Our Lil Grocery Store

| 8/10/2012 12:36:29 PM

One of the challenges that come with a successful garden is the issue of what to do with the excess produce you produce.  Often you can give away what you don’t use, or sell it at a farmer’s market, but if you’d like to keep some of it for use later, when your garden is not offering up summer crops every week, you’ll need to preserve it.  In past articles I have discussed canning, freezing and drying (dehydrating) various kinds of vegetables and herbs. Today I’d like to look at how we store these goods after they’ve been put up. 

Our house is quite small, and we do not have a basement, so storage of food is limited basically to things to be consumed in the very near future.  Most of the preserved food, and a little short-term storage, has been incorporated into my workshop: what Marie humorously refers to as our Grocery Store (as in store – or stash - of groceries).  Occasionally she will call over on the intercom/phone saying, “Is this the Edwina Quick-Mart?  I’d like to place an order for delivery please.” Other times she likes to browse to see what we have.

Our Store Shelving 

We set up some shelving in my office to handle canned goods and dried produce.  The office is the only area that is air conditioned, and subjecting canned goods to the 80, 90 even 100 degree heat of the workshop proper is not a good idea.  I vacuum-sealed all of the dried goods (except dry beans) into serving-sized pouches so we need open up only as much as we would use.  Dried goods include peppers (hot and sweet), tomato slices, apples, pears, and of course herbs.

Onions and garlic can be hung in here after curing.  They will keep well as long as they have been treated gently and have good air flow around them.  Bruising them allows rot to set in.

Our Store Freezer 

Robert Usleaman
9/6/2012 1:53:05 AM

Great job with your shelves and canning. With some prodding from my wife, I put up some shelves in a basement room. 4x8 concrete blocks and 2x4 boards as shelves. It was easy, cheaper than buying shelving units and held the canning jars without much wasted space. This year we picked a lot of cucumbers (straight-8 and lemon) for pickles and dill relish. We also hit the farmers markets for two bushels of green beans, 2 bushels of corn, 60 lbs. of potatoes and 30 lbs. of tomatoes. After canning them, we put up some apple butter and strawberry jam. Also we have been drying our garden herbs (Basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme).

8/13/2012 1:07:19 PM

Hi Dave! As I wrote this I was remembering reading your project on shelves and lighting. So much wonderful shelving- in a nice cool basement. What I wouldn't give for a little of that. I've actually thought about cutting through the foundation on the "high" side of the house and digging out an 8x8 root cellar where I could safely store some canned goods, taters, onions, carrots, and such. But... like you, other projects keep pushing that plan further down the priority list. This year was not a banner year in the garden for us either, so there really wasn't much urgency on that plan anyway. Thanks for dropping in, Dave!

8/11/2012 1:51:26 PM

Allan, I'm kind of slow at projects. I've been working on a storage area for a couple years. It's supposed to be a winter project but since last year was the year without winter, I didn't get much accomplished. The shelves are in place but the wall to actually turn it into a cold room hasn't been built yet. Preservation of garden produce is rather scarce this year. Not because there wasn't any produce but because of other work projects. I just gave most of the produce away. Maybe next year will be the year of canning the harvest. Have a great garden harvest storage day.

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