Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Downsizing the Refrigerator

Many of you know of our journey to reduce out energy needs. We are constantly looking at things and re-evaluating. One thing that I wrote a series of blog posts about was living life without refrigeration. Refrigeration is a huge part of a home's energy consumption. Freezers are cheaper to run than refrigerators. So, I thought I would update on what we have done, what we did and how everything has worked out. We did try going without the refrigerator for many months to get a good feel for it throughout the different seasons. During the late winter and early spring it actually wasn't too bad. We never had food spoil and we learned to cook just what we needed for the meal with very little to no leftovers. So that was a good thing because in the long run it saves us money. Milk during that time could be kept cool by leaving it in glass jars on the screened in porch and using it pretty quickly. It stayed cold out there. Veggies kept just fine and were used pretty quickly. There was no longer any of the buy the cabbage and use it two weeks later. We used frozen or canned veggies in between market trips or garden harvest. The problem comes with the heat and humidity of our hot deep south summers. I simply cannot drink warm milk. I like my water ice cold when the temps outside are pushing 100. Unless, I bought a bag of ice every couple of days to keep in a cooler then there was simply no way to chill anything. Greens go limp within hours of being picked in that heat. The bugs are bad. It simply was not a pleasant experience once summer set in. So, what did we do? Go back to our monster energy consuming refrigerator? Nope, we downsized. I had a large dorm sized refrigerator in my studio that I had used at my art gallery. It had been sitting there waiting for some special moment when it would be needed again. It is just the right size (so far). We can keep a few ice cube trays in the "freezer" portion and it has enough room for our milk and dairy products. The challenge will be when we butcher the goat this weekend and need to let the meat age. I think we can get it in there. At least, what will be ground can go straight into the big freezer. So basically we have combined both living without refrigeration for most things, but we have the little refrigerator for those things that simply are better being cold. We also, feel much safer this way in the summer. We have seen a good bit of reduction with the little refrigerator as it doesn't have as much space to keep cool and uses less energy. I think this is definitely the way to go for at least right now. At least, I know that if I ever had to live without refrigeration that I could even though some things wouldn't be pleasant some of the time.


Marmee's Pantry said...

This was really interesting. I'll have to give the 'down-sizing' idea some thought.

Thanks for writing about what your family is doing. I don't comment alot, but I read.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim W<><

dp said...

We also are seeking to reduce energy consumption on our KY homestead. In fact, we're going off the grid. In preparation for that, refrigeration was one aspect that needed figured out. We implemented a modification of a chest freezer I had read about some time ago. I posted on my blog about it at: making a refrigerator out of a chest freezer.

Kat said...

dp, we have thought about doing that as well. I have heard a lot of good things about doing so. My only concern is being able to get things out of the chest freezer. I am short and have always had a tough time with chest freezers. Thank you for posting the link to your blog. Blessings, Kat