With many months remaining before the next growing season, February is a good time to take stock of what we have in storage. When we bought our house we knew we wanted a full basement, but never anticipated using it to store food. Over the past few years we’ve created and modified different spaces, seeking an optimal combination of cold and humidity for cellaring vegetables. It’s still very much trial and error.
Bins of carrots, cabbages, celeriac, turnips, daikon radish, and leeks (above left) are stored in the bulkhead off the basement, about 38° to 42°F. The trend of warmer climate has made this less reliable for cold storage. In the main part of the basement, canned goods (above right) are stored at around 60°F year-round.
Winter squash are stored in ventilated bins next to the canned goods. Due to poor growing conditions, most of the butternut squash failed to store well; we’ve primarily Delicatas (above left) now remaining. Of the larger winter squash, four are still in storage in a cool room upstairs. We purchased locally grown onions (above right) in bulk at the beginning of the season, and keep them in the wine cellar, a closed-off section of the basement with winter temperatures of around 50°F.
Garlic is stored along with the onions. The German Extra Hardy (above left) lives up to its name, and should take us through the rest of the season. Potatoes (above right) are also stored in the wine cellar, but in a separate corner from the garlic and onions.
The chest freezer holds meat (above left) and vegetables. We’d bought the second smallest size and have found its capacity limited. With the recent addition of 20 bags of shrimp (above right), it’s once again full.
Frozen fruit and prepared foods are stored in the freezer compartment of the basement fridge (above left), and include cooked beans, stock, roasted tomatoes, pestos, and goat cheese. The rest of the fridge contains storage bins of beets, parsnips, a rotating supply of eggs and extra fresh greens. Bins of both cooking and eating apples (above right) are replenished through the season from the Winter Farmers’ Market.