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Old 20-05-2010, 02:46 PM   #1
braben199
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Default How to freeze food without electricity?

Does anyone know how this can be done? I know its possible to create ice using certain chemicals that create an endothermic reaction that will cool water to freezing point, and food (like veg) can be stored in packed ice... unfortunately some of the chemicals needed for such a reaction can be toxic.

Is there any other method? How did they do it before electricty or refrigeration?

I thought having knowledge of this may come in handy sometime in the near future, so if anyone has any first hand experience, please do tell

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Old 20-05-2010, 02:52 PM   #2
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Get a big 55gallon barrel of liquid nitrogen. It should cover all your freezing needs.
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Old 20-05-2010, 09:52 PM   #3
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Get a big 55gallon barrel of liquid nitrogen. It should cover all your freezing needs.
I'm not sure how practical that is for long-term disaster readiness.

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How did they do it before electricty or refrigeration?
With a combination of canning, dehydrating, food poisoning and starvation. I recommend the first 2 methods over the last two.

Seriously, food storage needs to be a long-term lifestyle choice, not just an emergency response measure. Keep a rolling provision of canned goods and dry goods like beans, rice and pasta around - rotating stock to make sure you don't have old food when you need it the most.

Before electricity people ate a lot more seasonal food - they didn't have strawberries and tomatoes year round. Ice would be cut from lakes, ponds and rivers during the winter and packed into sawdust in "ice houses" to be distributed in the summer. Try to find an ice saw and ice tongs these days, though!!

I have a pressure cooker and I've been learning a little about canning. My mom did a lot of canning when I was little, but I haven't done much. I made pickles, which I like, but the wife and kids don't care for. Fine with me, I didn't have to share!

You don't need to have a garden to make use of canning - you can buy veggies when they're fresh and plentiful (and cheaper) and put them away them for winter. I have been working on a pasta sauce recipe that I think will work for canning.

You can make jams and jellies without a pressure cooker, using the "water bath" method, but it scares me. Botulism is "no fooling" bad stuff.

If you really need to have a refrigerator (like for medicine) you can get a fridge made for Recreational Vehicles. Dometic is one brand. Instead of an electric motor compressing freon they have a heat source and ammonia for refrigerant. The first non-Ice fridges were made this way, usually burning kerosene. The RV fridges work from a propane tank. Frequently they outlast the camper - you might be able to salvage a cheap one from a broken down camper or rv.
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Old 20-05-2010, 10:17 PM   #4
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I agree with Apollo. Drying things out as well is a good method of keeping thing. Also sterilising jars etc so you can keep things like jam (we've got a shed loads of last years plum jam) and grow as much as you can. If you don't have the space look around for seasonal foods like nettles, daffodils, blackberries etc.
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Old 20-05-2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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Hmmm...it's possible to store ice for quite a while without it melting or to use the ground perhaps to keep food cool. But to actually freeze something without electricity? That's tricky...my best guess would be to use a gas fridge like in a caravan?
You can get 12v fridges/freezers though that would work just fine off a car battery connected to a wind genny.
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Old 20-05-2010, 11:25 PM   #6
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Freon?
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Old 21-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Freon is not intrinsically cold. Freon is a refrigerant. Refrigerants work by phase-change heat cycling. The refrigerant gas is compressed to liquid state mechaninically and then allowed to expand back to gas state. It absorbs heat from around it as it expands.

Freezers and refrigerators do not make heat, they just move it around. The heat from inside the refrigerator ends up outside the fridge dumping into the room.

The camper (caravan in UK) fridges use ammonia as a refrigerant.
The disadvantage: not as much heat capacity.
Advantage: you can drive the cycle with a small flame or 12v heat coil instead of a heavy mechanical pump.

They can freeze things, but not very well. They work best when you just use them to keep things moderately cool. The "hot" side coils can get overheated, too, and then the fridge will warm up as the heat cannot dissapate.
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Old 22-05-2010, 06:14 PM   #8
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I dont have the time at the mo, but there is a way to freeze things by using pressure. By pushing water through a ever smaller pipe configuration, a by product of cold is produced. I cant remember what it is called at the mo.


