Monday, December 13, 2010

My Little Refrigerators

This morning Jane over at Hard Work Homestead was agonizing a little over the fact that she may have to give up her freezer(s) and refrigerator when they switch over to their soon-to-be ready solar energy system.

That got me to thinking about my own refrigeration system which definitely got bumped up a notch this summer.

I got the commercial refrigerator that I've wanted for a long time. Twenty-one cubic feet and it's not even my main refrigerator. Its job is as a storage refrig in addition to the one in the kitchen.

It's my pride and joy. (Still can't believe I'm this enamored with a refrigerator!) We spent a couple of hours, blood, sweat and tears getting the monster into its present position this summer. (Okay, no blood or tears involved; only sweat.) Currently it sits at one end of what we call our "entry room" which also holds a large outdoor coat closet, a small chest freezer, a broom closet, some file cabinets and storage space that I use as my pantry area because my kitchen proper is so small. (The door in the picture with the curtain and valance goes out into our attached garage.) Eventually, this huge refrig will go into my new pantry which will be directly off my new kitchen. Eventually. Someday. As soon as we win the lottery.

Since I do nearly all my cooking from scratch with whole ingredients, I really do need the space the second refrig offers. I store my various grains, nuts, seeds, kombucha, coffee, maple syrup, economy size bottle of soy sauce, popcorn, potatoes, and beets in there as basics. It also is holding this year's entire crop of carrots because we've found refrigeration keeps them better than any other method we've tried.

Hmmm, looks like quite the stash of beer in there, too. Let's just say we're ready for the holidays and leave it at that.

This is the interior of my kitchen refrig. (Just for the record, this is the emptiest you will ever see it. Usually it is stuffed to the gills, but I've been concentrating on using up leftovers for the last couple of days. Also throwing out some items that were yearning to go to the compost pile.) You might notice that it doesn't have a freezer section. Nope, just all refrigerator. That wasn't by choice but rather the only way this particular refrig was made.

It's a Crosley which is rated very energy efficient. We've never had one single problem with it in the fourteen years we've had it. Every now and then either hubby or I will cock our head and ask, "What's that noise?" Turns out it's the Crosley motor running. Seriously, it goes on that seldom that we're still apparently not used to it.

My husband has always wanted to build a refrigerator that runs on absolutely no energy source. He has a file of plans for one that maybe in forty or fifty years when he has nothing else to do, he can finally build. It's basically a box (of any size you want) that is flush with an interior wall of the kitchen and sticks out into the elements on the other side. The temperature is controlled with vents, and I do think we could make it work efficiently for possibly three seasons of the year up here. Maybe even in the summer it would be feasible if it were built with a compartment for a block of ice.

Well now, I'm just sure this post on my refrigerators has been one of the most interesting you've come across in a long while. I don't know what set me off on it except for thinking about Jane's dilemma on and off all day. If she and her husband could figure out how to make a constant supply of ice blocks year round, she's got one beautiful, old ice box she could use for their refrigeration when they pull the plug on grid power. Go take a look at it if you wish. It's a beauty.

23 comments:

The Apple Pie Gal said...

I can totally understand why you would salivate over that fridge! So now show us your freezers! And your Heidlberg Bread of course...that first.

Mama Pea said...

APG - You mean all seven of the freezers? (Just kidding.)

The bread. The bread. The bread. Yes, the bread. I actually thought (with great guilt in my heart) about making the bread and getting that post done. Couldn't get to it. Could not. Now go away, Little Girl.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Harumph! Ok, ok...punkin head

Sue said...

OMG. This is DEFINATELY one of those "Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful" moments. You have a COMMERCIAL FRIDGE???????????
Jealousy Jealousy Jealousy. Up until this point, I just thought you were neat. OMG. Now you're a goddess. I shall be silently cursing my dumb old fridge all day................

Erin said...

I'm with Sue, you are a fridge Goddess! That's one of my dreams, to have a unit that is strictly refrigerator! It's beautiful, now where are your freezers located at? You simply must do a follow up :)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

It does seem ironic that you have so many fridges / freezers given how cold it is up there most of the time!

I think anyone who does any cooking would salivate over your fridge(s) though. I once had an Amana freezer-on-the-bottom model that I loved beyond reason... and one day, I will have one again!

Jane said...

