Car fridges, or How to save food on the road. Personal experience and self-tests
I love wild vacations and I love to travel. My recent review of mosquito repellent sparked interest, so I decided to do a review of auto refrigerators. After all, this thing is interesting for every car owner: stop at the store on the way to the cottage/village/river bank with tents and pick up groceries for the weekend. But even at night in the summer the temperature can be 20 degrees or higher. Meat for barbecue will not live even a day in such conditions. So I took three types of refrigerators and tested them on myself. Well, who is too lazy to read. there will be a video at the end of the article.
Car refrigerators can be divided into three types: thermobox, isothermal, and hybrid electric-gas. There are also compressor models, but they are noticeably more expensive and essentially these are common household refrigerators, just smaller in volume. And in view of their cost in area of 50 thousand I do not see any sense to consider them. But I will tell you briefly: they can freeze up to.18 degrees, and avid fishermen will not be suitable. The volumes are not the same. Fishermen are more likely to take a freezer like the one ice cream vendors use.
I don’t write model names on purpose because I’m only looking at the types of refrigerators. But I did take food cooling readings of all the refrigerators and in the table below you can see the results.
You can also find it by the words “isothermal container”. Is a well insulated box with a capacity of 10 to 50 liters with a drain hole. Easiest way to use: put food in, line it with cold batteries (or bottles of frozen water). You can also use dry ice. Has a drain plug on the side to catch any water or condensation. Can keep cold for up to 32 hours in the shade if the lid is not opened. In principle, for going out for a day or two with a lot of ice will do. But won’t last much longer, because you’ll run out of cold.
Pros: Different volumes, easy to clean, lightweight, inexpensive, nothing to break, keeps cold for up to 32 hours
Cons: Doesn’t freeze, just insulates from the outside environment
Popular and even sold in many auto stores and supermarkets. The base is the same thermobox, but in the top lid mounted cooling element Peltier blown by fans on both sides. It can not freeze, but only provides a temperature difference with the outside environment of 13-15 degrees. That is, if it is 30-35 degrees outside in the shade, where the air conditioner will be, it will be 18-20 degrees inside. Therefore, in order to preserve food, it is a good idea to add cold batteries, which should first be frozen in the freezer at home. Some models are able to work in reverse, that is, not to cool the internal volume, but to heat. The model I tested can only cool in two modes: ECO and HP (High Power).
Pros: Runs on 220V and 12V in the car, has two cooling modes
Cons: Provides a temperature delta with the outside environment of 13-15 degrees
Hybrid electric-gas refrigerator
The most interesting model of this test, at least because it can be powered from a car cigarette lighter, the network 220Volt and from a gas cylinder. Refrigerator that runs on gas is called an absorption refrigerator. I see no reason to write a separate article on the principle of operation, because it can be easily found on the Internet using the phrase “absorption refrigerator”. In my case, the refrigerator was an automobile refrigerator with a top-mounted door. It works from an ordinary gas cylinder with propane-butane, which can be filled at any gas station. Gas consumption. less than a liter per day. The manufacturer stated that the 5-liter cylinder is enough for 7-9 days of operation. It is absolutely silent and can freeze even the ice. Should provide a delta with the outside environment of 22-25 degrees.
Pros: Really cool, noiseless, runs on electricity and gas
Disadvantages: high weight, relatively high cost
In order to evaluate the operation of the three different types of refrigerators as objectively as possible, the following situation has been simulated: 6 identical bottles of mineral water of 1 litre a day were used as the products.5 liter. They have sufficient heat capacity, and you can track the dynamics of cooling. 5 accumulators of cold were placed in the thermo-box and the thermoelectric and the hybrid refrigerator were connected to 220V network. Thermoelectric refrigerator was working at maximum performance mode, i.e. HP. Temperature was controlled by a pyrometer with an accuracy of 0.1 degree. Measurements were taken three times: at the moment of loading, after 5 hours, after 10 hours. The situation was simulated when the movement of the car lasted for 7 hours, and after that the engine was switched off and the refrigerators were de-energized. That is, electric refrigerators have been working for 7 hours and just kept cold for 3 hours. The outside temperature was a stable 22.5 degrees.
Now briefly describe my experience, impressions and conclusions. Thermoboxes are good when you leave for a day or a day and a half, when you need to keep chilled food and initially have frozen ice or accumulated cold. It’s simple, cheap and easy. From the results it can be seen that already after 5 hours the cold batteries have given up all the frost and the foods begin to gradually heat up. That is, you need to take a lot of ice and open the fridge as little as possible.
