Yes, you read right.
Not all fridges need electricity to keep food cold.
This type of fridge is called a “pot-in-pot fridge” or “Zeer pot” and apart from the initial cost of the materials it doesn’t cost anything to run.
The idea is, like most good ideas, VERY simple. A smaller pot is placed inside a larger pot. Sand and water fill the space between the two. As the water evaporates from the larger pot, the warmer air in the smaller pot is pulled out, making the space in the smaller pot cooler.
Want To Make Your Own?
- 1 large UNGLAZED (important!) clay pot
- 1 smaller UNGLAZED pot
- Sharp sand
- Old towel/cloth
Note: If using plant pots, plug the drainage holes first, otherwise the fridge won’t work effectively … if at all.
Take the large pot and pour in enough sand so that when the smaller pot is placed inside, its rim is level with that of the larger pot. Centre the small pot on the sand then, pour more sand in the space between the two pots. When the sand gets to about 1″ from the top, stop filling. This space will help when adding the water … which you do next. Start pouring in the water, waiting between each pouring for the water to percolate down.
Once full, take your towel, wet it and wring out the excess water. Place it on top of your new pot-in-pot fridge.
Note: The fridge needs good air circulation for evaporation to be effective … so place it in an optimal position.
When necessary add more water to the fridge and keep the towel/cloth damp.
- The pot-in-pot refrigerator is also known by its Arabic term, a “Zeer” pot.
- Try different types of vegetables and fruit to see how long they last using the pot. Natural Innovation notes that “Abba’s project has brought about major changes for many Nigerians: eggplants can last for 27 days rather than three, African spinach can be kept for 12 days instead of spoiling after one day, while tomatoes and peppers stay fresh for three weeks. Food hygiene standards and overall health are improving.”
- It is also possible to store sorghum and millet grains this way – the pot-in-pot refrigerator protects against humidity and stops fungi growth.
- Meat can be kept for up to two weeks, as opposed to a few hours without this device.
- Water and other liquids can be kept at 15ºC.
- If selling the produce, place some of the produce for sale atop the damp cloth that is sitting over the middle pot. This will keep the exposed produce a little cooler, as well as letting people know what you have for sale.
- Drinks can be kept cool in a single pot with water at the base.
Factoid 3 – Refrigeration Without Electricity:
Very annoying but …
Tales from the Missionary Hut: The Eco fridge:
Zeer Pot Clay Fridge – Preserving Food In Sudan:
http://practicalaction.org/?id=zeerpots … (be sure to download the pdf’s)