Root cellar alternatives are possible and work great! The root cellar is a small area where you can store different food items, such as nuts, fruits, and assorted vegetables. The purpose of putting those food items in a root cellar is to preserve them, keeping them fresh for a lot longer to avoid food spoilage and save money.
Whether you grow your fruits and vegetables or prefer buying them in bulk to save money, it helps to have a root cellar at home to use to keep these foods fresh.
The root cellar got its name many decades ago when people would store root vegetables in their cellars to preserve them. If you do not have a traditional root cellar at home, do not fret! There are some great alternatives that you can use.
If you are willing to get a bit creative, you can store these food items with ease to keep them in the best condition without necessarily needing a traditional root cellar in your home.
Large Metal Bucket
Use a large metal bucket to create a do-it-yourself root cellar alternative. The first step to building a root cellar with a large metal bucket is to begin digging a hole in your backyard.
- You will need to take measurements of the bucket beforehand to determine the length and width of the hole that you will need.
- Once you know the size of the hole required, you can begin the digging process.
- It may take a few hours to dig the perfect spot, but you can always ask your loved ones to get involved in helping with this process to get it done a lot faster.
- After digging the perfect hole, place your large metal bucket inside it and put your vegetables and other food items in it.
Of course, you will need to cover this bucket with a metal lid to keep rodents from accessing it. However, if you keep it covered and sealed, you can preserve your fruits and vegetables’ freshness without running into any issues. As long as you do not mind digging a hole in your backyard, this technique will work wonders for you.
Create a wood cellar that you can keep inside your home by using wooden pallets. If you have wooden pallets lying around, this is a great way to make use of them. If you do not have them, you can purchase them or find a store getting rid of these pallets for free. You would need about six to eight pallets to use.
- When using the pallets, stack them neatly on top of one another to create a structure that you can quickly get into.
- You may want to place coarse gravel on the bottom of your pallets before adding a slight bit of insulation to a portion of the pallet’s top.
- You do not need to add insulation to all sides of the pallets. Too much insulation could lead to moisture and mold growth.
- Before storing your fruits and vegetables in this homemade pallet root cellar, be sure to cut the tops of them off.
- Please place them in a layer on the bottom of each pallet. Do not stack them on top of one another.
- When set correctly and stored in these pallets, the food items that you add to the pallets should remain fresh for two months or longer.
If you have an outdoor shed installed on your property, you can use that shed to your advantage by converting it into a root cellar. Place pallets, a bucket, or anything else that you can put on the floor of your outdoor shed inside the small structure. It works well as a root cellar alternative because the outdoor shed’s interior temperature is not too cold but not too hot.
It is the perfect temperature for storing fruits, vegetables, and other assorted food items that you want to keep a bit longer than usual. You can quickly check on your food items every so often to make sure they are still looking good, but you should not run into any problems using the outdoor shed as your root cellar. Make sure always to keep the outdoor shed shut to keep animals from getting into it.
The root clamp is an alternative to a root cellar. If you want to save time while replicating what a root cellar can do, start digging a few holes in the backyard. You may not want to ruin your backyard’s overall appearance, which is understandable, so consider digging a few holes in one designated spot by the garden area.
You can place the vegetables and fruits in these holes and cover them with piles of hay for added protection. Using hay is a must because you want to prevent the fruits and vegetables from getting any frost on them. The root clamp is the simplest alternative of them all.
The Basement of Your Home
Like the outdoor shed, your home’s basement is a great place to use as a root cellar because it is dark, and the temperature typically remains the same throughout the year.
If it is never too hot or too cold in your basement, use it as a root cellar while storing your food items on pallets or inside wood boxes. You would need to have a designated spot inside the basement to use it as a root cellar, but it can work out quite well for you.
I don’t have a basement but I use a large closet that is under my stairs. It is dark, temperature controlled (cool / dry) and has been working for years!
Old Non-Functioning Deep Freezer
If you happen to have an old, non-functioning deep freezer at home, use it to create a root cellar. It is great to have because it is broad and deep, providing you with plenty of space for the foods you would like to store for a few months.
The deep freezer has a lid attached to it, so you can keep your foods covered without worrying about anyone or anything accessing them without you knowing.
When you do not have a root cellar available to use for your produce, you might be stressing and wondering what to do when you need to store these food items. Although a root cellar is a great thing to have, some excellent alternatives will do the root cellar’s job to preserve these foods over lengthy periods.
You can try some of these alternatives based on what you have available to use at home. No matter which method you select from the options above, know that these alternatives will come in handy whenever you need to use a root cellar.
What to Store in a Alternative Root Cellar
- Your home canned goods
- Garlic (see: All You Need to Know About Growing Garlic )
- Sweet Potatoes (see: Grow Sweet Potatoes )
- Carrots (see: How to Preserve Carrots from Your Garden )
- Potatoes (see: How to Grow Potatoes Anywhere )
- Other root crops like onions