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Forget The Fridge: Using Chemistry And Nature To Store Food

The cold of your fridge is actually ruining a lot of your (expensive, local, bought at the farmer’s market) produce. An artist’s project finds ways to use the way fruits and vegetables spoil to keep them fresh, the old-fashioned way.

  • <p>The full Save Food From Your Refrigerator kitchen.</p>
  • <p>Apples generally cause other fruits to spoil quickly ("one bad apple…") so it’s good to keep them separately. But in a special trick of nature, the chemical in apples that makes most food go bad keeps potatoes from sprouting. This keeps them together, but also keeps the potatoes in the dark where they like to be.</p>
  • <p>Vegetables grow in the ground standing up, so it stands to reason that they’d be happier waiting to be eaten while standing up, too. The sand also helps keep the right level of humidity to keep them fresh.</p>
  • <p>One of the big problems with the fridge is how dry it gets in there. Fruit likes moisture. This bowl with water on the bottom will help your fruit last longer (though, obviously, don’t put anything in there with that apple).</p>
  • <p>Eggs that aren’t fresh will float, so just drop an egg in the jar and see whether it’s ok to eat.</p>
  • <p>This works on the same principle as the bowl. Keeping the shelf full of water (filled via the funnel on the left) makes sure you keep attending to your fruits.</p>
  • <p>We’ve all seen rice in salt shakers. This makes that a little more elegant, by keeping the rice attached to the lid of the spice jars, and keeping the spices dry.</p>
  • 01 /07

    The full Save Food From Your Refrigerator kitchen.

  • 02 /07

    Apples generally cause other fruits to spoil quickly ("one bad apple…") so it’s good to keep them separately. But in a special trick of nature, the chemical in apples that makes most food go bad keeps potatoes from sprouting. This keeps them together, but also keeps the potatoes in the dark where they like to be.

  • 03 /07

    Vegetables grow in the ground standing up, so it stands to reason that they’d be happier waiting to be eaten while standing up, too. The sand also helps keep the right level of humidity to keep them fresh.

  • 04 /07

    One of the big problems with the fridge is how dry it gets in there. Fruit likes moisture. This bowl with water on the bottom will help your fruit last longer (though, obviously, don’t put anything in there with that apple).

  • 05 /07

    Eggs that aren’t fresh will float, so just drop an egg in the jar and see whether it’s ok to eat.

  • 06 /07

    This works on the same principle as the bowl. Keeping the shelf full of water (filled via the funnel on the left) makes sure you keep attending to your fruits.

  • 07 /07

    We’ve all seen rice in salt shakers. This makes that a little more elegant, by keeping the rice attached to the lid of the spice jars, and keeping the spices dry.

The refrigerator is a paragon of modern convenience. A magic box that keeps your food so cold it doesn’t spoil. It’s a miracle. But it’s the kind of miracle that can make us a little lazy. You get home from the store and just throw everything in the fridge. But, in fact, many foods aren’t so happy sitting in the ice box, and would be tastier and last longer if stored on the counter. More importantly, nature has given us some helpful tips on how to get the most quality from our foods, if only we would listen.

That’s the object of Save Food From the Refrigerator by the artist Jihyun Ryou. Instead of a deep chill, the project finds ways to store foods to make them keep the longest, often in symbiosis with other produce. Ryou has been working on the project for a while, but it’s recently on view again, with some new additions.

About the project, Ryou says: "Through the research into the current situation of food preservation, I’ve learned that we hand over the responsibility of taking care of food to the technology, the refrigerator. We don’t observe the food any more and we don’t understand how to treat it."

Click through the slideshow above to see some of the ingenious devices and combinations, like a way to keep apples and potatoes happy together or to easily determine whether or not your eggs are still fresh.