Ever have the power go out from a storm? I am thinking that nearly everyone has been there, done that, at least a few times in their life. We live in an area known for it’s winter storms. Each winter, you hear about people fretting over the loss of food from the power going out. It is crazy just how many people lose all the perishables in their refrigerators.
If you are living in an area that gets cold in winter, you have a natural refrigeration available. When we went off-grid, we didn’t have a refrigerator for the first couple of weeks. It was winter and the temperatures never got above 50*F. We set up a wooden crate in a shady area next to the kitchen. Inside of the crate we placed a cooler and a plastic tote. The cooler contained a gallon of milk and some resealable freezer bags containing lunch meat. We filled the cooler with water from a hose, leaving the hose inside of the cooler so that I could easily circulate more water into the cooler in the afternoon if the water temperature began to warm up. Keeping the hose in the cooler also allowed me to keep the lid ajar so the cold air outside would help keep the water cold. In the plastic tote, I placed items like cheese, eggs, butter, and condiments that while needing to be kept cold, did not require the same level of cold as the milk. I placed a lid on the tote. The tote was not insulated, so did not need the lid left ajar. To prevent animals from getting into the food, I placed a large piece of plywood across the top of the crate and weighed it down with a couple of pieces of split firewood. Due to the crate being in the shade all day, the food stayed very cold. If we wanted milk, I often had to bring the milk inside and allow it to that a bit to be able to pour it.
This same method would work during a power outage. While I understand that not everyone has access to a wood shipping crate, you can improvise and find a similar solution. If you don’t have access to a crate, you can still place the tote and cooler in a shady spot of your porch or garage. At night when the risk of stray animals is present, simply close up the garage so that the animals cannot get to the food. If you are concerned about the temperature not being cold enough, use a thermometer to gauge the temperature in each container. It is worth a try and may save your family’s food supply. If it doesn’t work, then at least your food loss is no different than if you hadn’t tried this option at all.