A root cellar (American English), fruit cellar (Mid-Western American English) or earth cellar (British English) is a structure, usually underground or partially underground, used for storage of vegetables, fruits, nuts, or other foods.
What is the purpose of a root cellar?
Before refrigeration, an underground root cellar was an essential way to store carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and other root vegetables. Today, root cellars have made a comeback to keep food from freezing during the winter and keep food cool during the summer to prevent spoilage.
Is a cold room the same as a root cellar?
A cold room, unlike the root cellar, is a finished but unheated room in an otherwise warm, dry basement. The basic difference between a root cellar and a basement cold room is the construction. If you have a cold room, or a basement that is partly below ground, you may be able to create a usable cold room.
When did people stop using root cellars?
Root cellars can be under the house or a separate building, but either way they were of great importance to many families from colonial times all the way up until World War II.
Is a root cellar worth it?
Because soil is a poor conductor of heat, the temperature only a couple of feet underneath the ground generally remains cool and constant throughout the year. So, root cellars are great places to store food because of the stable, cool temperatures that essentially act like natural refrigerators.
How long does food last in root cellar?
The cool, humid environment in a root cellar lets most foods last longer than other storage methods. It highly depends on what crops you store, but they will last anywhere from two to nine months, with an average being four to six months.
Can I use my basement as a root cellar?
If you have a basement, you can construct a root cellar fairly easily. You just need to wall off a basement corner and add vents to allow cold air to flow in and warm air to flow out.
Do root cellars freeze in winter?
Some homes have a root cellar in the basement, which is an unheated room that stays cool but does not freeze. Some root cellars are dug into the earth and accessed by a hatch or door. All root cellars need insulation to keep from freezing; and ventilation for air circulation and temperature control.
Does a root cellar need ventilation?
There are five major elements that a root cellar requires: Ventilation: Some fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas, which can cause other produce to spoil. Also, a tightly sealed cellar will increase the risk of mold. Make sure fresh air can get in, stale air can get out, and air can circulate around the produce.
Can you store meat in a root cellar?
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Is a root cellar better than a fridge?
There is only so much that can be put into a refrigerator, and the bigger the fridge, the more it costs to keep it cool. With pantries and root cellars, the storage potential is much greater and the cool atmosphere is free and non-polluting. There is a distinction between a root cellar and a cool pantry: humidity.
How long will potatoes last in a root cellar?
With a good in-ground root cellar, potatoes can be stored for 5-8 months. As a sustainable alternative to refrigerated or electrically cooled storage for crops needing cool damp conditions, traditional root cellars are a good option.
Can I store meat in a root cellar?
Related Questions. Can you store meat in a root cellar? Meat should not be stored in a root cellar since the optimal temperature is above freezing. Meat will quickly rot if not kept in sub-freezing temperatures.