A Guide to Root Cellars
Cellar at the residence of Robin and Barbara Norris, owners of Campo de Fiori, Sheffield, MA. This vaulted brick-ceiling root cellar, approximately 15 years old, was constructed into the side of a hill with gathered fieldstones from their property.
All summer we chop, marinate, grill and roast our way through the seasons’ produce—a frantic attempt to get our fill while barrels and baskets are piled high. Some of us go further: jamming, pickling, freezing and drying to carry the bounty through the short days and long winter ahead of us.
But there’s yet another way to preserve the fruits of our labor, a technique especially suited for the time-pressed home gardener or eager farm stand frequenter.
Root cellars are the ancient remedy for our busy modern lives. They save time and money and are, for the anxious among us, an efficient way to stockpile food for emergencies. But don’t think root cellars are just for Midwestern grandmas and apocalypse-fearing recluses. With a cool, dark space and a good amount of humidity you can effortlessly have juicy tomatoes in November and snappy squash in February.
Over 40,000 years ago, Native Australians were the first to take advantage the earth’s preservative qualities, burying their crops of yams for future use.… Read the rest