Refrigeration is a modern convenience we choose to do without, we prefer to limit the use of energy-guzzling devices and to educate ourselves on proper storage of ingredients.
The refrigerated cold chain played a huge role in reshaping the geography of food, removing the constraints of season, climate, and proximity in favour of monocultural economies of scale, astronomical food mileage, and permanent global summertime. — Nicola Twilley
- Buy veg and fruit without bruises (they last longer)
- Mist summer veg and fruit with water on occasion.
- Wax the stems of aubergines, grapes and melons.
- Buy never-refrigerated veggies.
- Eat items with shorter shelf life first.
- Buy in season produce.
- Separate foods that release ethylene from those sensitive to it.
- Never wash berries until just before use.
We look at our inventory of fresh foods daily, and eat items with a shorter shelf life first, like fresh herbs and greens. Then, we move on to tomatoes, eggplants, and onto carrots and beets. In the end, we're usually left with onions, garlic, cabbage, potatoes and pumpkins. Potatoes and onions will last months if kept in a dark dry place, and some fruit will last a while if wrapped in towels, foil or newspapers. To read more about keeping fresh produce without a fridge, read the article Food Storage Beyond the Refrigerator by Low Tech Labs, they go in-depth on how to store everything. We use this as a reference for storing our produce. See our open pantry.
Most condiments like vinegar, soy sauce, mustard and peanut butter do well in cupboards. Molasses, maple syrup and jam will also keep for many weeks.
Relying on the selection of local and seasonal produce from farmer's markets makes us discover new ingredients, while it encourages local vendors, and cuts down on emissions from transport. Alternatively, making preserves and pickles (see lactofermentation) allows us to enjoy some foods out of their season. In New Zealand, a friend once gave us feijoas that we processed into chutney which we had the following year.
We eat leftovers the next day, incorporating them into other meals to offer some variety. Preparing food in the pressure cooker, and letting it rest unopened will help preserve the food. If left overnight, it can be reheated in the morning and will keep well until lunchtime.
Read the anti-fridge and Save Food From the Fridge.