Monday, December 22, 2014

Starting to think about Root Cellars

In terms of keeping our harvest as long as we can, 
we used to do a lot of freezing.
We experimented with different sized veggies and what would thaw out better.
We learned what froze well and what certainly did not.

One day, a pipe in our basement exploded over our large chest freezer.
That was the end of freezing that year.

We lost so much was heartbreaking.
But like most things in life - I chose this sad event to be a learning experience.

How can we save our harvest in other ways?

Last year was an experiment in air drying and preserving.
We have dried some veggies and lots of herbs.
We dried seeds for planting next year.
We put stuff in jars too!
Pickled jalapenos, dill pickles, beans, salsa, wild leeks, 
ramps pesto, strawberry jam, mint jelly and maple syrup.

Ever since the freezer died, I've had my mind focused on root cellars.
The idea of storing things with no electricity.
What a concept!!!

View from the roadside

Across the street from our house there was a lot for sale.
It used to have a small home that fell into disrepair.
The western border of the property has a steep incline.
Built right into the side of the incline is an old rocky root cellar.

I have passed by this structure for a few years now, but decided to take a closer look. 

The above shot looks straight into the cellar, showing both sides and the back.
The structure has long been unused.
It is missing its roof and door.
I imagine what it must have looked like way back when.

Can you see the bright green moss?
It grows off of the sand or mud that was inserted between the rocks.

The above image shows how the original builders of this root cellar used preexisting rock.
See the big one at the bottom of the wall?
I wouldn't want to have moved that one!

See that swirl in the middle?
I imagine there was a piece of wood supporting whatever roof was on this structure.
The sand hardened over time and stayed long after the wood rotted.

I don't think this design is necessarily the best concept for a root cellar.
That being said, someone obviously used it at one time.
Since it is still there (for the most part), I'm going to say the design was very sturdy!

I'm going to start some research on the best home made root cellars 
so that we too can enjoy zero carbon footprint food storage.

In terms of our home, there are a few places I thought would make good cellars.
Over the last few years...I have been monitoring each area.
Upon further inspection, the temperature and moisture levels fluctuate a little too much for my liking.
Perhaps an exterior food storage option is the way to go?
Only time will tell...

What is your favorite method of storing your food?

1 comment:

  1. Best book: Root Cellaring by Nancy Bubel