Apocalypse Prep: How to Preserve Food Without a Fridge

Photo: Jihyun Ryou

When you bring food home from a grocery store, chances are you toss it in the fridge. Ever stop to wonder if that’s your best move? People managed to store perishables before the era of refrigeration, and if you’re imagining a root cellar full of cans and preserves, you’re only partially right.

Designer Jihyun Ryou has made it her mission to, er, preserve some of those old methods of preserving food, designing this minimalist system for the modern kitchen.”We hand over the responsibility of taking care of food to the technology, the refrigerator,” says Rhyou. “We don’t observe the food any more and we don’t understand how to treat it.”

Are you really treating your food badly when you pop it in the fridge? Well, you’re sealing it in a cold box with a bunch of other food — all of it off-gassing and slowly decomposing. Each item reacts to the chemical composition of the other items, and to the environment itself.

Speaking of the environment, fridges are huge energy hogs. They rely on a constant supply of electricity. There was a time before abundant electricity was available when having a fridge in every home wasn’t possible. If that time returns, we want to be prepared.

Have some food-preservation tricks of your own? Submit them at Ryou’s Tumblr.

Apples and Potatoes

Ryou says you should store apples and potatoes together. When apples are sitting around, they emit a lot of ethylene gas. This speeds up the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. (So why are you storing them in a fruit drawer with berries you were hoping would last?) With potatoes, the ethylene has a different effect: It stops them from sprouting. This cute shelf lets the apples work for you.

Photo: Jihyun Ryou

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