While I have not yet started producing my own food, it is on my mind most days. I really can’t wait till I can get my hands into the earth and begin. I spend much of my time planning and dreaming about how I want to do these things and one thing that keeps stopping me in my tracks is refrigeration or cooling.
For most of the preserving, fermenting and cheese making that I want to do, it is going to be necessary for me to have a room that stays reasonably cool. I would prefer to keep it cool without the use of electricity or gas. In colder climates many people have root cellars and basements where they can store food over the winter period. Here our temperatures are really very high in summer and reasonably high in winter. One advantage of our climate is that we can grow food in winter time, so massive storage place won’t be that necessary, but for fermenting purposes and cheesemaking I will need this space.
After having done a bit of research about how people managed without fridges in the old days, I have a few possible solutions but nothing that I think will work properly here. If I lived near the river and not 1km away from it, it would probably be my best solution – cold running water all year round would be available. Digging down into the ground here is almost an impossibility with the amount of rock we have. I have heard about cold rooms that they used to use on farms years ago where water dripped down the outside of the walls and evaporation cooled the inner room down. This works much like a cold safe that used hessian and evaporation for cooling like the one below – I would need more space than this though.
The one big problem in using an evaporation method in our area is the level of humidity in the air. Our air is quite humid in summer (70% average) and this hinders evaporation. I remember last summer when, although the temperatures were sometimes in the 40’s (C), clothes on the wash line would take very long to dry.
I really don’t need the room to be that cold – only about 15 – 18 deg C will be fine. That may sound reasonable until you experience the crazy heat we have here in summer time. Nothing is ever that cold here in summer. Have any of you had experience with solar cooling? Any other ideas for me to investigate?