Time to Fill Up the Root Cellar:

October 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Editor’s Note: Last year, friend of Beet, David Hammond decided to re-purpose a room in his basement as a root cellar. He agreed to journal what happened here. See how he started here, and see where he’s headed this year below.

Time to Fill Up the Root Cellar: Root Cellar Diary, 2012-13, #1

Abundant squash, courtesy David Hammond

As explained in my Root Cellar Diary that I inaugurated last year, we repurposed an old basement dark room into a root cellar.

We had mixed success cellaring the harvest of 2011 throughout the winter of 2011-12.

Walking around the Oak Park Farmers’ Market last weekend, we couldn’t help but notice: there’s a lot of squash out there.

Squash is one of the best things to keep in a root cellar: it has a hard skin and dense flesh making it ideal for long-term storage in a cool, dark place.

Problem is, I guess we don’t like squash too much. I came to this conclusion last April when I realized that as spring was approaching, we still had a lot of squash left over from the preceding year. Some of it stuck around until June when it became sufficiently moldy for me to justify tossing it into the compost bin.

As I thought about it, I realized that squash is probably  my least favorite vegetable, so it seems pointless to store it in our root cellar. We’re not going to eat it, anyway.

Potatoes we always need, so we could store potatoes, but I’m not sure it makes sense to store them in great quantity because farmers and professional food distributors do a better job than we do of holding food in edible condition. We can probably ensure the freshest quality potatoes if we simply buy a ten pound bag every month or so, and just eat through them.

So far, the only item we’re certain we’re going to be keeping in our cellar is wine.