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Fruits and vegetables can spoil quickly in arid climates, leading to the loss of food, time, and money. Roughly 50% of fruits and vegetables harvested in Sub-Saharan Africa are lost between harvest and reaching the consumer, owed in part to poor storage in regions where electricity is scarce or expensive. There is an inexpensive solution, however, and it’s relatively simple: a clay pot cooler. Clay pot coolers can increase the shelf life of many fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, leafy greens, eggplant, and okra, among others.

These coolers take advantage of the evaporative-cooling effect. It works in the same way as perspiration, which evaporates to cool the human body. The evaporation of water from the outer surface of the clay pot removes heat and cools the fruits and vegetables inside. The inside of the pots can be as much as 10°C below the ambient temperature, with increased humidity to better preserve produce.