Saturday, 7 February 2009

There are times when simplicity rules over sophistication.

The Zeer pot could not be simpler or easier to make or operate and yet as a refrigeration device it is truly an example of just how simplicity can work when sophistication cannot. It is a simple fridge made of local materials, clay and sand, consisting of one earthenware pot set inside another, with a layer of wet sand in between. As the moisture evaporates outwards from the wet sand through the outer earthenware pot it cools the inner pot, keeping up 12kg of produce fresh for up to three weeks. The shelf life of Tomatoes and Guavas are extended from 2 to 20 days, carrots from 4 to 20 days and Rocket from 1 to 5 days.

Fruit, vegetables and water are all kept fresher for longer – providing much needed help to starving families and can mean the difference between potential starvation and having enough food.

The Zeer pot is cheap, easy to make (see the video) environmentally friendly and works on Solar Energy. Now didn't Paul say something in Phillipians 4:19 about God meeting our needs?

You can find more about Practical Action's work in the Third World here


Margaret's Ramblings said...

Wow, Peter, where do you find this stuff. This is brilliant. Just this week I wondered how we would cope without a normal refridgerator. Going by these past few weeks we could cope in the winter but the summer, well I know our grandparents did but we seem to have lost the skills. Margaret

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

"where do you find this stuff?" Easy Margaret, I am and I have this on good authority, a nerd.

homebrewlibrarian said...

The zeer pot (or something similar) would work well where the humidity is low since the cooling action comes from evaporation. I read up on evaporative cooling years ago and was fascinated by articles that discussed building coolers using water in Egypt (something like "swamp" coolers but on a larger scale).

Unfortunately, it won't work so well in high humidity areas. So the next question is, what kind of cooling takes place in warm, wet places like the deep southeast US, Amazon basin, Southeast Asia? Or did they do some other sort of food preservation instead of cooling?

I'm becoming something of a food preservation nerd myself and have become fascinated with the myriad different ways people have "put up" food so that they have it later when that food isn't available fresh. And most of the time simplicity wins out.

Kerri in AK