Veggies from My ‘Root Cellar’ & Self Reliance

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Veggies from My Root Cellar & Self Reliance

Using The Veggies from My ‘Root Cellar’

Using up the veggies from my ‘root cellar’ is a priority for me as I begin a new year of challenging myself to be more self reliant. Normally January would not be a time when a self reliant homesteader should be thinking about using up the goodies from their root cellar. However, I guess I’m not a very self reliant homesteader in this department.

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I’ve always wanted an honest to goodness root cellar. We don’t really have one and I’ve been looking for ways to work around this fact and still store vegetables throughout the winter. Sure, I have a cellar and I store roots and other veggies there. But it isn’t a real root cellar and the conditions aren’t ideal for long term storage because the temperature is too warm…usually around 50 – 55 F.

One of my goals for this year is to learn to clamp my root vegetables instead of storing them in a makeshift root cellar.

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What Keeps Well For Us Without a Root Cellar…And What Doesn’t

Our onions, garlic, and winter squash keep pretty well under those non root cellar conditions. However potatoes and most root vegetables don’t keep past January. Then they get wrinkled and soft.

This year I had an abundance of potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash from the garden. In a moment of inspiration I decided to try keeping these extra veggies in an insulated room off the side of my chicken coop. I was hoping that the conditions would be closer to a real root cellar. Normally that space is used as a brooder room for chicks, but I thought maybe it could house our extra veggies for a longer period than our basement.

How to Cook and Use Pie Pumpkins
I had a very nice harvest of Small Sugar Pie Pumpkins this year.
Small Sugar Pie Pumpkins produce a lot of small, sweet fruits that are perfect for making pies!

Some of Our Veggies Were Gone By Thanksgiving

It was no problem to use up all of our beets, turnips, and pumpkins pretty quickly. Most of them were eaten by the end of November. Pie pumpkins don’t keep particularly well so I pureed and froze them…or made them into pie. I also made a batch of Pumpkin Butter. Not a bad fate for a pumpkin!

Self Reliance Tip – Chickens will pick the last morsels of flesh off your cooked pumpkin and squash rinds. They also love the seeds!

Heading into the New Year, our potato stash is also getting pretty low. A couple batches of scalloped potatoes or home fries should take care of them. I also froze some home fries for quick meals. That was pretty easy to do.

Veggies From My Root Cellar & Self Reliance
We also had a nice harvest of spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash is an easy vegetable to grow and is great for anyone who has a gluten intolerance.

Some Squash Probably Won’t Be Eaten Before The Deep Freeze Sets In

Unfortunately the temps will be too low soon to safely store the rest of our winter squash in the brooder room. So I am on a mission to preserve the remaining squash before they freeze and then thaw. This is one of my self reliance goals for the month of January.

Over the last 3 or 4 weeks we have eaten a LOT of squash! I put mashed squash into soup. I’ve substituted winter squash for pumpkin in my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. And the rest is getting cooked down and frozen for later.

Dinner last night and tonight will be cooked spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce from my canning cupboard. This helps me achieve one more of my self reliance goals for this month.

Self Reliance Challenge ~ Goals for January

For the month of January I am taking part in a Self Reliance Challenge with a group of other bloggers who also write about homesteading and self reliance. You can find links to all of their blogs on my Self Reliance Challenge page.

Follow our Self Reliance Challenge Pinterest Board for lots of great info on homesteading and self reliance!

Self Reliance Challenge

Here are some of my goals for this month:

  • Raise sprouts for salads
  • Start lettuce indoors
  • Sprout wheat for the chickens
  • Cook from the freezer and pantry
  • Bake most of our bread
  • Bake in my Dutch oven on our wood stove
  • Order from my co-op
  • Start a ‘Survival Seed Bank’
  • Make some of our bath and body products
  • Take part in a ‘Low-spend’ month

Some bloggers like to take on a ‘No-spend’ month, where they don’t purchase anything unless it is an emergency. I would just stock up on everything in one big purchase beforehand…which would be okay. But I think that kind of defeats the purpose. So I am going to spend less and use as much from our home stored foods as I am able to instead.

Stop back in a week to see how I’m doing!

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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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