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Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

January 15th, 2012

There is, as well, something deeply comforting about a winter larder, connecting us with ancestors who either provided for their own needs or went without. The question, “What what shall we have for dinner?” thus becomes not a matter of pleasant choices among options within close proximity, but also a realization of some vital link, historically and spiritually, with our own past.

Finally, there is still something living about vegetables one gathers out of storage. Chicories have actually grown, prodding fat witloofs deep beneath a thick layer of peat, signaling their readiness for the table by snouts poking barely into the air. Cabbages and brussels sprouts are stored with their roots and outer leaves, from which they still draw sustenance throughout the winter. Carrots, beets, and winter radishes, pulled from the damp sand, will display frail white whiskers of root, and may ten have produce a tuft of new leaves, not an unacceptable addition to a winter salad.

All this, with the smell of life still on it, reminds us, if with a difference, of the pleasure of the summer garden, and of harvesting from a medium closer to life than a plastic bag.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill



There are no words I can add that will expound on the simple beauty of this passage.

Do you have a larder, pantry, root cellar? What’s your favorite shelf-stable winter vegetable?

18 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd”
  1. tami on January 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I just pulled all the carrots OUT of the garden a week or two ago. (One of the benefits of living in NC.) I also stored eating apples this past fall but they started to turn last month. Hello applesauce!

    I’ve never tried cabbage before. Maybe this year?
    tami´s last post ..Sweet Cheeks

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  2. Lisa P on January 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I have plenty of apples and a few carrots left in my root cellar – potatoes are long gone – I must plant twice as many next year. In my basement (a bit warmer place) I have butternut squash and 2 head of garlic. I planted 2.5X the garlic this fall than I did last fall, about 100 cloves, so I shouldn’t have a garlic shortage next January! :)

    Reply to Lisa P's comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      You might want to consider planting a second crop of potatoes to be harvested right at last frost. I tried it this past summer and these potatoes are still doing very well in the basement pantry. The ones harvested mid summer from a spring planting are all sprouting pretty heavily.

      I too planted over 100 cloves of garlic – here’s to a year without vampires!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. B ryan N. on January 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

    we have a big pantry and almost 2yrs ago I built a 10×12 root cellar in the side hill behind our garage.It is probably the best money I have spent we keep all our canned food out there as well as our potatoes and other root crops.Our potatoes will keep until almost July before they start to sprout.If you ever have the opportunity to build one it is well worth it.

    Reply to B ryan N.'s comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

      That’s definitely something we’ve been thinking about and looking into doing. We have a bilco (one of those basement stairways outside) that can be turned into a nice root cellar with a few minor adjustments.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. elaine rickett on January 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I looked this book up on Amazon as it sounded right up my street, but the cost was $239 I couldn’t believe my eyes – is the book inlaid with gold or something. Needless to say I didn’t order it.
    elaine rickett´s last post ..What a Difference a Day Makes

    Reply to elaine rickett's comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

      It’s out of print and very popular. Keep your eyes peeled, you can sometimes find it for $30 which is a huge bargain. I’d check your local library to see if they have a copy (our local libraries are down to a few copies). It’s well worth finding a copy to read!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. KimH on January 15, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Their books are wonderful..

    I have a fairly large pantry but itts not all food I grew. Its quite satisfying to go down there & see plenty..

    My favorite shelf stable veggie is squashes. I have quite a few Carnival squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash too.. If I had to choose one vegetable family to live on for the rest of my life, it’d be the lovely squash in all its various forms. :)

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Squash is such a valuable staple crop for those of us in the north. They couldn’t be easier to grow or preserver either – no canning or anything. I stack mine in a corner of the dining room and eat on them all winter long! Hopefully some day I’ll have a larger garden to grow even more wonderful varieties of winter squash!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Andrea Duke on January 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

    My onions and garlic are still nice. I lost too many potatoes, too early. I need to work on that. I have some sweet potatoes and a few delica squash. This has definitly been the year of learning for me for food preservation!!

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  7. K.B. on January 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I’m with KimH: squash. I just used the last two from the CSA this past week, baked and filled with home-made sausage – yum!

    As for storage: no basement here, and the crawl space is literally that – a crawl space :) My house is over 80 years old, and too close the Lake Erie to have a basement. The newer houses do have basements – but also electricity-dependent sump pumps. I think I prefer not having to worry about a flooded basement!

    So, part of the renos include plans for a “cold closet” – a closet in the NE corner of the house, insulated on all sides, with vents to the outside. Hopefully that, in addition to the spare bedroom, will allow me to store a lot more food that I currently do!
    K.B.´s last post ..Things I don’t buy: hot chocolate mix

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    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Love the idea of a cold closet – perhaps a post on root cellaring is in order here with photo tours of other people’s interesting ways to store their veggies. Growing up we had a proper root cellar in our house, under the front porch, gravel floor, cold & dark. Here we just use a corner of our basement, which is unheated so it does fairly well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Domestic Executive on January 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    So far the only things I have had to store are potatoes and garlic. I’ve managed to grow roots throughout winter on account of our temperate climate but when our orchard matures I am looking forward to getting a proper food store built. A big challenge is of course keeping the mice out of our stocks!
    Domestic Executive´s last post ..All work and no play

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  9. Marcia on January 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I store potatoes(4 varieties to test which keeps longest), yellow onions, beets and carrots. I was a little dissapointed by the size of my onions this year. The tops fell over really early and the bulbs stayed small. The farm where I grow my garden has an old garage that keeps just the right temperature in winter for cold storage so I keep my vegetables in perforated carboard boxes on shelves. It works very well.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  10. itchbay on January 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I just love beets. I never had them until I was an adult, and I am so sad that I missed out in them all that time before!

    How do you like to cook them up? I’ve been enjoying mine baked and then sautéed in balsamic vinegar and served with the greens (also sautéed). I usually add more greens (kale, chard, etc.) to make a pretty presentation.
    itchbay´s last post ..Happy Bowl Soup

    Reply to itchbay's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Probably my favorite way to eat beets since I was a little girl is pickled. Now that I’m older I still love them pickled, but I also love them roasted. Usually I steam them for 20-30 minutes, then cube and roast in a hot cast iron skillet turning frequently until they’re starting to caramelize. I often mix in carrots, potatoes, onions and any other root vegetables I’ve got.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. judy meade on January 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    We are so looking forward to setting up a root cellar. We’re hoping to use basement of the new additonal on our house. It’s just the right size for one. Since we’re hoping to expand our garden quite a bit, and are successful, we may really need the space!

    Reply to judy meade's comment

  12. Kim Krupsha on January 16, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I just peeled and used the last 2 butternut squash from our garden yesterday. Picked them in November. I don’t have a root cellar, although being in NEPA, I can probably make one in my old coal cellar! Love your blog.

    Reply to Kim Krupsha's comment

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