I am looking for a book on cold cellering and best practices for how to store vegetables over the winter, but would welcome other suggestions for favourite resources for other types of preservation.
A lot of websites i find are very conservative with their suggestions and hardly match historical norms and are pretty useless in quantity. For example, today I googled "how to store beets" and was told they would last 2 months in the fridge. I wouldnt have any fridge left if I put all my beets in it! Similar to onions, etc .
What are your go to resources to learn to preserve your food?
We are lucky I guess. My family has always taught us from a young age. We started persevering food from the time we could walk. We all have cellars that stay about 60 deg. f all year round. We store potatoes, garlic, onions, wine, hams, eggs,, and canned goods there. The potatoes bin is on the ground where it is coolest. Hams, onions, and garlic are hung from the ceiling. Eggs are stored point down and will last 6 months like that. We pickle beets, cabbage, and cucumbers. My father always would repeat to us how he learned it when he was a child. 1 fist of salt and 2 fists of cabbage then tamp, makes good kraut. The left over cabbage we store upside down in the shade covered in leaves and straw. This will keep well into December for us. Dad would always make sure when curing hams to remind everybody to brine the bone after packing the salt then rap. Hang it for as many days as it is pounds then smoke it. Jill Winger and Melissa K. Norris are two good recourses on the web to listen to. They both have blogs that are more hands on.
The best place to pray for a good crop is at the end of a hoe!
Christopher - you are so lucky that those traditions have been passed down. I know that even when my mom was a child, my grandmother grew most of their produce, canned it, and saved it in the cold cellar in the basement, and grew up on a farm which was nearly self sufficient. Somehow, though, those skills never got passed down even to my mother, let alone to me. If I ask my grandmother (who has some dementia) she usually says she can't remember, or what she answers doesn't match my mother's few recollections. Then, there's the issue with replicablility - a lot of my grandparents produce was saved in wooden bushel baskets (which produce? no one remembers). I'm not sure what the modern equivalent would be. We do have grandma's (great grandmas?) saurkraut crocks, and recipes, but most of the rest of it has been lost.
Look for old household management type books, or wartime pamphlets. the books have everything in, I have a Danish one from the 1930's it contains everything from recipes, to cleaning to how to breastfeed and knitting patterns!, it also has how to preserve pretty much anything you might find.
Unfortunately websites have to be SAFE to avoid any liability issues, but beetroot will keep fine in the ground if it's not to cold and will keep from September through till March in damp sand in a cellar here. they will keep through till June but by then they are not in my opinion edible.
My mother was the first of five sisters to get a bachelor's degree, in home-ec of course because she was a girl in the 1930s. She became the first home agent in Green County, Wisconsin. I'm sure that she educated her rural neighbors, the farmers' wives who always made angel food cake when she visited.
She didn't put much effort into educating her own daughters however. But I remember watching her can food, wax on top of jelly jars and rubber rings to seal jars of vegetables with a glass top that snapped down. She did instill a love of gardening and thrift so when I had my own family I taught myself more modern gardening and canning skills. How much easier things are with jar tops that seal (no rubber rings) and a pressure cooker that pretty much manages itself. The Ball's Blue Book has step by step directions for the basics. I have my daughter a copy, both are well worn.
Cool storage should be easy for me as I live underground and my garage stays about forty degrees in winter. I keep potatoes, onions, and some winter squash on plastic shelves but need to do some reading about storing such things as carrots in sand, etc. Dried herbs are easy to hang out there.
I think it's a matter of what works for you. If you don't enjoy gardening, resent the time it takes to can food, don't do it. I have very generous neighbors, picked twenty plus pounds of pie cherries last week from a friend's tree. Of course then they have to be pitted and processed. Another neighbor has a large community garden where I can pick things and leave a little cash in a jar.
Freezing can be easier than canning if you have the freezer space. I steam and freeze early kale and spinach in sandwich bags pressed flat so I can "file" them in a box in the freezer. Later I can toss them into soup, casseroles, spaghetti sauce, etc. Anyway, whatever you decide to do just try to enjoy looking at, and eating what you've done.
Each generation has its own rendezvous with the land... by choice or by default we will carve out a land legacy for our heirs. (Stewart Udall)
More and more I am dehydrating food. I certainly still can, but dehydrating is growing. Freezer space is virtually solely for meat. I do use a corner of the basement for storing seed potatoes .....and some root crops for consumption.
Check Mother Earth for The Fundementals of Root Cellaring.
Here are two books I own. They're a bit older, so they have that flavour of passed-down wisdom. I'm just beginning on the food preservation journey, so I haven't done a lot of it yet, but they both open my mind to possibilities I wouldn't have thought of.
posted 3 weeks ago
I use a freezer &canning, but I want to get more into the root cellar, I have the book by the same name.
MEN Magazine(Mother Earth News):
"In addition to the sturdy root and cole vegetables that are obvious candidates for the root cellar, you can also store celery, leeks, brussels sprouts, peppers, grapes, escarole and citrus fruits in your cold room for periods ranging from two to eight weeks, depending on the type of vegetable and the conditions. Onions, garlic, squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and green tomatoes will last until spring if you keep them dry and cool. The place for these foods is in an unheated bedroom or a cool closet rather than in the kind of damp, cold place where apples and root vegetables keep best." https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/root-cellaring/stocking-the-root-cellar-zmaz90sozshe#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20the%20sturdy,of%20vegetable%20and%20the%20conditions.
I have kept butternut squash in a basket in the kitchen for about 6 months, just to see if they would keep, they where a little dry, not has wet in the seed cavern as the first ones we ate, but tasted fine once cooked.
Get meta with me! What pursues us is our own obsessions! But not this tiny ad: