I unplugged my fridge November 22, meaning tomorrow begins my fifth month with it unplugged. Here’s a podcast post describing why. It’s not to save energy, though it does, but to develop resilience.
I opened it to take a picture and am slightly embarrassed to show that mildew has grown, but that happens when it’s not running. I’ll clean it before I plug it back in and put food back in.
I’ve already written how the electric part of my last bill, not counting fixed line charges, was $1.70.
What I’ve learned
I ferment a lot more. I thought there was more to it, but mostly I just sprinkle some salt on a vegetable or sometimes fruit and periodically stir so mold doesn’t form
I’ve surprised myself with chutneys I’ve fermented with fruit. I would not have believed I could make something with such complexity and nuanced flavoring so easily.
Sauerkraut, I make without thinking about it. Just chop, sprinkle, stuff in a jar, and cover with these one-way valve tops that let bacteria-produced carbon-dioxide out without letting oxygen in.
It would be a lot easier with more than one person. If I make seven meals worth of food at once, which is normal for my famous no-packaging vegan stews, as one person I may take four days to finish them. Without a fridge, leftovers might not last that long, so I don’t fill the pressure cooker each time. With two people, we’d finish it in half the time, leaving it less time to spoil.
Speaking of spoiled, an article came out in the New York Times about how many Americans have two or three fridges, When One Fridge Is Not Enough, which seems spoiled to me, considering I’m learning from less developed countries to live more simply. Their fridges were filled with doof, most of which didn’t need refrigeration, like Snapple sugar drinks. Here’s a picture from that article, almost no fresh produce, nearly all doof, mostly throwing money out the window for unhealthy, polluting stuff. How many sugar drinks do you need?
As with most food experiments, the added attention to my food means learning about food, plants, and microbes. Also about history and culture.
How much longer?
With spring here, my apartment is warming up. The windowsill I cooled stuff on gets the most light so I can’t cool things there as much. Still, the green leafy vegetables that decompose fastest haven’t started coming in the CSA yet. I’ll take a while to get through the carrots, rutabaga, potatoes, sunchokes, and other root vegetables that take a long time to decompose.
I expect I will have plugged the fridge back in before the next month, but I’ll do my best I’m glad to have made it a third of a year. I’ll start earlier than November 22 in the fall, which might get me to five months or more.
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