School begins tommorrow and I will be doing my posts in the evening from now on. I will also no longer be posting on weekends.
We are very busy planning for more cold storage in our basement. Cold storage is the perfect way to keep food for a preparedness program. Once the space is ready, food can be stored with no inputs from fossil fuels and regardless of what is happening to the grid. Vegetables and fruits that store well are beets, carrots, turnips and apples. Cabbage, leeks and Brussel sprouts also store well this way. Believe it or not, many hard cheeses, hard salamis and hams also store well as long as the space can be kept at a constant cold temperature and free of vermin. The closer you can keep the temperature to 38 degrees, the longer your food will last.
We have a corner of the basement that has a high window. Our plan is to build walls and insulate them and the ceiling with r-36 batting . The floor is already damp. Bruce is running a vent from the window to the floor to bring in colder out side air. We can block the vent if it gets too cold. I will store produce in individual bins between layers of dry leaves. It is critical that any produce chosen for long term storage be in perfect condition and checked regularly. I would go so far as to suggest that you plan menus each week that utilize your stored produce. It is so easy to forget about it and then find yourself with a mess to clean up and bins of wasted food.
Potatoes and onions need a different kind of environment. Both can tolerate somewhat warmer temperatures but need it dryer. Squash and pumpkins like it warmer yet. In fact, we have had good luck storing them in an unused bedroom.
Be sure any food you store has been properly cured. I hope you have a good book on this subject in your library. There are lots of variables and it’s important to do it right. I lost a whole bunch of potatoes my first year gardening because I didn’t know that they couldn’t be stored with apples. The ethylene the apples give off turn the potatoes green.
We actually had a totally different idea for our cold room but the best laid plans as they say. It pays to be flexible, Once Bruce had built a room for the new freezer, he realized how much easier it would be to replicate that on the other side of the basement than to build a whole new set of hinged stairs. it will also be easier to regulate the temperature and retrieve the produce.
It occurs to me just how lucky I am to have a partner with the kind of skills Bruce has. If I didn’t, I would be looking for a friend or neighbor I could swap skills for food with. I know people who do this stuff as a single but I couldn’t. I need husband and children to get it all done.
Just to end on a really happy note. We just finished a fabulous dinner with corn, potato, kale and leek soup with home made bread. The entire meal came from our garden except the milk in the soup and that came from a local farmer. I usually add white fish to this soup. I gave Bruce a whole set of fishing gear for Christmas. I think fishing gear is something every family near a body of fishable water should have in their storage supplies. I would love to have my own fish in the freezer.