Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rooting Around in the Root Cellar

Coleslaw has been appearing on our table quite frequently lately because 1) we like coleslaw, 2) it's a tasty "raw" vegetable, and 3) we still had a few heads of cabbage left in the root cellar.

However, the last time I brought a head up, it had quite a bit of mold on the outer leaves which didn't make me happy.  I have an irrational fear of mold (((shudder))), and I felt required to dress in a hazmat suit to "clean up" the head before using it.  I will admit that once the outer leaves were removed, the head of cabbage was fine.  Looked fine, tasted fine, was fine.

Yesterday Papa Pea and I went into the root cellar to check on how the remaining cabbages, potatoes, carrots, beets and apples were keeping.  Although dwindling in quantity, the potatoes, carrots, beets and (most of) the apples look great.  But I took one look at the deteriorating state of the cabbages and asked him to remove them posthaste.  I didn't want those mold spores in the root cellar.  Period.  Nope.  Nuh-uh.  Get 'em out!

Because the dear man always does what I say (choke-cough-cough-choke), he promptly did so.  Then he "cleaned" the heads up before portioning them out as feed to the poultry.


But just take a gander at how good they look after he worked his magic on them.  To heck with feeding them to the poultry.  I'm going to use them in the kitchen!


The apples, I'm happy to say, are still keeping very well.  Except for this one box that, curiously, started splitting and getting bad spots almost from the get go.  Why just this one box?  The apples were sorted by variety and we checked them all regularly so I don't think it could have been the proverbial "one bad apple" that caused the whole batch to go bad.  The problem seems to be isolated to this one variety.  One of those great mysteries . . . 

* * * * * * * *

We woke to sunlight streaming in the windows this morning.  Hooray!  It's still chilly (barely into the 20s), but no wind and the sunshine and blue sky make everything better.  Makes me want to go outside and frolic.  That is if one could do much frolicking crawling around on all fours.  The ice, the ice!!

14 comments:

Rain said...

The ice, the ice, the horror, the horror...we're pretty much on all fours here too lol...it's a good upper body workout though! Oh how I long for a root cellar, well, I guess I also need root veggies. Does your produce last the whole winter through? The cabbages look great in that photo, you'd never know they started to turn on you! I do the same with cheese though, if I see a little white starting, I just cut it off and re-wrap it, and it's just as yummy!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Does our produce last the whole winter through? Some does, some doesn't. Probably the apples are the first to go when we get toward spring time. Then I either make some more applesauce or we eat a lot of apple pies! The cabbages (as noted in my post) keep pretty darn good from what I've read. Potatoes we usually run out of before they start sprouting too much. And, of course, we keep some of them for replanting for the coming year's crop. The carrots and beets get a little "hairy" as the temps warm a few degrees in the root cellar, but we have really good luck keeping them hard and firm.

Rain said...

Apple pies sound good! I always have a tough time trying to figure out what to do with leftover apples. Applesauce is good but if we're honest with ourselves, we know we just won't eat it. We go apple picking but one day I'd love to have an orchard, maybe then I'd be more motivated to eat them! So I guess if the carrots and beets get hairy, it's okay as long as they don't go soft?

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Absolutely. I just peel them to get rid of the "hairs." Actually, even using a vegetable brush on them takes care of most of them. If they do seem a bit soft, the poultry love them. That's the nice thing about having animals . . . I never feel like I waste food. Even the stuff we don't give to the birds goes into the compost to be returned to the soil.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I'm sending warmer temperatures your way :-)

Your cabbage looks really nice, Papa Pea took care of the mold issue for you. Good to hear your veggies and fruit are holding up well in the root cellar. We're having our tornado shelter built next week. I'm thinking I could use part of it as a root cellar......your thoughts.

Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Well, aren't you the sweetest! Those warm temps will be welcomed, you can bet!

Sounds like a good idea to me to have your root cellar do double duty. If it were me, I'd design it as more of a root cellar . . . that you could use as a tornado shelter for the few times you'd actually need that. Just do your research on the ins and outs of root cellar construction/recommendations/needs for the place you've planned to put the shelter. Although your warm(er) year 'round climate might not be suitable for a bona fide root cellar. I don't know about that for sure.

Rain said...

Wonderful! Thanks for the lesson :) I love that feeling as well. The birds do get a lot of my homemade stale bread lol...

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

The shelter construction will be out of concrete dug into the ground. I'm thinking potatoes and onions maybe good for storing down in the shelter. I worry about the other veggies/fruit. I will do more research as you suggested. Thanks!
Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Potatoes want a bit of moisture (a damp environment) during storage and a temp not a lot above freezing . . . somewhere around 36-38 degrees. We keep moistened old towels over our containers of potatoes. Onions do not want moisture and a temperature in the low 50s. Our basement stays about 52 degrees all winter and it's well into spring before our onions start to show signs of sprouting. I think a root cellar would be too damp and cold for the onions. Apples are like potatoes BUT each of them give off gases that harm the other so you want to keep them separated. We put our potatoes at one end of the root cellar and the apples at the opposite end with success. I'm sure root cellaring is a lot different in different areas of the country . . . which only makes it hard to follow the "rules" in books!

Athanasia said...

We still have cabbages, apples, rutabaga, and butternut squash. We have sweet potatoes but those we bought at the Thanksgiving sales. We don't grow them. I've never put beets in the root cellar....we can or pickle them all. We still have some onions in the basement rafters. I used up the last pumpkin a couple days ago. I want to replenish carrots and potatoes at the St. Patrick sales.

We use a lot of cabbage also.

The nicest thing about this weather the last couple days is...it's so quiet!! After having those winds for 3 days and nights this is lovely. We're 16 F and sunny here.

Athanasia said...

Yes, we don't put our onions in the root cellar either. They are just in the basement hanging up.

Mama Pea said...

Athanasia - I've noticed, too, how different it seems without the winds howling. I can do without them for the rest of the winter!

I make pickled beets also. I cook, slice and freeze beets and then just heat them up in a little water for a quick "red" vegetable. But sometimes I like to make a grated beet salad so that's why I keep some raw in the root cellar. Works pretty good!

Yarrow said...

Those cabbages look lovely and I adore coleslaw. I'm loving your blog, btw :D

Mama Pea said...

Yarrow - What a nice thing for you to say! I made another big bowl of coleslaw for lunch today. Had it again for dinner. There were four of us and we all commented on how "fresh" the cabbage tasted. Lucked out on those cabbages, we did!