The Underground Movement

It’s time to talk about root cellars!!

In preparation for the upcoming root cellar tour – stay tuned for an upcoming announcement – Keltie and I went to visit some root cellars in Bedford and the Annapolis Valley.

Why root cellars?  Well, root cellars are a low energy way of storing food for the winter.  You can store many different crops.  And, as a number of people have pointed out to me, it’s less work than canning.  (I love canning – but I wouldn’t want to can a winter’s worth of food.  Plus, the types of foods you store in root cellars are generally different from those you can.)

After the tour, we’ll have photos and tips to share with you.  However, to whet your appetite, here are a few tips we picked up:

– If you’re building a root cellar, check out Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel.  Many people have recommended this book to me since the Food Action Committee started talking about root cellars.
– Carrots and parsnips should be stored in sawdust or sand.
– When storing apples, layer them with your best keepers on the bottom and those that won’t last as long on top.  Then you’ll have different varieties of apples all season.
– The key to good root crop storage is humidity!  Your root cellar should be between 90-99% humidity.
– Make sure you put wire mesh over the vents to keep out the critters.

Inspired by our root cellar visits, we stopped at a farm market on the way home and stocked up.  I don’t have a root cellar, but I do have an unheated back porch.  It’s not humid, so not really suitable for root crops, but I’ve stashed my apples, pears and squash there for now.  (We’ll see how it goes!)

Yours in Food,
Marla

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