5 Ways In Which Food Was Stored Before Refrigerators
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While grabbing a snack or water bottle out of fridge, have you ever thought what would you do if refrigerators did not exist? During the age of hunting and gathering,  natural resources such as streams and caves were a great cooling option. The deeper the cave in earth, the cooler the air would be. Streams also offered a way to cool things faster due to the flowing water moving around the object. As the ages progressed, other solutions developed including holes in the ground, nooks in wooden walls and storing in cooler locations such as cellars, or in wooden or clay containers. Here are 5 ways people stored food before the invention of refrigerators. 

1. Cold Pantry And Root Cellar 

A century ago, cupboards, cabinets, or closets were used to store everyday items. They were known as cold pantries or larders. Food items such as bread, butter, cheese, eggs, as well as fruits and vegetables were brought up from the root cellar in small amounts to the kitchenA root cellar is a storage area that uses the natural cooling properties of the earth. Cold pantries were made of metal or wood grates to draw up cold air from below the house. The main difference between a root cellar and a cold pantry is humidity. While a cold pantry keeps food dry, a root cellar allows some moisture to help preserve the produce stored there. 

2. Canning 

Canning is a very effective way to preserve the bounty of your garden. By preserving food in sealed, airtight containers, its life increases to five years or even longer. Although there are many canning methods, the basics of each one is essentially the same. Fill a clean and dry jar with prepared food, then place a flat lid and a threaded ring on the jar before placing the filled jar into boiling water. When the hot jar is removed from the water, the steam inside the jar condenses as the jar cools, creating a vacuum that sucks the lid down into a tight seal. A sealing compound that is embedded into the lid helps the seal stay secure. 

3. Drying 

Another way to preserve fruits and vegetables is by drying them. Dried foods retain their nutrients than foods preserved by other natural methods. For this method, the food was either mashed into a pulp and cut into small pieces. Then the pieces were spread across flat and clean surfaces to dry and were stored in air-tight containers.   

4. Smoking 

Another way to preserve food was through smoking. This process of preserving food was usually for meat or fish, where it was exposed to smoke from a wood-burning fire. Typically combined with salt-curing or drying, smoking involves hanging meat or placing it on racks in a chamber that contains smoke. Hot smoking was done in a specially built smokehouse.  

 5. Mineral Oil 

This technique was used to preserve eggs where the entire surface of the shell was coated with mineral oil and gently set in an egg carton to be stored at normal room temperature, away from direct sunlight. This strategy kept the eggs preserved for nine months to a year.  

You probably would have found these food preservation methods very difficult and time taking. The life of our previous generations was really tough. It wasn’t until the 1800's that the idea of a refrigerator started to take form and over the centuries, has become a necessity as we know today. Think about these methods whenever you open your fridge next time.