Possible without a refrigerator: how to store food in an apartment without electricity

The prospect of possible power outages this winter is motivating high-rise residents to seek answers to difficult questions. One of these is how to preserve foods without refrigeration. Focus He researched what the options might be.

Ukrainians are accustomed to having a stock of food “just in case”, but for almost two years now some citizens’ apartments have resembled real food warehouses with various canned foods and ready-made cereals. And the refrigerators are fully stocked. All these chilled and frozen products are constantly at risk of power outages, as the enemy continues to attack peaceful cities of Ukraine. The experience of generations will help preserve the freshness of food during a possible power outage, because our ancestors somehow managed to get by without a refrigerator.

Backup option: prepare cooler bag

You can do without a refrigerator completely by storing food in your own home, for example, in the basement, cellar, cool room on the veranda or simply in a box near the house.. Some say you can even use a well.

Food can only be stored on the balcony if the weather is “favourable”.

Residents of high-rise buildings have neither wells nor cellars. The balcony remains, but provided the weather is “right”. Therefore, we must look for other universal outlets, which can be thermal bags or cooler bags.

Let’s note right away that these are different things, although store sellers often assure customers of the opposite. Thermal bag (from 150 UAH in Ukrainian stores) works on the principle of a regular thermos, that is, it maintains the current temperature of the products placed in it as much as it can. However, the chilled food in the thermal bag will not get cold.

The cooler bag is a thermally insulated container, the temperature of which is maintained by special cold accumulators (from 160 UAH). The maximum duration of effect is one day, after which the temperature inside the bag begins to approach ambient temperature. Cooler bags differ in shape, size, material, number of batteries – you can choose according to your taste and wallet.

You can make yourself a cooler bag from an ordinary duffel bag, insulation (for example, polyethylene foam) and wide double-sided tape.

On the Internet you can easily find instructions on how to make a cooler bag for yourself from an ordinary sports bag, insulation (for example, polyethylene foam) and wide double-sided tape. Frozen plastic bottles containing a saline solution (6 tablespoons of salt per liter of water) serve as “batteries”. Of course, for many the option of purchasing a ready-made bag is suitable.

Meanwhile, Modern cooler bags are powered by rechargeable batteries that allow you to keep the cold in for up to 12 hours. Such a device can be purchased for 700-1500 hryvnia. But if the bag does not have a battery power source, you need to take care of the coolers in advance – keep them in the freezer until a power outage occurs, and then move the coolers into the bag with the food.

Preserve dairy: Add soda to milk and brine butter

A cooler bag is like an ambulance: it’s effective, but it doesn’t last long. And “folk advice” you can trust will help you keep your food fresher longer. After all, our great-grandmothers somehow got by without a refrigerator.

For example, Unrefrigerated, hard cheese will keep well on a paper or linen towel soaked in salt water.. After wrapping the cheese in such a towel, you can put it in a bag or container. Also, cheese can be cut into small pieces and placed in a bowl with salted water, but it will definitely need to be rinsed with cold water before use.


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Butter can be placed in a glass jar and salted water added. This way it will stay fresh for at least a week.

To extend the “life” of milk, you need to boil it by adding a little soda. After boiling, pour the milk into a glass jar and place it in a bowl filled with cold water until it reaches half of it. Then cover it with a napkin or towel soaked in water so that its edges remain in the water and place this entire structure in a dark place in a draft. The water will evaporate and keep the temperature low. Not everyone has the patience for this storage method. So in most cases, the best option is to buy powdered milk, which can last for years if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Preservation of meat and fish products: in vinegar or mustard

Meat can be wrapped in a cloth soaked in vinegar and placed in a lidded pot in a dark place. Before cooking, the meat should be thoroughly rinsed with water.

Without refrigeration, fresh meat can be stored for several days by spreading mustard on it or by sprinkling it well with salt and pepper. In fact, meat is marinated this way and can then be baked in the oven.

Also, folk experience says that a piece of meat can be well preserved if it is covered on all sides with fresh nettle or horseradish leaves. A more “winter” and urban way is to coat the meat with garlic or onion. You can also grate it with lemon juice, pack it tightly in a pot with a lid, and place it in a cool place (of course, a balcony is best).

If you need to store frozen meat, it should be wrapped in several layers of newspaper, then in old clothes or a blanket. The more layers, the longer the meat will not thaw. Meat separated from the bone preserves its freshness better.


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All these methods can be used to store fish. However, as for sausage, boiled sausage, liver products, ham, homemade meat sausage and blood sausage cannot be stored at room temperature. Smoked sausage can last up to 4 days in a dry, dark and ventilated area. Uncooked smoked sausage lasts longest without refrigeration because it contains little moisture and lots of spice. In a dry, ventilated room at temperatures up to plus 15 degrees, raw smoked sausage in a solid casing can be stored for up to a month.

Egg saving: You don’t need to do anything extra

You can find some labor-intensive tips online for storing eggs; coat each egg with butter, wrap with parchment or cover with sand. But the truth is that eggs actually stay just fine at room temperature. The only condition is that they do not need to be washed. In this case, the eggs can last up to four weeks in the unplugged refrigerator and nothing additional needs to be done.

Some people think that boiled eggs last longer than raw eggs, and they are wrong. The shelf life of boiled eggs at room temperature is no more than three days.They won’t last more than a week in the refrigerator.


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Preserving greens and vegetables: wrap them in paper and make “bouquets”

Lettuce, dill, parsley and other greens can be placed in water like an ordinary bouquet. Such a bouquet will last for several days, provided that you change the water regularly.

There is another good way to preserve greenery. You need to wash it, shake off the water and put it in a glass jar with a screw cap. In this way, the greens will be stored for at least a week, even when the refrigerator is closed.


Cutlets in foil and greens in a glass jar: how to extend the life of food in the refrigerator

When it comes to vegetables and fruits, let’s first remind you of the ones that will be stored at room temperature for the longest time. These are potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, garlic, onions, zucchini and apples.

Other Vegetables and fruits can be covered with paper towels and stored in refrigerator drawers.. Towels will extend the life of food even if the refrigerator is constantly turned off – they will absorb excess moisture. If each unwashed vegetable is wrapped separately in paper and placed in a container, it will remain fresh for at least ten days.

Source: Focus


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