Do you have a ton of extra vegetables like carrots and potatoes lying around each year? Have you run out of canning space and room in your home? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should consider installing a root cellar.
A root cellar is a great way to store any produce you have left over from harvest. The underground cellar was very popular back in the old days before refrigeration and other storage methods. Many old farms and homes will have a cellar somewhere on the property. If you do not have a cellar, you should consider getting one. Anyone who wants to have food storage should have some sort of root cellar.
A root cellar is underground and can be made of various items, including concrete blocks and wood. But that can get expensive. If you do not have a lot of money and you want something that you can make for free, consider converting a refrigerator or freezer into a root cellar. The cellar won’t be huge, but it will be adequate enough to hold your food storage. If you want a larger storage capacity, you can go with a larger refrigerator or a larger freezer.
Where to Get a Freezer or Refrigerator?
If you do not have a spare refrigerator or freezer, there are several ways that you can find one and use it. Call your local appliance dealers and see if they have any that aren’t working that they would be willing to donate or sell for a small fee.
Also, search on sites like Craigslist and Facebook. Another way to find a used refrigerator or freezer that is no longer working is to go to your local landfill. Stick with the people there and see if you can get a refrigerator or freezer that has been thrown away but has not been taken away for scrap.
How to get Started
Once you find your refrigerator or freezer, consider removing the hardware. This is optional, but some people do it so as Freon won’t be underground near their food. Next, dig out an area that will accommodate the refrigerator or freezer and give you a bit of space to put some ventilation around it. You want to make sure that the appliance is completely underground (or in the side of a hill), but you want to allow for the lid to be open to make sure that you can get into your storage cellar. Once you have the cellar built, you will slowly ease your refrigerator or freezer down into its home. Some people like to put PVC pipe inside the refrigerator or freezer to allow for more air circulation. If you do this, make sure that you leave the PVC pipe unburied from the refrigerator door. This will allow for air to circulate down and keep your vegetables and whatever you store in the cellar fresh.
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Once you have the refrigerator or the freezer completely installed, you want to work on a way to have the top part of the seller covered. Of course, you will have the protection of the appliance lid but you will need something on top of that to keep critters out and to keep people from disturbing your seller. From a security standpoint, you may want to invest in a lock to go on the appliance. You can cover the lid of the refrigerator with plywood, straw or any other item that you would deem fit. Some people even cover their cellars with logs and just roll them out of the way when they need access. Don’t cover your PVC pipe, as this will harm the circulation of air throughout the appliance.
Storing your Food
You can store potatoes, apples, carrots, onions and many other vegetables and fruit. Just make sure that moisture is kept out. When you put root vegetables into the cellar, don’t wash them. The added dirt helps to protect the vegetables from loss. If you have chickens, you can consider storing your eggs in the root cellar as well.
A cellar is a great way to have added food storage and added space to hold all your extra food. While they can be expensive, they don’t always have to be. With a refrigerator or freezer cellar, you can cheaply store your fruits and vegetables – and even keep items out of landfills.
Do you have any advice on using refrigerators and freezers as root cellars? Share your tips in the section below: