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Outdoor Fridge


snowangel
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Marlene's pork stock, and chilling it outside, reminded me of the outdoor fridge. For those of you in the south, it probably means a fridge plugged into an outlet, which is outdoors.

For those of us way up north, it is a different thing. It is chilling the stock, at this time of year, on the deck or the front stoop.

I way reduced some stock today and wanted to get it cold before putting it in bags to freeze. I hardboiled some eggs. Wanted them way chilled before going into the fridge.

So, out on the deck they went, pans and bowls nestled into a bank of snow (we had our first significant snowfall of the season yesterday).

My, that stuff chills fast. Goes into the fridge way chilled, thus not using too much fridge energy.

So, for those of us Up North, do you use nature's fridge?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I don't live that far north, but I do this all the time if it's cold out. I've even been known to stick a covered 3gal cambro of stock out the side door at work when it's below freezing outside. That way I can freeze it when I depart and my poor freezer won't blow a fuse. I've been known to stick trays of chocolates, cookies, whatever outside in January so they cool and set quickly.

I'm actually feeling guilty now because my chest freezer (which is not outdoors) needs to be defrosted, and today's a perfect day--I can just stick everything outside. If I wasn't feeling a little sick and jet-lagged, I would have handled this today.

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Oh yes!

Now it never gets very cold here in The Netherlands, but cold enough for my balcony to be an excellent extra fridge. I always put stocks and stews out there. And that's why I love to give winter parties.. all the wine and beer is on the balcony.. all the food can be prepared in advance and is waiting on the balcony.. you never run out of fridge space!

(Be careful though with leaving food over night... I know people who left a whole baked ham wrapped in plastic on their back porch, to discover the next day that all the neighborhood cats had had a hamfeast).

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Absolutely. On-deck stock pot chilling is the best. Lately, however, it's been a little toooo chilly: minus 10 will freeze the nose on your face... but that's not news to you folks, eh snowangel?! (We're getting your snow tonight: about a foot they say. We'll be cooking all night and day!)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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There's no longer any sodas taking up fridge space. I love the way ham gelatin can get cooled down, then lifted right out and put into another container.

Oh, I forgot cake cooling. One hour to cool? Phooey! 10 minutes, but you must keep your eye on it.

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I don't live that far north, but am at a higher altitude (nearly 3000 ft) than L.A. or the San Fernando Valley and it gets cold up here. It also stays cold because the prevailing winds are out of the west or northwest and come right down from the snow-covered mountains.

Last night's low was 36, right now the temperature on the south side of my house is 62 but on the deck on the north side (in deep shade because of the deck roof) it is only 48 degrees.

I have a bunch of vegetables and fruit that ordinarily would be in my fridge.

In particular I have 20 bags of cranberries that were on sale a few days ago.

Later this afternoon I am going to start a big batch of cranberry sauce.

Right now my housekeeper is doing her weekly cleaning and I have found that it is better to stay out from under foot when she is in cleaning mode, otherwise I might get washed and waxed also.

Just so you know I am not a slave-driver, she decides on her own that something needs cleaning and goes at it. She does far more than I would ever require of a housekeeper (or myself, when I was doing it all alone). I keep telling her that things are just fine as they are, I don't mind a little dust, but she just snorts and charges into the fray.

Her room is at the northeast corner of the house and she keeps her water bottles lined up in the window box outside her north-facing window. Sometimes they freeze overnight and she has learned to put them inside another container before leaving for school in the morning.

I have an acquaintenance who moved from Nebraska to June Lake. The first winter they were there they also put food out on their deck to chill. Once only. They were visited by one of the local bears who not only stole the food but ripped the railing off the deck when he was startled by someone turning on a light.

They thought bears hibernated all winter, however sometimes they wake up and go looking for a snack.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I normally do this all winter, but it's been in the 50's for about a week now, so I haven't been able to. When it's colder I have to use my second story back deck, which means carrying food through the living room. The small deck off the kitchen is prone to raccoon infestations and no food would be safe out there. No bears, though.

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Yup, using our shed to keep things cool, bread does really well there for an overnight rise!

that and the usual suspects, juice and so on, love winter!

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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We have a wee beastie problem here as well, so nothing tasty stays out for very long.

Drinks, on the other hand - there are some margaritas cooling out there even as we speak. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten about bottles of sparkling water, though. :raz:

V

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Being in a Manhattan apartment means I don't have an outdoor fridge. But I do have what we fondly call "the cold room" aka the second bedroom. When we're entertaining (in the winter) and I need room for large platters or chilling drinks I open the windows in the room and place everyhing on a desk so they stay nice and chilled. I've actually chilled down hot soup this way as well.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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We put all sorts of stuff on our back porch when it's cold out. I restrict myself to only squirrel-safe foods, though: I can't even keep a suet block for the woodpeckers longer than a couple of hours if I don't stand right by the door to shoo them away.

Right now, it's a whopping 10 degrees F out, about the warmest it's been in three days, but the wind chill is still about -15. Fortunately for us, it doesn't stay super-cold for very long, so you don't need to worry too much about things freezing quickly.

Something else that usually works well in Oswego, if we need a little extra "fridge" space, is to gather some snow and use that instead of ice in one of our coolers. We've never had any trouble with wildlife molesting a closed cooler on our deck, and this time of year you don't have to recharge the snow often.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Here on the Gulf Coast, we get low temperatures so seldom that I often forget about the "outdoor fridge." Due to this topic, the 16 quart stock pot full of beef stock is now sitting on the balconey to chill so I can defat it. It is 36 degrees F out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Otherwise, I would have had to clean out the indoor fridge. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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At this time of the year the outdoor fridge has become the outdoor freezer here in Ottawa. I've rigged a high shelf in the unheated garage to cool stocks etc. and to freeze whatever doesn't "fit" in our small freezer chest. We also have little furry friends that like to sample and partake....this way, everything is safely stored.

