#122 Using nature as a fridge or freezer

There were once no fridges.

Rooting beyond the purple stuff for Sunny D, popping open last night’s salty leftovers, and fishing out oily salad dressing that expired two years ago were dreams, dreams, they were all just dreams. Back then We The People stored food with uncold techniques like canning, drying, salting, and pickling. As you can imagine, dinner most nights was beef jerky, pickled onions, and canned peaches. And maybe a glass of pond water if you were lucky.

Of course, nowadays most of us have big humming boxes keeping our cola cold, milk fresh, and veggies crisp. It’s easy to take them for granted and get used to the ever-present convenience, but when your fridge is jammed, broken, or without power, you notice all right. Clumpy milk and hot yogurt get noticed all right.

That’s why it’s great using nature as a fridge or freezer.

If you’re from the snowy side of the planet you love tossing a few cans of Coke in a fishnet in a chilly lake, leaving frozen burgers outside by the barbecue, or planting a bottle of white wine on the back porch before the guests come over. Sure, sometimes the drinks get a little too cold or a bit covered in snow, but more often than not Ma Nature does the job jussssssssssssst fine.


Join us! The Book of (Holiday) Awesome will be launched in Toronto at the Indigo Manulife Centre on Monday, November 14th at 7pm. I’d love to meet you there.

Photos from: here and here

34 thoughts on “#122 Using nature as a fridge or freezer

  1. That is totally splendid! My mom used to put the big pot of Christmas turkey leftovers outside to cool for the night before it was made into soup. Yum! Snow cooled wine and beer are also high on my list.

  2. We don’t get enough snow to use as an awesome esky. Although, our house is usually cold enough in winter that we can leave refridgerated goods sitting on the counter for days…

  3. YES! It just got cold enough here (and our fridge full enough) that we’ve started using our garage as extra fridge space! Cheesecakes, casseroles, etc. are all living out there now :)

  4. this is unfortunately not possible in south Louisiana… however we can cook an egg on the concrete in the summertime! Still pretty awesome though!

  5. Where we live we need be careful not to invite mountain lions, racoons, bears and other not so welcome species to the home-front but the idea is
    ~ Cool ~

  6. My sister moved from UP Michigan to Texas about 3 years ago. Half way through cooking Thanksgiving dinner she panicked as she realized she couldn’t use a picnic table on the deck as the extra fridge.

    1. The same thing happened to my mom one year when the weather was unseasonably warm! I was a little skeptical of the effectiveness of a few ice packs stuffed around the leftovers…

  7. You can also hang beverages off the side of your boat/canoe if the water is cool!

    My uncle died recently, and one story that got retold several times at his services was the time that he created benches and beverage coolers by digging out the snow so that he and my aunt and their guests could carry on their yearly tradition of watching the Super Bowl outside. He was a cool guy. :)

  8. This is cool when it’s a choice, but when it’s not, well then it’s not as fun. In younger, poorer days, the refrigerator broke down in my apt. With no money to purchase a new one, I ended keeping things in a box on the porch for the winter. Since I lived on the second floor, it wasn’t fun to run downstairs to the porch to get a glass of milk in the morning, esp. if it had frozen overnight! Ketchup popsicle anyone? LOL! Have to say, however, it certainly saved me as I was able to stash some cash over the winter and bought a frig that spring.

    1. Agree Kathy! We have been without electricity for 5 days due to an early snow storm with lots of tree and power line damage. The snow outside has been great for keeping the fridge items cold. Power just came on!

  9. Ah, yes! This is like a defining Canadian awesome thing. If your “beer fridge” is the great outdoors for 6 months a year, you might be Canadian! Love it! Especially useful for parties.

    1. I do not understand this post.

      As I don’t have an appliance in my house that is intended to always keep my food in the very comfortable temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees, I’m not sure what good keeping my food outside in the San Diego climate is going to do for me.. ;)

  10. My grandmother uses her garage as a great big refrigerator all winter long. This would work better if it wasn’t attached to the house and didn’t occasionally get a little toasty during the day…

    It’s a running family joke that grandma is continually trying to give us all food poisoning. We’ve all learned to warn each other – don’t drink the milk, it was left in the garage!!

    1. I also use my garage as a giant refrigerator all winter long. And the entrance to the garage is right in my kitchen! Couldn’t be better! I have a bench right near the door that is solely for food storage….beverages, left -overs, bulk size perishable food items…that is where they go. It’s colder out there than in the actual refrigerator even though it’s attached to the house. I have a thermometer in there. Most of the winter, it’s 40 degrees if not below that. If we ever get a warm day, I make sure to bring it all in.

  11. i recently visited Paris in the Spring. But dont let the season fool you, it was still chilly during the day and pretty cold at night. My girlfriend’s uncle lived in a small comfy apartment. At night he would ask us if we would like a glass of wine before dinner is served. he would always say, “let me check what’s in my cellar” and stick his hand out the window where he would amazingly pluck out a bottle of french champagne out of nowhere. on our last day, i decided to stick my head out of this secret window and was surprised to see an assortment of international beer and wines. i couldn’t help but laugh and still smile to this day. thanks Uncle Vic =)

  12. I work at a living historical farm where we try to do everything a rural, middle-class farm family would do in America in the mid 1800s, so this post hits close to home. My favorite way to use mother nature is in the fall and winter, if I need a pie or cake cooled down quick, I’ll just stick it out on the porch for a bit and it’s good to go :) Summers are a bit trickier, though, and that’s when the root cellar comes in handy. Not cold, but better than hot!

  13. We didn’t have a dorm fridge in college (it was a long, long time ago), so I took to leaving drinks on the window sill in the winter to keep them cool. I’ll never forget the time I retrieved a carton of milk and took a mouthful. It was cold out, so at first I thought the lumps were ice, until I bit into them. The milk had curdled because even though it was cold, being in direct sunlight kept it warm enough to spoil.
    After I cleaned up the floor where I had spit it out, I never kept drinks outside again.

    1. Yuck! My college boyfriend did the same thing, only it was ruby red grapefruit juice in a can. There was one big lump that wouldn’t fit through the hole that he thought was ice, and he told me that he had to suck on the “ice” to get the juice out.

  14. During winter, my wife and I would always use snow as our ‘fridge’ to keep things frozen or even get some items to be cold. We would have a storage container outside that we could secure properly in one place. Otherwise, we risk having people getting our food.

  15. Pingback: jalia parsnip
  16. Pingback: mark mania

Comments are closed.