Conclusion 1: A thermobox for short outings, but cheap and hardy
As for the thermoelectric cooler I can say the following: it cools quite well due to the fan, but I did not see the claimed 15 degrees of delta after 5 hours. That is, it can cool food a little, but I would not leave marinated shashlik in it for a couple of days in summer. It’s perfect for dacha owners: while driving from the store to the country house or to a tent camp, you can keep the food fresh. it does not work without external power and turns into a thermo-box, the only difference is that it costs a bit more. Comfortable handle and bucket form factor. really comfortable to wear and takes up less space in the trunk. At the end of the test, the temperature of the bottles was the highest of all, indicating poor insulation and the need to be constantly plugged in. If you leave the refrigerator connected to the car overnight, it is able to “suck” the entire battery in 6-8 hours, depending on battery capacity. It is good to use it with a compact solar power station. Had a positive experience on the road, but not everyone has such a power plant.
Conclusion 2: The thermoelectric refrigerator is good for delivering food to the parking lot.
And the star of the test. is the hybrid electric-gas refrigerator. It is completely silent, works in the car, at home and in nature. away from electricity. Works long and good quality. It even comes with a small ice cube and it’s not useless: you can freeze a day’s worth of ice for an evening cocktail. The refrigerator is larger and roomier, it has cooling adjustments. In the photo, you can see that there are separate power indicators for 12 and 220V, and when the gas burns, the arrow goes into the green field. The left handle is responsible for adjusting the frost when working with electricity, and the right handle. for ignition of gas and adjustment of gas cooling.
As for its operation, it allows reaching the lowest temperature during the active phase. Refrigerator freezes food all the time and does not drain the battery car, if you connect it to a gas cylinder. So it’s ideal for parking lots and campsites lasting more than a day. It is highly desirable to place the fridge strictly horizontally. There’s even a small level at the top for this. This way the effectiveness of the refrigerator will be maximum.
Conclusion 3: The best refrigerator for self-contained outings and dwelling in the countryside without electricity indefinitely.
Only vegetables will survive: How to save food if the fridge is broken
Just stocked your refrigerator for a month ahead, when it’s broken, and the parts won’t arrive until a couple of weeks later? This is not the most common situation, but if it happens to you, you better be prepared for it. The easiest way out is to start cooking and eating all you can. But if you can no longer hold it, these unpretentious tips will come in handy.
How to save food in different ways
If the problem arose in the cool season. everything is not so acute. You can just take the products to the balcony, and if there is no balcony. hang out the window in a bag.
But what about the liquids, which should be in the cool? Juices can be stored in a container with cold water, just fill the basin and put the packages in it. With a regular change of cool water this will be enough for a couple of days.
If you have a country house, and there is a well. lower the bucket with the products in it so that it does not sink. Well water is usually cold, it will be very effective.
It’s a little more complicated with milk. it goes sour in half a day. Boiling with a little baking soda will help prevent disaster. Cooled after boiling milk should be put in a basin with cold water and cover with a wet towel so that the cloth partially remains in the water. If this basin is placed in a draught. the towel will constantly cool. By the way, picnic lovers keep their beer cool this way. they wrap it in a wet rag and put it in a draft, for example under the base of a car.
Butter stores well in a solution of wine vinegar. Cottage cheese will last a few days if you stuff it tightly into a jar with salt on the bottom, and cover the top with salted gauze and set the oppression.
Meat at the current on it and at all it is a shame to leave without cold. It can be covered in a strong brine or aqueous vinegar solution. You can wrap it in gauze soaked in water with vinegar and salt. The heat treatment then takes away the acid.
If you need to preserve the fish, it should be salted and hung to dry. Just soak in water before cooking.
Vegetables do not require much cold in storage, they can simply be covered with sand so that there is no moisture for rotting.
All of these methods are only good as a temporary measure until you solve the problem of a breakdown or lack of electricity.
To obtain large ice cubes, you can take special large-sized molds. As an alternative, you can use muffin tins designed for muffins. You should pour boiling water into a mold and put it in the freezer until the molds are completely frozen and turn into ice. Using large chunks is very convenient. Such ice will melt rather slowly due to its coarse surface. For picnics in nature large cubes will suit best. To keep ice even longer, you can cover the bottom of the container or bucket with a towel, and then put the cubes there. This kind of container will keep the temperature low.
