Storing food items during winter becomes relatively easy. The cold temperature keeps most things fresh and in optimum condition for an extended period. One of the oldest winter food storing methods is the root cellar. In a broad sense, cellaring is a form of storage that works in keeping food and preserving the food items by controlling the temperature, light, and humidity through natural conditions. The modern version of the root cellar is the refrigerator.
There are numerous ways that you can store seasonal crops during the winter season. Although there are many methods to choose from, it all falls on the resources available and the kind of food you wish to store. You don’t need to have a traditional, old-fashioned root-cellar or stand-alone building for food preservation. If you live in a city, you have a couple of options for cellaring food regardless of your house situation. It can be an apartment, condominium, or a house; your food storage cell can be an attic, a basement closet, or even a box buried in the ground.
As mentioned above, you can adopt several different ways and methods to store or preserve your food during the winters. Here are some listed below:
A Root Cellar
A root cellar might just be the most popular, classic, and conventional winter storage cellar and was quite popular when houses had an unfinished basement with dirt floors. This absence of concrete floors and dirt made the cellar cool, drafty, and just the right amount of humid. Olden day root cellars had adequate ventilation to encourage adequate airflow such that despite the high humidity, there was no formation of condensation on the cellar walls. The modern-day cold rooms, when compared to root cellars, are “finished” but unheated. There is no natural air passing system. It is all done through a couple of heavy types of machinery.
A Cold Room
Unlike the classical cold cellar, the cold room is an entirely constructed room without a dirt floor. In most cases, the cold room is the dry, warm basement of a house kept unheated through machines and other technology. If you have a basement that is somewhat below the ground or a cold room, you can use it to create a cold room suitable for food storage. The trick to constructing a cold room is to design it in such a way as if it is an exterior space. A cold room has an insulated ceiling and interior walls.
The room’s exterior is uninsulated with a vapor barrier in the warm part of the house. Lastly, an insulated exterior door is added to the cold room with weather stripping in place. The proper airflow is maintained by installing two screened adjustable vents. One is high to provide an outlet for warm air, whereas a low vent allows cold-air intake. The floor should be a porous material such as cement. Lastly, shelving is installed in the room, away from the walls, to promote maximum air circulation inside the room.
Makeshift cellars are another simple yet effective way to store and preserve food during the winters. Unused rooms or extra refrigerators such as basement utility rooms, attic rooms, and energy-efficient refrigerators can be used as makeshift store rooms during the winters.
Once winter has passed, you can convert these spaces back to their original form. Utility rooms, especially those with a furnace, are effective for storing food as these tend to be warm and dry, which is what you want to store squashes, onions, and other canned or dried food. Attic rooms, too, are an ideal location to store food if warm and dry. If your attic becomes severely cold during winter, you might have to store your food in another location.
There are numerous types of storing ideas, and one should choose or adopt one based on the availability of required resources. However, the notable point is to pay special focus on the temperature. As the weather changes, temperature too changes. This is why it is important to monitor the conditions of the storage room from time to time. Use a thermometer and a hygrometer to measure the temperature and the humidity levels. Check the stored food at least once a month for possible signs of decay or wilting. Lastly, make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize whatever type of root cellar or storage area you use.
Make sure to pay special attention to the little yet crucial details, and your food should be just fine.