Nelly.
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Old 23-05-2010, 01:57 AM   #9
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Default How they used to do it in backwoods Canada

Hey there OP.

How they used to do it before widespread electricity and modern convayances was to dig a hole... a cellar if you will. Then they'd line it with saw dust and then they'd take blocks of ice (harvested near the closing days of winter) and then layer saw dust over the ice, then a layer of saw dust, then another layer of ice with a final layer of saw dust. They'd put whatever it was they wanted to keep cold, then cover it over and seal the hole with a trap door, etc and have it keep all spring, summer, right up into fall.

Hope this answers some of your question.
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Old 24-05-2010, 10:00 AM   #10
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dry curing is natures freezing ,

how to make ice cream with just ice -
two plastic bags
ice
salt
full fat milk
sugar
()flavourings can be added if desired btw )

put ice in one bag cover with salt ,

put sugar ,milk and flavouring if desired in other bag )

tie bag securely .

put milk mix bag into ice ,salt bag ,
tie bag .

shake in hands squeeze etc until set , usually two or threee minutes .

try it with the kids or out camping just get some ice cubes from the pub
or mc donalds or shop etc ,
really works .
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Old 24-05-2010, 03:33 PM   #11
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http://fuelforadventure.com/icecream.html

Twenty dollar version of your plastic bag trick. Same basic principle, but using bags is cheaper and a lot more portable.
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Old 24-05-2010, 04:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom bombadil View Post
I dont have the time at the mo, but there is a way to freeze things by using pressure. By pushing water through a ever smaller pipe configuration, a by product of cold is produced. I cant remember what it is called at the mo.


Nelly.
This is ringing a bell, but I can't remember a name for it either. Still, it's going to require a huge amount of pumping energy to chill any serious amount.

Summing up: Emergency food storage needs to be done before the emergency.

Ice house good way to store "free" cold from winter, but you have to built the house, cut the ice, and have access to sawdust to insulate with. Or, use modern materials as available to insulate. A lot of work. Hopefully the ice lasts until the next freeze.

Canning: good way to store summer veg that cannot be eaten as fast as it ripens, and for storing the summer price of store-bought (or farm bought) vegetables. Requires some equipment and skills, but it's fun and you get to make things the way you like them. Meat can also be canned in various ways.

Dehydrating works well for some foods, but not so well for others. Reduces the weight and volume of the food, so you can store a lot of calories and nutrition in smaller space. If you don't dehydrate enough, or the containers are breached, food can get moldy. Some people will dehydrate and then pack the food in canning jars and use pressure-cooker canning to create a slight vacuum as well as ensure that any germs are killed off.

We will be getting a chest freezer later this summer. An upright freezer is easier to keep organized, but the "cold falls out" when the door is opened. A chest freezer costs less to run over the year, and if you get into it when the power has failed less of the cold is lost.

Freezers can be super-insulated by applying foam panels to the outside. If looks are important or the surface might get bumped, you can cover the foam with wood paneling. That will retain the cold even longer in the event of power loss. Aluminum-faced polyisocyanurate foam (yellowish, sort of crumbly texture) works great if you have heat sources of any kind near the freezer. Or you can spray-glue cheap aluminum foil to whatever foam you have available. Make sure the hot-side coils can "breathe", and if you can channel the heat away from the freezer it makes the system more efficient. The cooler the room the freezer is in the better.
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Old 24-05-2010, 07:49 PM   #13
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I don't think they sell block ice any more. In our grandparent's day I'm sure it was common and you took it home and put it in your ice box hole (something like that). I was thinking about that zeer refrigerator from another thread and wondering if you couldn't but keep ice and rock salt in place of sand in another unit, but honestly, I'm not sure hwo ice and rock salt work together to freeze, whether you have to have motion to cause that freezing, or, in the case of ice cream, you are just moving the liquid around so as it hits the colder frozen areas it freezes... kind of like scrambled eggs where the liquid eggs hit the skillet and cook up, but only with freezing.

At United Nuclear lab supply I recall there's some substance that get's cold when mixed with water. I don't think it freezes but it gets cold I'll have to look it up and reference it. I had thought about it for a while for survival preparations. One would have to be real careful though if there were little one's about.

