned pantry. We store the soya milk, fruit juice and number of other items that are best stored at colder temperatures.

Because we live in a uninsulated building we do use the stove to keep ourselves warm in the winter. We have found that by using the fridge as a cold box we can keep all of our perishable food at a much lower temperature than room temperature so that is where we store cheeses, left-over dinners, butter etc.

In fact pretty much everything that we keep in the fridge when it is switched on is also kept there over the winter when it is switched off. This system does require utilising a small door stopper to prevent the fridge becoming a little
whiffy.  Other than that we have had no problem with our system of going
unplugged.

One advantage of having no freezer is that we need to eat ice-cream as soon as it comes in the door! We have no problem with doing that either…

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