Storing Root Vegetables for Winter

Are you lucky enough to have a root cellar or cold store/ pantry? I don’t have a root cellar like this but will have a great stone- walled, stone floored pantry once our barn conversion is finished.

Before you harvest some of the last crops of the year, you might want to consider where to store root vegetables for winter so here are a few simple tips:

Some vegetables, like leeks, brassicas and root vegetables, for example, can be left in the growing areas (with a little protection) and harvested as and when you need them.

Of course, some people are lucky enough to have a space below their home that can be used as a root cellar. But for those of us who do not have such utility, it can still be possible to create a root cellar in the garden. Some home growers have managed to make root cellars in the ground in their outside space in which to store harvested vegetables securely.

Traditionally, the best way to keep root crops and other vegetables was to keep them cool in an underground storage area. The ground around a traditional root cellar will tend to keep produce frost free in winter, yet cool during the summer months. The humidity levels of a root cellar can also be kept to suitable levels to allow for the safe storage of a number of harvests.

An underground root cellar can be simple or complex. It can be, at its simplest, a box inserted into the ground. At its most sophisticated, it can be a fully walk-in underground ‘room’. There are plenty of different options that you could consider when thinking about creating an underground root cellar. Which you look at will depend on your budget and needs, and how much space might be available.

Storing root vegetables indoors is often also a viable option where such a space is not available. The ideal place to store harvested vegetables in your home is in an unheated space. They can go in a pantry or larder if you are lucky enough to have one, in a box of sawdust or sand. You can consider putting them in a garage, or spare room, if you are not.

If such a space is not available, consider creating your own small, well-insulated cupboard for vegetable storage. The insulation will allow you to create more suitable conditions, even in a kitchen where the temperatures will fluctuate more broadly than is ideal.

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