Strange, I went to look for the substance that gets cold when it comes in contact with water. I'm not finding it, though I'm finding something else I've read about for cold/heat and I'll get to it, but the strange thing is the description I read about a solution that'll keep an egg fresh for up to nine months.

Quote:


Sodium Silicate solution

chemical formula: Na2O-2SiO2
( liquid )
Sodium Silicate, also known as 'Water Glass' or 'Liquid Glass', is a compound used in cements, passive fire protection, refractories, textile and lumber processing. Sodium Silicate was also used as an egg preservation agent in the early 20th Century with large success. When fresh eggs are immersed in it, bacteria which cause the eggs to spoil are kept out and water is kept in. Eggs can be kept fresh using this method for up to nine months. Sodium Silicate, mixed with Ethyl Alcohol makes a SuperBall, a common chemistry Demonstration.

http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?m...roducts_id=199
Then there's these devices:

Quote:
113 watt Peltier Cooling Chip
- our most powerful

Amazing devices, one side of these Peltier Chips becomes absolutely freezing cold and the other very hot when power is applied. Make a refrigerator with no moving parts and no compressor!
Peltier Junction, Thermoelectric Cooler, TEC, Heat Pump - all these names refer to this same device.
When a DC voltage is applied to these devices, one side gets cold while the opposite side gets hot.
They are so efficient that they will self destruct if measures aren't taken to draw the heat off the hot side using a heat sink and/or fan. Properly utilized these like other semiconductors will enjoy a very long and dependable life. The possible applications for these go far beyond the simple heating or cooling of coffee and beer; controlling the temperature of chemical reactions, heating or cooling of small engines, etc.
Another property of these is that when one side is heated; they will generate electrical energy; waste heat can be recycled in this application. This chip is our most powerful at 113 watts. The maximum voltage you can supply it with is 15.2 volts and at that voltage it will consume about 12 amps. Personally we don't like to run them at their absolute maximum ratings and prefer to use 12 volts where it will consume less current.
They must be used with a large heat sink (the larger the better) to dissipate heat away from the unit - if you don't use some sort of heat sink you'll fry them. Using a large (4" x 6") heat sink on the hot side you'll find you can get ice to form on the cold side in under 30 seconds. Attaching a small fan to blow the heat off the heat sink increases performance even more. Great for cooling all sorts of devices/gadgets. Customers have already used these in everything from small refrigerators to performance enhancing devices that cool air entering carburetors or lowering temperatures of fuel feed lines to increase engine power.



http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?m...roducts_id=455
That one is $29 and this one is $19 then I guess you'd need to invest in heat sink and/or a little fan. Very small and portable.

91 watt Peltier Cooling Chip

http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?m...roducts_id=456

I have yet to find the powdered substance that gets cold when it comes in contact with water.
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Old 24-05-2010, 10:20 PM   #14
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I have yet to find the powdered substance that gets cold when it comes in contact with water.
Ammonium Nitrate

Peltier junctions are pretty snazzy - I've never played with one but you can buy little 12v fridge/warmer boxes that use them.

You can also use them the other way - pull voltage off the chip if the 2 sides have a temperature differential.

Not a huge amount of cooling available from them and they suck a lot of electricity to do it with, as I understand it.
Quote:

I don't think they sell block ice any more. In our grandparent's day I'm sure it was common and you took it home and put it in your ice box
Stores still sell block ice around here. People use it when camping, as it lasts longer than bagged cube ice. I've known people with older pickup-mounted campers that have ice-box coolers instead of fridges.

Quote:
I'm not sure hwo ice and rock salt work together to freeze, whether you have to have motion to cause that freezing, or, in the case of ice cream, you are just moving the liquid around so as it hits the colder frozen areas it freezes... kind of like scrambled eggs where the liquid eggs hit the skillet and cook up, but only with freezing.
The rock salt thing melts the ice at a lower temperature. Instead of the ice-melt water being 32f (0c) it can be 10 or 20 degrees below the ordinary freezing temp. Then the ice cream ingredients can freeze instead of just getting cool.

