Storing homegrown produce–thoughts, ideas, bleg?

Ok, so this  year I’ve got a decent sized garden.  No, its not big enough to truly support the two of us, but it IS big enough that we won’t be able to eat everything that it will (potentially) produce right away.

I don’t have a good place to store much of this.  Some can be frozen sure, and some can be dehydrated, and some jarred, but some is better kept fresh if possible.

I don’t have a basement to turn into a storage space, and the crawlspace isn’t an option, maybe if it was better insulated, but last winter proved its not insulated (much less sealed) enough to keep out the cold, much less the critters.

The garage generally stays at least a few degrees warmer than the outside air in the winter (and the reverse in the summer), but thats not enough insulation in a normal winter, never mind one like this past winter.  Ditto the breezeway.

In the winter the furnace stays set at 58-60 with the wood burning stove for when we want it warmer.  I planted thermometers around the house last winter and the only place that reliably stayed below 60 when we lit the stove was the master bath.  I’m not converting the master bath to food storage.  No where else came close, so even if we set the furnace to a lower temp as soon as the woodburning stove warmed up it’d be to warm.

Obviously this is a problem we’ll have to eventually remedy, we might be able to insulate the workroom on the back of the garage for example, but not this year.

Looking through storage requirements for the vegi’s we’re most likely to have the most of, most of them should be stored between 40-55 degrees.  Though humidity requirements vary a bit.

Doing some looking around, and old fridges and freezers are cheap on craigslist.  If I add an external temperature controller, I can control the temperature of the fridge or freezer to stay within the range I want.  Humidity is a bit harder, but I think I can cope.  And the fridge wouldn’t have to run nearly as hard as usual since it wouldn’t be having to cool as far below room temp (somewhere in the 45degree range likely).

Does that sound like a reasonable solution?  A fridge with a temp controller with me doing something to manage the humidity?  Or does someone have a better idea?

*the link to Amazon is via my Amazon Associates account, if you buy something after clicking through that link I’ll earn a few pennies.

2 Comments

  1. Ping from bogie:

    Master bath would probably be too humid (at times) anyway 🙂

    Onions can stay good for quite some time in the 50’s. I bought several bags of onions on sale last fall, and they kept good until I used the last one about a month ago just keeping them in the spare room during the winter (the bedrooms stayed in the 50’s. Then once it started warming up inside, I transferred them to the basement (which was in the 70’s with the pellet stove going during the winter).

    Sorry, don’t have any ideas, the fridge thing might work – worth a try anyway.

    • Ping from Ruth:

      I was debating closing off the spare bedroom and seeing if that was enough to keep it cooler, but thats also become the “cats room” where their food and water and scratching posts are where the dogs can’t go, and I don’t want to change that.

      I think I’m going to go with the fridge idea. Unless we have a HUGE bumper crop we’re not going to have a TON, just more than we can eat in a few weeks, so I think we’ll see how it works.