Everything You Need To Know About Root Cellaring – Preservation 101

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Root cellaring is one of the easiest and most energy-efficient ways to store your fruits and vegetables by using the earth’s natural temperatures. But what do you do if you don’t have the infrastructure to support a traditional root cellar? You get creative!

In this episode of the Panty Chat, we're continuing our series on preservation methods with an introduction to root cellaring. We're covering all the basics as well as the alternatives for homesteaders who want to get started with root cellaring, but don’t have the dedicated space for it.

To listen to this episode as a podcast, or to read the transcript or show notes, head over to: https://homesteadingfamily.com/preservation-101-root-cellaring

Time Stamps
0:00 – Chit Chat
2:59 – Do we freeze our meat and how do we back up our freezers if the power goes out?
5:23 – Main Topic: Root Cellaring
6:55 – What is root cellaring?
9:03 – Pros of root cellaring
10:42 – Cons of root cellaring
13:03 – Ideal root cellar conditions
21:13 – Other food storage option
27:20 – Top priorities to root cellaring
28:37 – Root cellar maintenance

WELCOME! We're so glad you're here! We are Josh and Carolyn Thomas. Together with our nine children, we are The Homesteading Family where we’re living a self-sustainable life in beautiful North Idaho. Let us welcome you and show you a bit about us here: http://bit.ly/HFWelcomeVideo

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#rootcellar #rootcellaring #foodpreservation #preservingfood #foodstorage



  • Jackie Dumke

    Thank you for all the ideas and Information! It’s been a battle trying to figure out how to store my garden produce!

  • Vivian

    Lots of great info! Has given me good food for thought 😉

  • Rhonda Craven

    I always keep a couple apples in with my potatoes. The gas that a rotting apple gives off keeps potatoes from sprouting. Once the apple rots I replace with a new one. Just make sure you don’t use a wax covered apple from the store. My great grandfather taught me this. I have used it for years. I have even kept potatoes in a warm room and they have stayed firm with the apple in there.

    • Steven Grose

      The books teach just the opposite. Apples emit ethylene gas as they break down. The gas causes potatoes to sprout. Make sure and do your research

    • Rebekka S

      @Steven Grose actually, as far as I’ve been taught (by an organic farmer in the area) ethylene accelerates the ripening of tomatoes but delays the sprouting of tubers like potatoes (and onions, too).

    • Neva Herrera

      Great and interesting tip! Thanks!

    • Rhonda Craven

      @Steven Grose I have done it for over 50 years. My great grandfather before me did. It has alway worked for me and him.

    • Suzanne Folsom

      That’s really interesting! I wonder if it’s the idea that a little is good but too much (storing 100# of apples or something) is bad? Excited to try that this year!

  • HVAC123

    Good stuff as always, love that you put time stamps as well.

  • William Craig

    Thanks for the tips, I was just about to throw out an old chest freezer. 😁👍

  • rawfoodelectric

    This topic is always on my mind. I need to get to this next step!!

  • Tonya Rueff

    This was so informative and encouraging. Sweet potatoes is something I grow and would like to store in natural state. You’ve given me good information and I know I can start there.🙂

  • Holly Hilt

    I don’t have a root cellar, but I have a room that stays cool and dark all year long. Perfect humidity too. No idea how it does that. The rest of my house gets cold in winter and hot in summer. The joys of living in an old house.

  • Alyssa Napoleon

    As another answer to the first question about a backup to the generator for the meat in the freezer: I got this idea from The Kneady Homesteader, having canning jars and lids set aside specifically for the meat in the freezer. So if you have an extended power outage you just can up the meat in the freezer. But you have to have a gas stove for this plan to work.

  • Maple Grove Farm and Homestead

    We built a cellar into a hillside. We’ve had good luck with managing different environments by having 2 rooms. The room you enter has a little higher temp and lower humidity for my squash, onions and sweet potatoes. The second room, further into the hill, has higher humidity and lower temps for my potatoes, root crops, and cheeses. And we are in an area where roots cellars aren’t suppose to be successful.

    • Sophie Hawkins

      Excellent tip! Thanks!

    • rnupnorthbrrr SM

      That would be so nice to have !!
      Did you dig it by hand or machine and did you reinforce the ceiling and walls ?
      I guess smaller ones don’t need the reinforcement??

    • Maple Grove Farm and Homestead

      @rnupnorthbrrr SM we dug by machine and installed concrete blocks for the entire sides. It has a concrete floor and on top is wood shed.

  • Blue Butterfly Wellness

    I’m just thinking out loud here, but I live in a tiny attic apt in a New England city with uninsulated storage/closet space on my level and am wondering if I can keep some colder root veggies in aereated 5 gallon bins with soil during the winter as it is uaually refrigerator/freezer temp in that space. Thoughts, anyone?

    • Blue Butterfly Wellness

      @Cresta OGLE Our Adventures Thanks for your feedback! 🤗 I’m new at this and will let you know. Btw, it is HOT as Hades up here during summer so I could only do this in late fall and winter. 🙂

    • Venice Mitchell

      Good idea. Prep that area before to keep pests away.

    • Blue Butterfly Wellness

      @Venice Mitchell Thanks!

    • Patty Meade-Austin

      Definitely worth a try. I think it would work. If it gets below freezing, maybe use a cooler to prevent freezing and thawing fluctuations.

    • Blue Butterfly Wellness

      @Patty Meade-Austin Like that idea. Thx! Actually you gave me an idea to line buckets with insulation before placing soil inside. 👍🏾

  • Phyre & Willow

    As far as the question of the day, I keep about 8 dozen quart jars empty in case of a freezer failure to save my meat(if we can’t find a new one in time). I’m also making beef jerky(salt cured and dried), learning how to cure bacon so it can hang on a hook in the kitchen, and eventually cure ham hocks… the meats I like best canned(so far), are pork shoulder and beef soup. The pork is the best. Comes out like the best pulled pork you’ve ever tasted! Just add a bit of bbq sauce. 😋

  • Cresta OGLE Our Adventures

    Hello! Do you have a printout of these guidelines? That would be incredibly helpful! I eagerly anticipate your videos each week. I’ve watched them ALL! 😍

  • DrValerie800

    There IS no cool/dark/moist here (Arizona, no basement, no “cool side of the house”); whatever I have that needs cool temps goes in the fridge. Sometimes that works, but not for months…except for onions. Fridge is usually at 40 F. I WISH I had a root cellar, or even a basement. Oh well. <3

  • Jane Bartlett

    Winter in northern Idaho allows for using snow and ice itself as a back up source of emergency freezer space in a power outage.

  • Dianna McCafferty

    Thank you. I hope I can use some of these next year!

  • Steven Grose

    Styrofoam sheets can be bought at reasonable prices at various thicknesses and R values. They are great for R values and don’t readily breakdown or rot at the higher humidity.

  • Shannon Hopper

    Do you have any books or sites you recommend where I can learn more about root cellar storage , root cellering, etc? Thanks for all info love learning for you guys.

  • Army Guy

    Hello I am a French Canadian and when I was a boy, my Grandfather used to grow LOTS of MINT around the house and barn. He said that rodents hates the smell. In the Fall. he sickle the mint and sprinkle it in the root cellar and his unfinished basement. When I had an RV, I had a mice problem, I spray peppermint oil along the walls, shelves etc… and it did the trick. Just an ideas to learn from each other. Big fan, keep up the good work, Peace in Christ.

  • Abigail G

    We missed your new video today and hope that all is going well. You’ve become good friends in our home.

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