SHTF Survival: Clay Pot Refrigeration

Have you ever wondered what our ancestors did without refrigeration? How were they able to prevent their food from spoiling? Some of our ancient civilizations did in fact have refrigeration and used simple items they had on hand to create it.

The zeer, or clay pot refrigeration keeps food cool (icy cold) without electricity by using evaporative cooling. Essentially, a porous outer earthenware pot, lined with wet sand, contains an inner pot (which can be glazed to prevent penetration by the liquid) within which the food is placed. The evaporation of the outer liquid draws heat from the inner pot.

In a short or long-term disaster where power is out, knowing essential skills on how to prevent foods from spoiling will help you survive longer and stay healthier. Further, having this simple device can also help you have a diverse diet during a disaster and prolong food fatigue. The best part is that making this device is incredibly cheap, very effective, and doesn’t require any electricity, which is perfect for those disasters where the power is affected and you have no fuel to power your generators.

All that is needed to create a clay pot refrigerator is two terra cotta pots, one larger than the other, as well as some sand, water, and cloth. To make the “fridge”, you just put one pot inside the other, and fill up the spaces with wet sand, which keeps the inside of the pots cold. You will also need to put a wet towel over the top to keep the warm air and light from getting in.


Rather than re-inventing the wheel, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from our ancient ancestors. Using what they had available to them, our ancestors seemed to have many of the modern day conveniences we have today.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 22nd, 2011
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  • Mike

    Is that neat or what!

  • http://laminack.com Brent Laminack

    The important thing to remember here is that this only works in arid lands with low relative humidity. Where I am at the moment, the temp is 52, relative humidity is 66%, which puts the dew point at 41. This means that evaporative cooling will never get below 41. So before you get your hopes too high for this, check out your local dew point.

  • leo ramos

    does this really work? how cool does it keep the food?

  • Born too Late

    Just awesome!

  • 1stworlder

    I heard about this when doing a tour of Pompeii, years later I was telling a diabetic friend about it as a way to store his insulin during a summer power outage. I looked up a youtube video and it said it was just “invented” by a muslim that is teaching people in Africa to make them. Further research showed the muslim “invented” it after I had seen it in the ruins of Pompeii tour.

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