The stirring keeps the ice crystals in the ice cream very small, instead of getting big and making sharp crunchy ice cream.
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Old 24-05-2010, 11:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apollo_gnomon View Post
Summing up: Emergency food storage needs to be done before the emergency.

Ice house good way to store "free" cold from winter, but you have to built the house, cut the ice, and have access to sawdust to insulate with. Or, use modern materials as available to insulate. A lot of work. Hopefully the ice lasts until the next freeze.

Canning: good way to store summer veg that cannot be eaten as fast as it ripens, and for storing the summer price of store-bought (or farm bought) vegetables. Requires some equipment and skills, but it's fun and you get to make things the way you like them. Meat can also be canned in various ways.

Dehydrating works well for some foods, but not so well for others. Reduces the weight and volume of the food, so you can store a lot of calories and nutrition in smaller space. If you don't dehydrate enough, or the containers are breached, food can get moldy. Some people will dehydrate and then pack the food in canning jars and use pressure-cooker canning to create a slight vacuum as well as ensure that any germs are killed off.
I know someone who has been canning/dehydrating foods for a while now and 3-4 years back they started adding 1-2 drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide in every jar with the result being not one jar of food has gone bad.
As good as they are doing this, before the H2O2 in a year they might have lost 2-3 (still an ok amount considering the overall number of jars) to mold.

An Ice House is an excellent idea if your near a pond or lake and can get a few blocks of first ice cut and brought back.
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Old 25-05-2010, 01:52 AM   #16
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Interesting tip! I'll try that. Do you know what percentage of peroxide they're using?

I like to make beef jerky with my 10 year old, and I've been thinking of putting up a batch in jars after. Long term storage of meat can be tricky -- if it's too dry it's difficult to use in cooking.
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Old 25-05-2010, 09:26 AM   #17
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http://fuelforadventure.com/icecream.html

Twenty dollar version of your plastic bag trick. Same basic principle, but using bags is cheaper and a lot more portable.
cool (pardon the pun )

bag trick works faster than an ice cream machine btw , yes the salt does make the ice colder
i once made some on a camping trip with ice gathered naturally , chocolate flavoured via hot chocolate powder on the isle of skye ,
shouldve seen the faces of people passing us eating ice cream 10 miles from nearest house let alone shop and half way up a mountain
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Old 25-05-2010, 01:10 PM   #18
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What apollo_gnomon said before has got me thunking!!!

Bare with me a bit... My outlook for when I do get to build me gaff would be to insulate it to the hilt. One then spends let energy heating it and keeping it cool.

So when apollo_gnomon mentioned the sawdust, I remembered that documentry of a few years back talking about a ship made of ice and sawdust. (it was repeated by that shill- mythbusters).

So if one had a cool room (think insulated or below ground) and also had access to snow, then one could extend the period of that snow by mixing it with sawdust and storing it next to the good (drinkable) ice.

I dont know how long it would last (months, weeks?) but just like a gardener, one can extend the period.





If all else fails


Nelly
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Old 25-05-2010, 10:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by tom bombadil View Post
What apollo_gnomon said before has got me thunking!!!

Bare with me a bit... My outlook for when I do get to build me gaff would be to insulate it to the hilt. One then spends let energy heating it and keeping it cool.

So when apollo_gnomon mentioned the sawdust, I remembered that documentry of a few years back talking about a ship made of ice and sawdust. (it was repeated by that shill- mythbusters).

So if one had a cool room (think insulated or below ground) and also had access to snow, then one could extend the period of that snow by mixing it with sawdust and storing it next to the good (drinkable) ice.

I dont know how long it would last (months, weeks?) but just like a gardener, one can extend the period.





If all else fails


Nelly
Pykrete - hms Habbakuk.

A compacted snowball with saw dust or wood chip is like being hit with a lump of Granite
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Old 26-05-2010, 04:06 AM   #20
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In the event that you don't have access to sawdust, straw works quite nicely too, or even dried hay. The ice will last right through until the following fall if done correctly and if you do it right, you'll be removing the old ice to get new stuff in there.
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