The Post-Apocalypse Pantry: Organization is Preservation
Earlier this week Wired ran an interesting article on preserving food without a refrigerator. Rather than the more discussed methods (i.e. canning and drying), the article’s tips are a blend of old-school root cellar methods and more recent scientific knowledge. By applying designer Jihyun Ryou’s principles to your own pantry, you can start to reduce food waste in your current life and simultaneously prepare yourself for the post-existence.
The shelves displayed in the article are cute – my personal favorite is the veggie hydration stand – but an unnecessary purchase. Much of Jihyun’s advice relates simply to the organization of your pantry and is easily adaptable. Apples and potatoes, for example, can easily be mixed in a bag in the pantry; alternatively, you could use a box or container you already own and store the potatoes on the bottom, with the apples covering them. This arrangement prevents the potatoes from being exposed to light, and the ethylene gas emitted by the apples prevents the potatoes from sprouting (ethylene gas has the opposite effect on most other fruits and vegetables). Other ethylene emitting fruits you could experiment with in this arrangement include bananas, avocados, and pears.
I’m also intrigued by Ryou’s suggestion that root vegetables prefer to remain upright. I have yet to try storing my carrots in sand, although with the humidity of East Coast summers it is an attractive suggestion (especially for those of us lacking a basement or cellar). My plan for adapting this concept is to use an old glass vase, which should be of sufficient size to hold a pound of carrots with sand. I will be sure to report back on the results of this experiment.
While these tips are not sufficient to replace your refrigerator, they are easy to implement and a great way to reduce food waste in your pre-apocalypse life. Use them as a base to start becoming more familiar with traditional methods of food preservation and be sure to keep them in mind when stocking your emergency food stash!