I do love a nice refrigerator, and your is very handsome. I think I will keep one freezer and not sure what to do about the refrigerator. What your hubby wants to build is a California Closet isn't it. A lot of homes had those built in but got turned into closets over the years. I want to build a Colgardie Safe for the summer (it's on the list). And the irony is I do have a year round supply of thousands of pounds of ice a day. The Husband owns an ice company. Yes he is an ice man. Funny, huh.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I've had my share of "dumb old fridges" in my day. This commercial gem is only the second refrig (the Crosley being the first) we've ever bought new. Fortunately, unlike "regular" appliances, they still build the commercial ones to operate super-efficiently and last 5 times as long as the others. I figure I can be buried in it. (Oh wait, my daughter will want it.)

Erin - What's wrong with us in that we are interested in blog posts about refrigerators and freezers??

Jen - Never had a refrig with the big freezer across the bottom but daughter does and loves it as you did. For me, the freezer takes up too much of the refrigerator space though.

Jane - Well, for heaven's sake! When hubby builds our California Closet I now know where to get our ice!! Ice box, heck! You've got the option of having a whole walk-in refrigeration/freezer room!!

Mama Pea said...

APG - You are SO subtle!

Erin said...

yes, we are a sick and twisted bunch LOL!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Winter doldrums make freezers sound like fun?

Mama Pea said...

Erin and APG - We are indeed a sick and twisted bunch if the winter doldrums make freezers seem like fun! (Calling Charlie Brown . . . Is the doctor in?)

Kelly said...

Nice fridge action!!! And yes, must do a follow-up freezer post please. I store my nuts and grains in the freezer, flours in the fridge. I must look into your kitchen fridge for future options for us, sounds like a great appliance!!

Kelly said...

P.S.- Do you make ice in one of your other freezers? The lack of ice my have just been a deal breaker on the super-efficient all fridge unit you have had for 14 years.... we are iced tea, iced water, and iced coffee drinkers. ;)

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - Oh, you don't know how much I wish I could keep ice in my Crosley. Yes, it was ALMOST a deal breaker for me because I am an incurable ice-oholic. Like you, I drink iced drinks every day, summer and winter. But I did figure out something that works for me. In the picture of the inside of the Crosley, do you notice a stainless steel thermos on the top shelf? I keep that filled with ice cubes that I make in our small freezer in the entry room right next to the kitchen. It's a little bit of a pain but a trade-off I tolerate in order to have the ample refrig space in the kitchen.

Susan said...

Funny, I never even thought about just a refrigerator - without the annoying and almost useless freezer part. I inherited (with my house) one of those side-by-sides. It is totally, totally, useless. I imagine the same genius designed the kitchen sink - two teenyweeny basins with a low faucet. Arrgh.

Kelly said...

Ahh, nice solution to the ice problem. I am so excited to go check out the freezer situation now. :)

Erin said...

Mama Pea, I do the same thing - my icemaker in the new Kitchen Aid is broken and I can't seem to repair it myself, so I have TEN ice trays that I fill and then dump into a large container I keep in there LOL, it was a pain at first but I'm so used to it now.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Doesn't that drive you MAD that there are so many things that you know were never tested for practicality after being designed and before being marketed? Geesh.

Kelly - I don't think my ice cube solution would work if it weren't just me consuming the ice. But maybe if you got a bigger thermos . . .

Erin - Exactly. Now I'll always think of you as I empty my ice cube trays into the freezer container!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

I guess I join the ranks of sick and twisted because I've already done a post on my refridge LOL

Truth is...we've seriously considered going down in size on our fridge. My current one is 18 or 19 cubic feet and even with 11 or 12 gallons of milk it has so much empty space. We make everything from scratch too and because of that we have little in our fridge. When there are left overs they go directly in the freezer for hubby's lunches and get eaten quickly.

So, Jane don't feel too bad if your fridge ends up being small off-grid. I'm wishin ours was :-)

Mama Pea said...

Freedom - I've got to take lessons from you to learn how to have ample space in my refrig. Isn't it funny that something like that can differ so much from family to family? And there are only the TWO of us! Strange.

Leigh said...

Hurray for 2nd refrigerators. I know we're supposed to be cutting down, but really, when one cooks like we do (or has milking goats or lots of eggs), two fridges are a necessity!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Amen! Eggs. That's what I forgot to mention I store also in the spare refrig. 'Course, the reason I forgot them is that our hens are still on strike and I don't have any back log right now. But at different times of the year, I can have up to a dozen dozen stored in there.