If you have begun to keep more food in your house for longer periods, whether you grew it yourself or bought it in bulk from a local grower, you need to find places in your home to store it. Now is the best time to take an inventory of those spots. Are they really the best places? Can you locate any better places? It is helpful to know the conditions of each space during average winter weather and during the extremes. Considering that, a polar vortex now and then is a great time to measure the extremes. Consider it a gift.
One winter I realized that the space in a lower cabinet was really cold when I retrieved a bread pan there. The thermometer I put there read 50 degrees. Long story short, I cleaned out that space and found other places for the bread pans and everything else that was in there. That space is now my produce cabinet that you see in the photo. The pull out shelves were an improvement added in the shuffle.
You can post thermometers in the places you are thinking about using. In the photo you can see the inexpensive thermometer I have on the cabinet door. But, sometimes the places you want to know the temperature of are in not-so-convenient places. What I find really useful is the thermometer that can tell me what the temperature is where I am and what the temperature is from a distance. You can find these in both wireless models and ones with the sensor on a wire. A friend of mine once told me he had a thermometer in his utility room with the sensor wire going down through a small hole he drilled in the wall next to the baseboard into the crawl space. It told him the temperature of the crawl space next to his water pipes. I wonder if he installed that after he had a problem with pipes freezing.
Besides making changes in that cabinet in the kitchen, we turned our utility room into a pantry, utilizing existing vent holes left from a previous furnace in that space to provide ventilation and cooling. There is a cellar under part of our house where I store the home-canned food. Keep your mind open as you check around your house. Sweet potatoes and winter squash could be stored in boxes under a bed. A closet in the guest room (if you have a guest room) might be just the place to add shelves for food storage; if it has an outside wall, all the better. You could even vent it to the outside. Learn more about finding places to store the harvest at HomeplaceEarth.
My upcoming book, Grow a Sustainable Diet, has a chapter on food storage and preservation with information on handling your harvest. When I have it available you will be able to order signed copies from me at www.HomeplaceEarth.com. Finding a place for what you grow and for the equipment that goes with it is as important as growing the food. If you have no plan for storage, your harvest will spoil. If your plan is to leave it sit around the house, cluttering your living space until you use it up, it could ruin the harmony in your home. Take time now to really check out your home and rethink your use of each space.
Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at www.HomeplaceEarth.wordpress.com.