What’s Left to Last the Winter – UPDATED

January 11, 2010 at 11:23 am

Rob Gardner

We firmly stand here at the Local Beet that it is possible to eat local year round in the Chicago area.  In fact, we are prone to saying, that the reasons to eat local do not vanish come cold weather.  Still, we recognize that it’s a bear.  To eat local all year round requires a certain amount of put-away food, using canning, freezing and cold storage.  It remains an inexact science knowing how much to have around.  Yes, there are more winter markets than ever, both near and a little near.  We always find stuff we love at these markets, like locally grown oats.  We also expect to pick up indoor grown greens, lettuces, spinach, herbs and sprouts over the winter.  Yet we know that we cannot survive on the produce available for sale.  What the Local Family has on hand now is listed below.  The only things we feel inadequate with are garlic and beets.  On the other hand, we seem especially long in daikon and russet potatoes.

Update: Think our Local Family larder will shrink?  Not when we find new food.  Being in Logan Square yesterday, we had to stop at Dill Pickle Coop, and finding sunchokes from Wisconsin’s Harmony Valley Farm, we had to buy 4 lbs worth.  On the other hand, fixed up a salad last night with the last half of red cabbage in upstairs fridge.

Basement Storage

  • Winter Squash – acorn (3), carnival (5), delicata, spaghetti, pie pumpkin, butternut (2), red kuri (3), big ass orange
  • Red onions – 25 lb bag, untouched + 5 or so loose
  • White onions – 6 or so, about 1 lb
  • Canned tomatoes – whole, sauce, puree
  • Spiced peaches
  • Peach chutney
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Misc. pickles, jams, jellies
  • Dried beans

Basement Fridge

  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel (3) – very tired
  • Leeks (5)
  • Daikon (5)
  • Red cabbage (3) – one very tired
  • White cabbage (2) – one very tired
  • Kohlrabi (6) – 2 very large, 4 small
  • Cranberries – 4 1 lb packages
  • Turnips (15) – assorted
  • Carrots (40) – assorted

Basement Freezer

  • Frozen fruits – blueberries, grapes, cherries, peaches
  • Frozen veg – peas, corn, greens, pureed squash, tomato puree, dried tomato
  • Local meat

Kitchen Fridge

  • Prepared carnival squash w/pancetta and jalepeno
  • Prepared beans
  • Leek (2)
  • Jalepenos (15)
  • Daikon
  • Parsley root (2)
  • Cabbage – 1/2 red, 1/2 white – Update: used 1/2 red cabbage on 1/11/10
  • Turnip
  • Homemade quince-apple membrillo


  • Garlic (5)
  • Lady apples – 5 lbs
  • Black walnuts
  • Dried fruits – strawberries, apricots, peaches

Root Cellar in the Sky

  • Apples – 25 lbs – Including Northern spy, red delicious, yellow delicious, winesap, honeycrisp, mutsu
  • Potatoes – 40 lbs – 20 lbs or russet or related, 5 lbs yukon gold, fingerlings, all-blue — no reds oddly enough
  • Sweet potatoes – 1 lb
  • Rutabaga (5)
  • Turnips (15)
  • Beets (10)
  • Carrots – 7 lbs
  • Chestnuts – 1 lb
  • Sunchokes – 4 lbs – New

One Comment

  1. artjackson says:

    IMPRESSIVE! What a cellar! I was just talking to somebody who lives in a high-rise condo. He had two refrigerated drawers installed in his kitchen to be used as a “root cellar.” He raised the temperature and added sand to them! Pretty cool I thought.

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