Saturday, March 24, 2018

Storing Vegetables For The Winter

One method used for storing vegetables for the winter was to bury them.  Certainly I know this method was used outside of Delmar on farms and I suspect it may have also been used in town after all this was a time when people had chickens, hogs and horses in their backyard. During WW1 and WW2 a lot of pressure was put on town people to have Victory Gardens and with that came a whole supply of techniques to store the vegetables in the winter.  Recently Bob Jones on his facebook page Worcester Cty, Md History had a post about such a method.

Storage in the earth: Another thing Daddy used to do in the early fall was build a kiln. This was done by digging a hole in the ground, approximately four by four feet, maybe 18 to 20 inches deep — not too deep because water could spring in. The pit would be lined with old boards or old tin, tin being best because that would help keep the rodents out. After this was done, you would line the kiln really well with pine shats. After this was done, you would store your cabbage, turnips, and potatoes — usually red skins for they kept better. Cover the top with more boards, leaving a opening in the side for a small door so you could reach in and take out your vegetables as needed. You would pile dirt on your kiln, approximately 1 to 2 feet deep, surrounding all of it except for your little door. This would keep your vegetables from freezing in the winter. You would usually build your kiln near the house so if the weather turned bad with snow, ice, or extreme cold — you never had to walk too far. Other parts of the country have more elaborate systems than this, and are often called root cellars. We kept sweet potatoes, sometimes apples, in a vacant room upstairs near the chimney.

Some people would store their turnips etc in bushel baskets of sand and store those baskets in their garage or stable.

The building of these hole in the ground root cellars at time were quite complex and each person seem to have their own technique and opinion as to what was the best way.

below is a method suggested by the National war Garden commission (1918)

and this article from abt 1903 explains the same principles

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