To create ice, it is recommended to use boiled water, it is better not to take waste water.
You Can Live Without Refrigeration. Here’s How
It should be taken into account that the cubes are usually used for drinks, so with the waste water bacteria can enter the body. An important factor is the type of ice, if you use boiled water it will be transparent, because it will have few bubbles.
How to preserve food without a refrigerator in the summer at home in the apartment
About 100 years ago refrigerators appeared and it became easier to keep food fresh. But appliances sometimes break down or don’t work because there’s no electricity, so you have to find alternative ways to store food.
How to save food without a refrigerator
In winter you can put some of the contents on the balcony while the refrigerator is being repaired, but in summer you have to quickly find a way out. There are several ways to maintain the right temperature until the refrigerator repairman arrives, or take steps to preserve cooked meals or food. Some tips are good when you go to the country house, during a vacation in nature, and for defrosting the freezer compartment.
Storing food when your refrigerator is broken Do not remove food before the refrigerator repairman arrives. The body of your appliance retains temperature and the ice in the freezer compartment will only start to melt after 8-10 hours if you don’t open it.
If you have to remove food, put it in a dark place. Ultraviolet rays work just as well as elevated temperatures. What to do if your refrigerator repair is delayed? When the temperature in the compartments rises, transfer the food to the containers and place under a stream of cold water. The normal temperature of the water supply is between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. In any case, colder than air. In nature, the nearest river or creek will help. Load the food into the bucket, lower it into the water, and cover it.
|Advice for the future: stock up on cold batteries they are useful in emergency situations, on hikes and during long trips.|
Where to put the food while the refrigerator is being repaired
Heat-processing is an ideal way to preserve food. Boil, fry, load in the multicooker in all cases you will have extra time. 8 to 12 hours until the food starts to cool. Already cooked food should be heated or boiled. How to store dairy products without a refrigerator:
- Butter. Stack unpacked briquettes as tightly as possible in glass jars. Pour cold, lightly salted water on top. The butter will not absorb it, and without access to oxygen it will keep it fresh.
- Cottage cheese, sour cream, and soft cheeses. Transfer the dairy products to separate jars and place them in water. To prevent the surface from drying out, cover the jars with a cloth with the ends dipped in water.
- Milk. Fresh must be stored in a dark cool place, and in boiled can be added soda and sugar (on the tip of a knife) to increase the shelf life.
- Hard cheese. The product spoils quickly in the bag, but without it it dries out. So wrap it in a cloth dampened with salt water.
When traveling by car, care must be taken to preserve the food. For those owners who have purchased thermal bags, bags, or a refrigerator for the car in advance, this will not be a problem.
They just need to stock up on extra cold batteries. These small items will help maintain the temperature needed to store food. With additional batteries you can turn off the cooler for 4-5 hours, or keep your drinks and food in the thermo-bag cool for a couple of resting places.
The only rule is to open the thermo bag or bag as little as possible, because the warm air increases the temperature inside these containers.
Car fridge perfectly helps to keep food during trips to the countryside. Its compact chamber can hold all perishable products, including milk, butter, baby food, cheese, water, and sausage.
The only catch is it does not cost cheap. Car refrigerators are used not only on trips, but also in the country house, during a hike or at events where there is a need for refreshments.
To power the car refrigerator you need a 220 V mains. To do this, it is equipped with its own wire or a special adapter for connecting to the cigarette lighter in the car.
Compact cooler bag.
Rather budget is considered the purchase of an isothermal bag, it is very easy to keep products without a refrigerator in the heat. If you need to connect the car refrigerator to the power grid to work, then to maintain the cold in the thermal bag need cold batteries.
You can buy not one such bag, but several at once, put the food on them and use them in several resting places. Isothermal bag solves the main problem on the road, which is the preservation of cold for food.
The box with their own hands.
That would keep food without a cooler in the heat, try to make a box from insulated material saving the cold with his hands. For this purpose take a thick bag and cut out parts from insulation according to its size (this material has good flexibility).
Then all the sides of the box should be joined with foil or duct tape. The more airtight the joint, the longer the food will be stored in the homemade box. For keeping cold it is good to use accumulators, which are stored in the freezer.
