Friday, April 22, 2011

Winter Food Storage Wrap Up

Recap: I was aiming to store veggies from November through the end of March.

Onions - I cut up my last storage onion on the 1st of April. So, that worked out really well.
Apples were also done by the 1st of April. As were Sweet Potatoes, and regular Potatoes. And by done, I mean, the last remnants were shriveled and not very edible, or in the case of the potatoes, ridiculously sprouted. I'll finish the garlic by the end of this month.

Lessons learned:
1) I have a pretty good handle on how much we currently eat of certain things. I wasn't way off on any of my figures.
2) We supplemented a lot with fresh citrus, from TX and FL. If that supply was ever cut off, for economic or weather or other reasons, I would need to increase the storage of the more local apples and preserved fruit.
3) I need to get black out curtains in that cellar. No question. The small amount of daylight through the windows was too much and potato sprouting was a huge problem. We lost 10 pounds of our red potatoes due to early sprouting.
4) Wrapping apples individually in newspaper worked well to stave off spoilage. Paper disappeared into the compost pile readily, and was free to begin with, so no wasted money there.
5) 1st of April worked for this experiment, but next year I should try to go to May, as we still had snow on the 1st of April, and there was nothing local to buy.
6) I still need to get more squash worked into our winter diet. We had a couple go bad before I got them cooked.
7) If I want to try for carrots I need to increase the humidity down in that room.
8) It never made it down the recommended 40 degrees F, it hovered around mid 50's, and that still seemed to be ok.
9) In ground storage of parsnips worked REALLY well.

In terms of money, I think we probably saved a bit of cash. Storing the free apples, free garlic, cheap onions, cheap potatoes and cheap squash certainly saved us a lot of money, but that was offset by the loss of 10 pounds of store bought potatoes that sprouted before we could eat them.

Overall, as a starting foray into the world of winter cold storage, I thought this experiment was a success. I have some areas to improve in, I had some successes and I learned a bit.

Anybody else have any lessons learned from this winter?


Chile said...

No lessons from my winter storage since I didn't really do any. I do have a suggestion about the window, though. If you don't ever need to open it or have the sunlight, considering permanently covering it. We've done that in the past when we wanted to create a cool room. We put the Reflectix insulation over it (think foil-covered bubblewrap) and then screwed a piece of plywood over the entire window inside. It helped a lot.

Jennie said...

Well, I may do that with the window, but if I'm ever going to get it colder in there I think a vent is going to have to go in that window. Soo.. I don't know, I'm still vacillating about what I want to do.
Other factors include: I already have fabric gleaned for free that would work, and it's a rental house.