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Prehistoric Refrigerator

By Angel Nuñez

I was chatting with my good Sanpedrano friend Jason Forman who lives in the U.S.A. and was explaining how we used to preserve limes.  He immediately commented that this was a prehistoric refrigerator and then remarked about the manner fishermen used to preserve lobster tails. I built one or two of those, so here it goes.

I am talking about building a giant ice box.  First you construct the framework of a wooden box with two by fours measuring about 6 feet square by four feet deep. Next you cover the outside with lumber using siding or flooring.  You might ask, “Why not plywood?” Plywood was not available in Belize in the 1950’s. Now you line the inside of the wood box with four inch Styrofoam. Finally you line the inside with sheet metal.  Now that you are finished with the box, you build two large covers to completely seal the ice box.

One of these ice boxes could hold about ten two-thousand pounds of ice.  They came in huge two hundred pound blocks.  The ice box was placed right in the middle of the boat which is the largest cargo compartment.

When fishermen came aboard with their lobster catch, the tails were removed from the heads and washed in some chemical that would preserve it from getting black. Then the fishermen placed the tails in the icebox and spread some small chunks of ice over them.  This procedure could last for about 12 days, the time it took them to fill up their giant prehistoric refrigerator or to run out of ice which melted slowly.
And there you have it, my friends- the giant prehistoric refrigerator used to preserve fresh lobster tails twenty five years ago.  

But here is another way to preserve things.  When we had limes and we did not want them to ripen too quickly and rot we used to dig a hole in the ground about 8 inches deep in an area that was not too dry and not too wet and bury them.  Whenever we needed limes we would go to the spot and dig out a few limes which lasted two to three weeks under such fresh climatic conditions.  When my father first told me about this, I thought it was not possible but I soon got to discover that it worked.  You do not have to believe me; go ahead and try to preserve limes with the prehistoric refrigerator, which is burying them underground as we did twenty five years ago.

Prehistoric Refrigerator

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