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Can You Live without a Refrigerator?

Posted 05/17/2014 6:47 pm by

Why even consider living without a fridge?

  • Long term power outage
  • Personal emergency:  your fridge breaks and you can’t afford another one right
  • Living in a downsized space such as boat or RV.  Many boat and RVs have very small refrigerators
  • Extended camping trips

I experienced first hand not having a fridge available when our fridge broke.  The old fridge was about 30 years old; my parents gave it to us when they upgraded, and it finally gave out.  The repair estimate came out about equal to just buying a new fridge.  At the time, we did not have the finances to buy a fridge outright as we did not want to buy one on credit, so we waited until the next paycheck.

That meant not having a fridge for a few weeks.  After the initial panic – who even lives without a fridge in this day and age – we decided to be creative.

  • We transferred the most perishable items from the broken fridge to a cooler.
  • We started researching what items absolutely need to be kept cool and which ones can last without refrigeration.

After three weeks the new fridge was delivered, but the experience taught me a few things.

Here are a few tips I learned:


The shelf life of fruit depends on when the fruit was actually picked, and how ripe it was when you bought it.  Many fruits last a long time without refrigeration:  apples and citrus fruits will last around four to five weeks on the counter.

If you buy pineapples and mangoes, let them ripen on the counter for about three to four days, then eat within 24 hours.  I don’t refrigerate bananas but let them ripen on the counter and eat them before they get too spotty.

Strawberries and other berries are short-lived without the fridge – eat them as soon as you buy them; if you must keep them, eat them the next day.

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