A Root Cellar for Your Homestead
By Victoria Ries
Long before the first light bulb, "miraculously" illuminated our lives-almost everyone owned a root cellar. The root cellar kept apples,carrots, turnips, potatoes and squash, through the winter, sustainingthe family through those cold and bleak months. Salt pork and smokedmeats, milk, cream, butter and cheese were also kept in the root cellarto stay cool and fresh, ready for use.It is thought that the first root cellars originated in the United Kingdombefore colonial times. Immigrants then brought with them their countryskills, including the functional and practical root cellar.An earth-friendly, root cellar is the natural choice for the homesteader,whether or not you're, "on the grid." The low-tech root cellar, will keepyour harvest fresh for two months or longer, depending on what youstore, without ozone-depleting refrigeration, or electricity. In additionto the above mentioned foods, you can store your canned tomatoes,peaches, pears, green beans, peas, fish and meat, in fact, any type of canned foods in your root cellar. They will provide a pleasing array of natural colors; the result of a summer's hard work and patience, allneatly lined up on shelves.There are several types of root cellar and different ways in which toconstruct one. There's the Hatch Cellar, Hillside Cellar and the AboveGround Cellar.
The Hatch Cellar usually consists of a large hole dug into theground then lined with rocks. The floor is left in its natural state,