November 7, 2013

The Larder is Full; I'm Ready for Winter

Almost all the crops are in, processed and waiting for winter eating, stored in various places in my house. I enter the house through the mudroom, a place to remove jackets and boots, to wipe the muddy feet; a place to hang onions and garlic as they dry, and to hang the stalks of oat straw, which make a delicious and calming tea.

Also in the mudroom are my washer and dryer, and my chest freezer, which is now filled to the brim with the summer's crops of fruits and vegetables. There are hot and sweet peppers, green beans, corn, greens (swiss chard and spinach), zucchini, peas, broccoli, tomato sauce, fried eggplant; and fruit: blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb; some meat: organic free range chickens grown at a farm nearby, a little beef raised by a friend in northern Vermont.

The cool spare bedroom becomes a storage room during winter; here I hang garlic and onions and store winter squash and pumpkins because the mudroom has some heat and is too warm.

There is more food storage down in the cellar, perfect for a root cellar with its granite foundation and dirt floor.

There is old shelving in the cellar that was in the house when I moved in. I store paint here, and flower pots and soil; I store my dye pots. And in those cardboard boxes are the fruits of my canning labor.... tomatoes; I canned 15 quarts. There are also quarts of apple sauce and jars of home made jam: blueberry, rhubarb, green tomato, apple butter, an essential part of my daily breakfast.

Through a door into a walled off room is the root cellar, where I store the root crops and cabbage. In the old box (left here in the house) are carrots and the buckets hold beets. I cover them with plastic to keep in the moisture.

Here's a view of beets and carrots, covered with peat moss, which I moisten from time to time.

The potatoes are in another box that was left in the house, a huge one that I separated into two storage units, making it easier to identify the four types of potatoes that I grow: Red Norland, Green Mountain, Carola (my favorite), and French Fingerling (the best boiled potato). I had a pretty poor crop this year because of all the rain, but the large size of the box makes it look even punier; it's actually about 50 pounds of potatoes.

Lastly, here are my cabbages wrapped in brown paper, which store beautifully in the root cellar until May, though they're usually eaten by then.

The most hardy crops are still in the garden, the last holdouts of summer: brussels sprouts....

....and kale; there are also hardy leeks. As it darkens outdoors, I am heading out to pick a few leaves of kale to make kale chips (recipe here)  as a treat for dinner; delicious! as is all my food, grown healthily at home, full of nutrition. It is so satisfying to think of this bounty from my garden and how it will sustain me in the months ahead.


  1. Such a yummy post. It does appear you are ready for winter.

    1. oh yes, I'm right now making a beet and tomato soup, from the root cellar.

  2. Wow! This kind of storage is what I aspire to. It must be so satisfying!

    1. oh, it is, Kimberly, and I love not having to grocery shop that often, eating my own vegetables.