If they are not available, bottles or hot-water bottles with frozen water should be used. In order to create an insulating effect, it is necessary to wrap all frozen food in paper. The less often such a box is opened, the less cold is taken away, and the longer the quality of the food is preserved.
Storing frozen food while traveling in thermowraps is not only easy, but also effective. For 3-4 hours a low temperature in them is guaranteed. Several bags purchased at once allow you to arrange the food so that you do not have to open each of them repeatedly.
It is good to put such bags in a box made with your own hands to keep them frozen for a long time.
What foods can be stored without a fridge?
Boiled or fried chicken sprinkled with peppers, soup, or other prepared dish will last a day.
Up to 4 days can be preserved fresh meat and fish (with proper processing), butter, cheeses.
For a week
Keeps smoked sausage for a week, frozen meat and fish (with suitable storage and further processing), storable milk. Vegetables. carrots, cabbage, avocado and others. will last more than a week.
At home, everything was carefully prepared for storage, because it depended on how and what I would eat.
Fish and chicken
I cleaned the freshly frozen fish, cut them into pieces and put them in glass jars with water. The jars stood under the windowsill with the window open. I’ve tried two ways to preserve fish and chicken. I dilute apple cider vinegar in water or add coarse salt. In one jar in water with vinegar or salt lay fish pieces or chicken. So I kept them for 3 or 4 days, no more. So I calculated based on how I ate, how much to buy for that time.
I had two servings a day, one piece of fish or chicken per serving. Before cooking, I poured salted water or water and vinegar over it and poured cold water over the fish or chicken for about an hour, while I was preparing breakfast, then I took it out of the water, dried the fish or chicken pieces, sprinkled them with spices, wrapped them in foil and put them in the oven. Since the fish and chicken were small pieces, so they cooked for no more than 30 minutes.
Vegetables and fruit
Since I picked all the vegetables myself, they were of good quality. I stored the tomatoes by simply laying them out one by one on baking paper under the windowsill. In this form, they were safely stored for a week, or even more. I checked them daily, turning each tomato.
I had to tinker with the cucumbers, until I figured out the best way to store them. Put them in glass jars, just left them in a half-open bag, but nothing helped, they spoil quickly. Then started taking 8 of them. for 4 days 2 pieces. a day, and then only ate tomatoes and peppers. I kept the cucumbers open in plastic boxes, looking through them every day.
I like bell peppers very much, bought a lot of them, and they were perfectly stored just on baking paper under the window sill for a week, or even two.
Eggplants in open plastic containers were kept for 7-10 days without problems, they wrinkled a little, but since I only used them for baking in the oven, it was not critical.
The fruits required no additional conditions. they just lay on baking paper at room temperature on a shelf under the window sill.
Dried fruits and sunflower seeds
Once a month I bought a kilogram of dried fruit at the market. apricots, dates, prunes and sunflower seeds. Dried fruits I washed, dried and ate 5-6 pieces a day, fried the seeds and also ate a handful as a snack.
These products are perfectly stored in glass jars. poured them out of the bags and covered the top with a paper napkin.
Milk and dairy products
Learned that milk likes sugar. put 1 tsp sugar in the milk, closed the bottle and shook it up. But since I’m not a big fan of milk, so I bought it infrequently. 1-2 times a month, and from the package poured into a glass jar and added sugar, in which case you have to drink milk for 3 days maximum, this period it was in my hands, and was fresh and ready to eat.
Kefir is easy to store for 3-4 days without a fridge, it does not require any special tricks. I love kefir, I drink a glass every day before going to bed. I bought kefir in a bag and also poured it into a glass jar and consumed it for good. And if by chance there was some left in the jar, I poured the semolina, poured it into a baking pan and put it in the oven, and it turned out a wonderful semolina cake for a light snack.
Butter must be kept away from light. I added a little salt to a container of water and put the unpacked butter in it, covered it with a lid with access to air. So the oil was stored for a week, because salt is a natural preservative.
Eggs can also be stored in salt. pour salt on the bottom of the box, then put the eggs and more coarse salt.
I, on the other hand, kept my eggs perfectly in cardboard store-bought cartons. 10 pieces were enough for 5 days. two eggs for breakfast.
Since I like to eat a variety of sandwiches with tea or coffee, I had to decide what to do with this. I used to buy sliced or shredded cheese, about 150-200 grams at a time, and store it in baking paper under the windowsill.