Traditional Food Preservation Methods Put Fridges On Ice

Technology moves our society along – there is no doubt about that. But there is something to be said for low-tech traditions that served the human race well for thousands of years. Designer Jihyun Ryou is encouraging the world to leave their refrigerators behind and return to the traditional wisdom that allowed people to keep food fresh long before these energy hogs became permanent parts of our homes.

The project is called Shaping Traditional Oral Knowledge – Save Food From the Fridge. It uses traditional materials to store food without artificial cooling. The Dryness of Spices segment above uses rice beneath cork lids to absorb moisture, keeping the spices within glass jars dry and free of clumps.

Verticality of Root Vegetables keeps root veggies like carrots in their natural growing posture. This position allows the vegetables to stay fresh for longer, a goal that is helped along by the sand in which the veggies sit. The sand keeps the food at the optimal humidity level and helps them to stave off decay.

In the Symbiosis of Potato + Apple segment of the project, the natural properties of two foods are harnessed. Apples release ethylene gas, making other fruits kept in their vicinity ripen too quickly. However, when kept with potatoes, apples keep the spuds from sprouting. This wall-mounted cabinet keeps potatoes in a dark chamber and apples on top, allowing the apples to slow the sprouting of the potatoes.

Eggshells are highly permeable, picking up the scents and tastes of foods around them when kept in the fridge. This simple shelf keeps eggs close at hand and away from objectionable fridge odors. A small chamber of water in the middle lets you check the freshness of your eggs: the deeper an egg sinks in water, the fresher it is.

“Fruit vegetables,” or foods that we commonly think of as vegetables but which are biologically fruits, need humidity to stay fresh. This shelf, called Humidity of Fruit Vegetables, keeps the veggies fresh and crisp by supplying them with a source of fresh water. Like every segment of this interesting project, this module encourages eco-minded consumers to find planet-friendly options for everyday activities.

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See more in Antique Gadgets or under Vintage & Retro. March, 2012.