F r i d g e - l e s s L i v i n g
I have been inspired to write about my journey of living without a fridge. I know it is done by many across the globe and is achievable; sometimes you just don’t know where to begin.
We have been fortunate to be raised in households with running water and electricity as the world modernises to ‘move forward’. For a long time I have been on a journey of breaking down learnt patterns and behaviours that are common and the norm, but at what cost? I have been on a search to find the simple and joyous, reduce my ecological impact on the world around me and also save pennies. With costs of living always on the rise and food being an extremely important part of our lives ,I wanted to find a way to live that gave my family and myself nourishing meals whilst saving money and creating the smallest of footprint.
It is a lifestyle choice. You spend more time with your food and learning how to best utilize it. The last thing you want to be doing is throwing out food waste.
I live in a double brick cottage in central Victoria so the house is cold during winter. My weekly fresh veggie box from a local farm can last the whole week without going off by using simple storage methods, and through Summer, I get a little more creative and make sure I use the vegetables that spoil faster, example leafy greens, such as chard, kale and salad leaves, first. The hardy vegetables such as zucchini will keep well until the end of the week sometimes for two weeks in the basket. Fresh herbs are stored hung up as they are great fresh or dried. Once dried you can then store them in a jar creating, your own mixed herb combo. We also grow some of our own foods.
I have used and created my own recipes, but I have found eating to season and using the base pantry items with a more creative approach is needed. A good base in cooking helps with this. Making an ingredient go across multiple dishes is also another way of making the food go further. I allowed myself four years to complete my journey slowly before the big switch off. I am not vegan, but having a vegan base diet helps automatically with storing your food, as the diet doesn’t have higher risk foods such as dairy and meat. I do eat and cook with these items, but they are a treat, as I will buy them when in town, which isn’t all the time. If you are near a shop, look at it as a communal fridge. I will keep some jerky and I am on a search for a hard cheese I can store on the bench top like they used to do. Weaning yourself off milk and cheese can be hard; they are quite addictive, but knowing they aren’t gone forever does make this easier.
Artificial refrigeration began in the mid-1750s, and developed in the early 1800s. In 1834, the first working vapour-compression refrigeration system was built. The first commercial ice-making machine was invented in 1854. In 1913 refrigerators for use in the home were invented.
I have a passion for history and going about life merging the old with the new. Modern appliances are helpful and convenient, but everything does have its place. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should always do.
Other tricks I have found to help get around not having a fridge is storing carrots submerged in water. They will last a few days before going limp and to extend their life further they can be processed into snacks or meals, either by roasting or making into a dip - you can even pickle them. Placing leafy greens or herbs in jars of water for a day or two like you would with a vase of flowers extends their life. I prefer to hang leafy greens and use before turning yellow and herbs fresh or dry. Potatoes are stored in a cool dark cupboard. Onions and garlic are hung to dry and then stored like the potatoes. General fruit and vegetables are stored in a basket on the bench top: cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, squash, beans, capsicum, eggplant, corn, broccoli and cauliflower.
Some basic pantry items that are great to have in the cupboard are:
Main Base: Flour, oats, dried lentils, salt, sugar.
Fats & Oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, butter (in winter).
Baking Items: Baking powder, bi-carbonate soda, desiccated coconut, honey, malt syrups.
Tinned Foods: tomatoes, mixed veg, mushroom, fruits, tuna.
Dried Foods: Fruit and nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, tea and coffee.
Preserves/Pickles: curry pastes, fruit leather, sauerkraut, pickled gherkins & onions, antipasto items such as grilled capsicum, artichoke, olives and sundried tomatoes.
I will be working on a more in-depth guide with more information on:
Recipes using stored food
Safe Food Handling
I hope some of this information is helpful and I do look forward to bringing forth a more in-depth guide about it all.