Being an air conditioning contractor on Sanibel Island, FL, I have always been interested in different types of refrigeration methods. One of the most unusual and simple types of non electrical refrigeration is what is known as a Zeer pot which is Arabic for what we call a pot-in-pot refrigerator.
The Zeer pot’s beauty is not only in its effectiveness but in its simplicity. What it consists of is two earthen pots, one set inside the other. The space in between is then filled with sand. The sand then has water added to it twice a day. It is then covered with a cloth of some sort. When placed in a shady well ventilated area the evaporation effect pulls heat out of the center pot. The difference in temperature between the outside air and inside the center pot can be as much as 30 °F. This has been life-changing for many people around the world. Especially true for the poorer, third world countries where people don’t always have access to electricity. The effectiveness is seen in the extension of food preservation. For example foods that would spoil in mere days can now last weeks. Tomatoes, guavas and okra that would spoil in a couple of days in a hot climate now can be kept for as long as 20 days.
Just imagine the impact that this bit of human ingenuity has had on poor families. There are also reports of less disease in these areas due to food being protected from heat and not exposed to possible contaminants. At an outdoor market, food was openly displayed exposing it to insects and other undesirable elements. The difference now is that vendors can bring their Zeer pots to a market. They set out a few samples of what they are selling on top of the pots while a cool cloth protects the rest of their crop safely stored in the cool confines of this clever earthenware.
Thanks as always,
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com