Zeer Pot Refrigerator Keeps Food Fresh Without Electricity

This is a great tutorial for building a Zeer Pot refrigerator that will allow you to keep food fresher, longer, and keep you totally off the grid, as well!

Zeer Pot Fridge

So you’ve got your homegrown vegetables and yard-bred rabbit yummies all ready to be canned and dried. Some of it, though, you’ll want to eat fresh- but you’ll have a narrow window to do so, especially if you’re way off the grid or, worse, if there’s no grid left to be off of. That’s where the Zeer Pot zero-electricity refrigerator comes in.

Practical Action has been putting the Zeer Pot refrigerator to use in hot climates like the Sudan, where women Hawa Abbas used to lose half of her tomato, okra and carrot crop. β€œThey keep our vegetables fresh for 3-4 weeks, depending on the type of crop. They are very good in a hot climate such as ours where fruit and vegetables get spoiled in one day.” It is clear to Mrs. Abbas how important this has been to her family. β€œSince I learned how to make zeer pots our life has been so much better.”

To make a Zeer Pot, you need nest two ceramic pots, separating them with a layer of wet soil or sand. The “ideal” version looks something like this …

Zeer Pot Fridge

… but you can make your Zeer Pot refrigerator with standard clay flower pots which, while not as efficient as the “official” version (because the rounded shape keeps the amount of insulation uniform) are certainly functional and, perhaps crucially, better than nothing.


Making Your Own Zeer Pot Refrigerator

First, bowl-shaped moulds are created from mud and water – and left to dry in the sun. Clay is then pressed onto the moulds to form the desired size of pot. Clay rims and bases are added and the moulds are removed. The pots are left to dry in the sun. Or, you know, you could just order your pots from Lowe’s.

Once the pots have been fired in a pit of sticks and/or have safely arrived via UPS, the zeer pot is ready to assemble. A smaller pot is placed inside a larger one, and the space in between filled with sand, dirt, kitty litter (what you have, basically).

The whole structure is then placed on a large iron stand, to allow for warm air to flow underneath/around the pot and aid the cooling process.

Twice a day, water is added to the sand between the pots so that it remains moist. The entire assembly is left in a dry, ventilated place.

Fruit, vegetables and sorghum – a type of cereal prone to fungal infestation if not preserved – are then placed in the smaller pot, which is covered with a damp cloth.

In the heat, the water contained in the sand evaporates towards the outer surface of the larger pot. This evaporation brings about a drop in temperature of several degrees, cooling the inner pot and extending the shelf life of the perishable food inside.

Sources | Photos: Practical Action, Lowe’s.

Written by Jo BorrΓ‘s


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