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The methods used for food storage prior to coldrooms and refrigerators….

Imagine if you didn’t have a refrigerator, how would you keep milk, butter and fresh produce chilled and at just the right temperature? Although devices used to store produce are common today, there was a time before coldrooms, freezers and fridges when people had to use different methods to keep and store food. We look at some of the most common methods here and explore how produce was kept fresh.


Have a chat with the most elderly members of your household and see if they can remember having a pantry in their family home. Most will recall a time when they were younger and they had a special area of the house known as a pantry. Cooling pantries were located on the coldest facing wall within the property. Many had small windows fitted high up and they were covered with sieved screens to prevent flies from getting into the property.  Shelves were fitted inside the pantry and here you could place jugs of milk, cold meats and pots of butter, or any type of food substance you wanted to last for a day or so.


If you owned a Victorian property with a cellar you could use this as a food storage area. Cellar areas were cool and dark, they were good places to keep produce and prevent it from perishing. People kept meats in barrels filled with salt inside their cellar to further prolong the life of the goods. It was common to store vegetables in cellar areas, along with fruits and nuts.

Ice Boxes

More commonly used in American properties, ice boxes were like early versions of refrigerators without the electrical power. They had hollow walls filled with insulating materials and a large block of ice was held in a compartment near the top. Cooling air from the ice wafted downwards into the main cabinet where fresh produced was kept.

Of course, these primitive methods of keeping food substances fresh seem so outdated now. This is especially true when you consider you can now invest in coldrooms, coldstores, chiller and freezer applications that provide excellent quality standards.

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