I got a book from paperbackswap two weeks ago and have been reading it aloud in the evenings to my husband, and we have learned a lot from it. It really applies to us as we have this wonderful root cellar that we have not been using due to our mice problem down there. Today we cleaned it out. Since he is working on the foundation down there (he is in the process of building an additional room on our cellar to house our battery system and a water pump), he is able to work on some of the root cellar. He is determined to get rid of the mice and to make it an awesome homesteader's root cellar.
In this book, Root Cellaring - Natural Cold Storage Of Fruits and Vegetables by Mike and Nancy Bubel, they describe how they were canning so much food and it was so much work. Then when they got interested in root cellars and eventually built theirs, they learned to not can ALL the vegetables. Just the ones that don't last. They had 33 vegetables and fruits in the root cellar that were fresh and they ate them all winter. Not only that, they also stored cheese (encased in wax), nuts, wheats and grains, crocks of sauerkraut and pickles and potting soil for spring seed starting.......and a log with mushrooms growing on it.
So she would just take her basket and go to the root cellar and pick and choose what she wanted to fix for supper that night. It has many good ideas for us to use as we fix ours. By utilizing our root cellar we will be able to cut out a lot of the work of canning. I would only have to can things like green beans, tomatoes, tomato sauces, meats of course, condiments. And we could eat from our root cellar all winter, fresh produce from our garden or if it is something we didn't grow but can buy locally and store it for winter. I am really excited about doing this.
I know this book is pretty well known. I had it on my wish list forever, when I started I was about the 70th person who requested it. I FINALLY got it. It shows though, how many people are interested in having a root cellar. People are looking for ways to live on their land and the root cellar is a perfect homesteader's tool. It was the way to store your food for the future and now all people know is how to buy it at the store. Bring it home and put it in the freezer.
You can really cut down on your grocery bills if you learn to can, dehydrate and store your garden harvest. If you have trouble with gardening.......oh boy! do I ever know that feeling. My legs keep getting worse and worse. I figure I may end up doing much of my work from a wheelchair in the future. So my husband is making things NOW to cover that time period. He has been building more and more raised beds for our gardens and you can make them high enough to pull a chair right up to it. On our root cellar he is planning on making a ramp for going up and down. Then to add a dumbwaiter for bringing food up and down. You have to think of these things as you get older.
Don't think you have to have a root cellar like I have! You can dig a pit, use a closet or a porch, just about anything as long as it has the right air flow and humidity and temps. Not as hard as it sounds. Why waste your money buying expensive tasteless produce in the off season months when you can eat your own bounty from your gardens? Or purchase produce in the summer from local farms and markets.....NOT grocery stores! Think about it. Things like this become like a game to me......I love it.
Have a great homesteading day!
"Change your hearts and lives because the Kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 3:2