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I have our cooler out on the back deck, and when we came home with leftovers from a restaurant, I just told Jason to throw them in there rather than trying to suffle stuff around in the fridge. However, being as cold as it is, I have some ice cream in there too. I mean it's below freezing, around 24 F, but the ice cream is soft. Not quite as soft as if you'd accidentally left it in the fridge, but too soft. What temperature is a regular freezer supposed to be? (so I know when it is safe to keep freezer stuff outside)

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I've probably told this outdoor fridge story somewhere here before, but I love it so much that I'll tell it again.

New Year's Eve Feast at my parents' house in Ottawa, five foot snowdrifts in the backyard. Every square inch of fridge and prep space was taken, so when Daddy returned from LaPointe's with six dozen oysters he set them on trays in the snow until it was ime to shuck them. Squirrels don't like oysters.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Probably the thing I love most about the house we built...but I call it a pantry.

My grandmother had one, my mother too... so I can't imagine living without it.

It's a 6x9 room, with both deep and shallow shelves, and a nice wide counter running the 3 side perimeter. The trick? a narrow diamond-paned glass window (screened of course), that cranks out. Provides cold storage 3 seasons! It's an insulated but not heated room, ceramic tile floor, with the door to the kitchen heavyduty and weather-stripped. I keep a thermometer in there, so I can closely monitor and keep the temp fairly constant. In the spring and fall, I open the window wide at night, let the cool air in, and then shut tight during the day, and it keeps in the cold. (the window faces north, btw) In the dead of winter, like now...Too cold? only barely crack the window so it doesn't freeze everything.

I have hanging wire baskets and wicker baskets on part of the counter, for onions, garlic,shallots, potatoes and other root veg, apples, fresh veggies/greens, etc etc. I have 2 hooks too, to hold the Smithfield Hams for the holidays. Bins for sodas, wine, etc. One wall is deep but only 10" apart shelves i designed specifically for cooling large sheetpans, and keeping platters for entertaining all ready to go. Also for dinner parties, I'll plate all the salads and/or desserts ahead and place on full sheet pans (holds 8 plates!) and have them all ready to go out to serve. Just like one big walk-in fridge! I keep all my canned goods in there year round, and in summer, it just holds the usual foodstuffs like extra cases of drinks and bags of chips. (It is airconditioned.)

I know how lucky I am, and it is the one thing that makes me not want to move/downsize next year, as I am considering... :sad:

Oh yes, no critter problems of course, unless you count the 2-legged ones who like to sneak in, close the door behind them, and eat all the cookies, chocolate truffles, or chug the soda, all supposedly unbeknownst to me! Don't all mothers have x-ray eyes? (The hidden telltale wrappers, empty tins, bags and cans left behind help!) :wink:

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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On Christmas Eve, I do champagne and canapes for friends and family. There is always some version of foie gras on the menu. This year, I decided to confit a third of the lobe. Out of the fat, wrapped in parchment then two layers of saran.

It was hovering near 0F, so I decided to put in on the back porch for 10 minutes or so to get a good start on a chill.

Fifteen minutes later I went out to fetch my torchon. In its place was a whole bunch of shredded parchment and racoon tracks.

$18 of foie gras down the gullet of a racoon and the guests had to make do with seared foie gras.

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I grew up in Michigan, and we always used the back porch for cooling foods and storing drinks for parties. When we had a garage, we then had both an outdoor freezer, and walk in fridge (garage). Really useful during the holidays when the fridge was just not big enough!

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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We have been doing this since the temperature first went below freezing back in October. Raccoons aren't a problem up here, but the dogs, squirrels & foxes get to be an issue - so we keep everything in various and assorted cool boxes. Worked really well until the temperature got to around -40 (okay - I exaggerate - it was only -35), at which point everything in the cool boxes went solid. The cream, when defrosted, was butter - the celery was only fit for stock, and the beercicles made the dogs woozy. Note to self - if it's below -20, put things in the unheated garage.

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I recall one snowy winter in North Dakota. Our chest freezer must have died or maybe we got extra beef that year (we always got half a steer from my grandparent's farm). For whatever reason, we ended up putting a bunch of the meat out in the snowbank on the north side of the house. As more snow piled up, we had to dig deeper and deeper to find the meat. I don't recall if we actually looked for specific cuts or if we just used whatever we dug up for dinner...no animal problems at all, probably because they couldn't smell the stuff buried under three feet of snow!

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We lived in St. Paul until last year, and we used our enclosed sun porch as a winter pantry. It was so nice (and decadent) to put a whole case of champagne out there during the holidays where it would chill down perfectly. Also, we made confit one year and when we ran out of fridge space, out on to the porch it went. I miss that. :sad:

Edited by alicehat (log)

Karen

It really doesn't take more than three bricks and a fire to cook a meal, a sobering reminder that it's the individual who makes the food, not the equipment. --Niloufer Ichaporia King

FamilyStyle Food

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Even in the SF Bay area it's helpful if you're baking at night. The temp can often drop 30 deg in the pm. I often put things outside to cool--cookie sheets in between batches, blind-baked crusts, cakes, pies, etc.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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