We often talk of root cellars as the traditional way of storing many types of produce in its natural, unprocessed state. Root Cellars* are an excellent method of food preservation. They can keep foods cold for weeks and months.
But I don’t have a root cellar. I have a “cool room”.
There are a number of reasons why. Our cabin is not built on the side of a slope. We don’t have a basement either. I wanted to have an area inside my home where I could keep potatoes, onions, garlic, apples, winter squash, wheat berries, and a few other things fresh for as long as possible, but that I could also access easily and frequently.
And that’s what I got! We had an unused bedroom in our cabin that had not been finished off. So we super-insulated the walls and the ceiling too. The room had two windows—one on each of the outside walls. The windows can be used to regulate the temperature in the room. It’s important to keep a good thermometer very visible in the room so we know where we’re at temperature-wise; and then we can open or close the windows as needed. We bought heavy duty shelving units and lined most of the walls with these units. On the shelves I store canned goods, dehydrated foods, boxed foods (in plastic bins), and whatever else I need to store. In the middle of the room we can make additional storage as needed by adding a couple of rows of stackable plastic bins for potatoes, onions, winter squash, etc.
This storage method has been a dream for me! It’s so accessible, I have plenty of storage space, and it just works for me! No, the temperature is not generally in the 30’s or 40’s and it’s not humid inside the room—but it has done an amazing job of keeping the types of foods that I grow or purchase fresh for long periods of time.
Just something to consider.