Food Storage: Coming Out Of The Closet – Follow Up

Pumpkins In The Closet? Really?

Pumpkins in situ after six months of storage. Yup, they look exactly the same as the day they were picked.

Yup.  I got this bright idea last July to store my pumpkin harvest in my bedroom closet.   Needing a place to store my squashes and root vegetables and finding the environment in the bottom of my closet both cool and stable, I tucked thirty pounds of pumpkins next to my shoes and sweaters for six months and waited to see what happened.

What Happened?

Very little, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I was able to process some of the pumpkins, but there are still several left.  Last week I did find my first casualty, I think the cat knocked a stem off one of the pumpkins while she was roaming back there and that caused it to rot.  But the rest of them are in perfect condition, still as vibrant orange as the day I harvested them.

What Did You Learn?

I learned that rethinking the way I use my limited space can have real benefits.  I was able to turn square footage that was being used for dust bunnies and clothes from the ’80’s into genuinely valuable space for storing food.   I needed a root cellar, but had a closet.  By being creative, I got both.

What Will You Do Next?

This worked, and I’m going to expand on it.  Here’s how:

  • visit other closets around the house and see how they are actually being utilized.  Are they cool and stable?  Can room be found in them to store food?
  • For closets that qualify, clean them out!  Get rid of the useless junk that is being stored in there and recycle it or donate it.
  • Install shelving or find bins for the new closet space.
  • Fill it with this year’s root and squash crop.  I have in mind potatoes, onions, pumpkins, and squash.  There may be more.

It looks like I have another project on my hands!  As with so many things in sustainable living, this one has dual benefits – clean closets and food storage!  I will be working on  this as the weeks progress, and as always, I’ll keep you posted!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

NicoleC February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Many kinds of winter squash seem really, really tolerant to warmer storage. Sweet potatoes, too, handle my warmish basement quite well.Those of us in the southern and coastal bits of the US can’t really have functioning root cellars and have to make do with just are longer growing season. Most of the “roots” traditionally used for fresh winter eating need refrigerator cold storage… but they store nicely under ground out in the garden and even put on growth in the winter.

All things considered… I’ll take the warmer winters over a true root cellar any day! 🙂

Reply

Rebecca Simpson February 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I would love to have an underground root cellar. But I agree, it sure is nice to have January days in the ’80’s. Part of my journey of discovery is to find what works for my location. Traditional root storage may not be viable and/or necessary for Southern California. But I’m going to give it a shot this year and see what happens. Experiment, experiment, experiment! 🙂

Reply

JuliePaul-Simko February 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Yes! I’ve already got my husband planning to turn our coat closet into a pantry for all my canned food I will have this summer! He’s on it! Coats~ Shmoats! Stick ’em in the sock drawer, I don’t care! Gimme room!!! My husband loves this new me! (not always)

Reply

Rebecca Simpson February 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I completely agree! Its all about rethinking your space… we have more than we think, we just need to find a way to reprioritize and repurpose it into something useful and important. You go girl! 🙂

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: