Enter cold storage.
Do you picture an underground room with dirt walls and veggies hanging from the ceiling? I did too at first. Or maybe even something a little more modern like my grandma’s cold storage room in her basement. Concrete walls and shelves lined with canned goods. Yes, something like that is on my house dream to-do list for someday. But for now, we still want the storage options while making do with what we have.
And let me tell you, what we have is an icky wet crawlspace. When I first started thinking about building some cold storage into our current home I turned to the crawlspace. But no matter how many trenches we dig around the house, how many fans we stick down there, or how many times we have to sub-pump it out, it’s always kinda icky and not very reliable.
After I crossed the crawlspace off my checklist I researched some other methods of cold storage. I liked some of the simpler plans and I hope to be able to try them before the weather gets too cold and the ground freezes but for now I needed to come up with a low to no cost solution.
This room in my house did not exist until this spring. Our home was a foreclosure before we bought it and while it sat empty someone broke into this door. It was a mess and cold air blew in right into the living room. Now I don’t believe you can live in rural South Dakota and not have an entryway so I suggested that we turn this hallway into one. The cost was very minimal and as you can see, it’s still somewhat of a work in progress but it’s almost finished besides the final touches. (Paint!) This room has no heating vents and is completely blocked from the rest of the house so it stays cooler (or hotter in the summer). It makes a great mudroom.
It also makes a great bulk storage area. Here you can see my buckets that I use for bulk products in my whole foods stockpile such as rice, beans, grains, ect. The other half of the closet is for coats.
Here is a picture of the whole little room. Do you see my cold storage?
Kind of sad looking at the moment with only some potatoes and winter squash but my next co-op order will bring apples and bulk onions that will also share the area. Once I have more produce I will put a small shelf right here so I can stack the produce better and not take up any more room in the entryway. I’m storing my produce in simple crocks. I buy these for around $5 each at antique stores. These are not the fancy Red Wing crocks, they are simple no design, no brand crocks that usually have cracks or chips. They work great for storage! You don’t need to use crocks if you don’t have them or don’t have access to them. Use 5 gallon buckets, old ice cream pails, or anything else that will hold produce!
Do you have a room in your house that would be suitable for cold storage? To maintain optimum conditions for the produce it needs to stay below 50F (or lower) at all times. Apples like even colder temps closer to 35 degrees.
I’m working on some other methods of cold storage that require a little more work that I will post soon. If you are like me and needing to put something in cold storage now this option will give you decent storage until you have time to build something better. (Because you might not want to store your pantyhose onions in your entryway!) Or maybe this will even work for you all winter long!
Do you do cold storage? What are your methods?