Tim asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 7 months ago

How did people store food before the invention of the refrigerator?

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  • 7 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Cold rooms and ice houses. I was born in UK before domestic refrigerators. At home we had what was called a 'larder'. This was a walk-in cupboard on the north side of the kitchen wall that caught little sun. Inside were several air-bricks to allow for ventilation. There were two marble shelves (which are always cold to the touch), and anything needing to be kept cool was placed on these. There was also a meat-safe, a cabinet with wire sides for storing raw and cooked meats, that flies could not get into. Butter and fats were stored in earthenware over trays of cold water. Generally more foods were eaten at room temperature than we do today. Such as tomatoes and eggs, which do not need refrigeration. We lived in a city, but as a country-woman, my mother would bring home game from her visits there; mostly rabbit and hare, and these were hung, nose down on hooks suspended from the roof of the larder until ready for skinning and preparation for cooking.

    Large houses built ice houses for a supply of ice. They were constructed underground and in winter, servants cut big blocks of ice from frozen lakes on country estates and these were kept in the ice house and taken to the house when needed, as aids to chilling foods in kitchens.

    Other methods included salting, and from the 19th century, canning.

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    • C
      Lv 7
      7 months agoReport

      I'd give my hind teeth for a proper larder! The closest I get to one is a cupboard on the outside wall of the kitchen that's "cooler." There no place for the things that need to be cool but not cold to be at their best.

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  • 7 months ago

    In some cultures in rural communities, certain categories of foods were hung above the fireplace to dry the up. Examples are meats, grains. they could last for weeks.

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  • 7 months ago

    salt and drying , meat was often consumed all in short time like Hawaii luau -- everyone had some of it

    this is why people live longer (refrigeration and transportation via the internal combustion engine) not medical as much as they want you to think -- yes medical does add to it, but much medical treatment is also due to internal combustion engine and refrigeration for vaccinations

    prior starvation was the main cause of death (malnutrition) and in third world areas still is

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  • 7 months ago

    Ice boxes were used. We still have one.

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  • blu
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    A granary is a storehouse for threshed grain. These date back centuries.

    Meats were cured to be preserved.

    The first canned food was 1810.

    Pickling dates back many centuries.

    Ice boxes were the forerunner of the refrigerator.

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  • 7 months ago

    By salting or drying in the sun.

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  • 7 months ago

    Originally, meats were salted or dried. Vegetables could be dried. Those who lived in cold climates learned, of course, that packing snow and ice around foods kept them longer.

    When canning was invented, first in glass jars and then in tins, the life of foods was greatly extended. The wealthy could afford to have large storage units that could be packed with slabs of ice cut from lakes and ponds during winter months and shipped many miles. These first 'iceboxes' eventually gave way to the smaller inhome versions that were affordable to the middle class, until modern refrigeration came about.

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  • 7 months ago

    In Sugar, Salt or alcohol.

    Icing sugar over bread/cake will preserve it.

    Salt in the form of brine will preserve meats.

    Some foods will not preish, e.g. cheese.

    Another food stuff that does not go ff is honey.

    Grains for bread making must be kept dry.

    Some fruits e.g. apples can be wrapped in waxed paper.

    NB Ice could be collected from frozen rievrs and stored in deep cisterns to keep it from melting, thereby preserve food.

    A lot of foods ,be it meat or vegetables/fruit can be left alive, there by it does not perish. Many animals/vegetables would only be killed/harvested when there was a need to eat it.

    Many people just had to eat seasonal foodstuffs.

  • Athena
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    It depends on how long BEFORE the invention of the refrigerator you are talking about.

    • Lv 4
      7 months agoReport

      good point; really a great useful invention(s)

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  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    smoked it

    canned it

    root cellars, etc. which stay cooler

    saved winter ice to keep food fresher

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