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 don’t have a real root cellar. Instead, I rely on the coolest part of our basement, an unheated bedroom, or our garage for cold storage of our vegetables and fruits for as long as possible in the winter.
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One of my goals for this year is to learn to clamp my root vegetables instead of storing them in a makeshift root cellar.
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.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 a 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 of 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.
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 soups. I’ve substituted winter squash for pumpkin in my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. And the rest is getting cooked down and frozen for later.
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!
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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