Chilling Food Without Electricity

Reproduced from Practical Action

Practical Action is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. Registered in the United Kingdom, they find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology they enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions – transforming their lives forever and protecting the world around them. Practical Action works directly in more than 45 developing countries across the world. They have an extensive library of simple techniques to solve survival problems.  

Zeer PotThe Zeer Pot Fridge -How a clay pot refrigerator can help beat hunger

In hot climates, food doesn’t stay fresh for long. Tomatoes go off in just two days. After four days carrots and okra are rotten. With no means of preserving their crops, poverty stricken families have been battling hunger and even famine.

One ingenious solution is the zeer pot. Using this simple technology, the same vegetable can last for up to 20 days. This all natural refrigerator offers families, who already succeed in food production, their right to food preservation and really can help to improve their everyday lives; for now and for the future.

Zeer Pot – Simple technology that brings fresh hope

The zeer pot is a simple fridge made of local materials. It consists of one earthenware pot set inside another, with a layer of wet sand in between (about 2 inches). As the moisture evaporates it cools the inner pot, keeping up to 12kg (~26 lbs.) of fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. Wet down twice daily. The pots should be covered with a ceramic lid or wet cloth. They should be kept in a well ventilated area but out of direct sunlight. The pots work best when placed on a metal frame for better air circulation. The average temperature drops 23.5 º F. below the outside temperature. Drier climates work best. They are often called the “desert refrigerator.”

Use a Zeer Pot to store fruits and vegetables

Deterioration of fruits and vegetables during storage depends largely on temperature. One way to slow down this change and so increase the length of time fruits and vegetables can be stored, is by lowering the temperature to an appropriate level. It must be remembered that if the temperature is too low the produce will be damaged and also that as soon as the produce leaves the cold store, deterioration starts again and often at a faster rate.

The ceramic refrigerator has proved very successful and it has been tested with a number of different vegetables. For example tests have shown that these foods can be kept fresh for the following amount of time:

Tomatoes – 3 weeks          Okra – 2 weeks          Rocket – 5 days        Carrots – 20 days        Meat – 14 days

In a short or long term interruption of electricity in the US, this could make a difference in preventing food spoilage as well as providing some variety in one’s diet. They are currently being used successfully in Sudan, Gambia and Nigeria, Africa. Consider adding this technique to your knowledge base.

Zeer pot

Reproduced with Permission

Additional References:

The Zeer pot emergency refrigerator – http://4dtraveler.net/2012/05/11/the-zeer-pot-emergency-refrigerator/

Gambian farmers benefit from Sudanese fridge -

http://www.new-ag.info/en/news/newsitem.php?a=1717

 June 2014

 

 

 

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