By Robert Owens
Throughout time, humans have always had to find ways to preserve food after the growing seasons to sustain themselves in the cold winter months. Food preservation and storage skills were crucial to the survival of our ancestors. Today, easy access to food (grocery stores and pizza delivery), have made this concept a lost tradition.
With the cyclical ups and downs of economic times, natural disasters and the threat of bio-terrorism, there has been a resurgence in the minds of many people across the country about having their own food storage cellar. More attention is being paid to the concept of having access to food and water in case of emergency. Uncertain access to food and water spawns the idea that families need to have contingency plans for developing a long term food storage capability.
Planning for long term access to food and water has the following benefits:
- Families look to save money where they can. Buying in bulk and storing the excess in the basement or pantry is a part of that strategy.
- Individuals who are now trying their hands at backyard gardens will want to store excess foods they have grown over the summer to enjoy over the winter months.
- Surviving contamination of local food and water supplies through natural disaster or man made threats.
So, what exactly constitutes a storage cellar?
In the past, it may have been known as the root cellar, a dark damp area beneath the home with a dirt floor, burlap bags and wooden barrels lined along the wall. Today, a food storage cellar can essentially be the same kind of place that great grandpa Jones would be proud of, minus the dirt floor of course. Your basement, garage or backyard patio can be designed to accommodate your food stores over the Winter. If the garage or back patio is the only location for your storage cellar, you may need to insulate somewhat to help maintain a temperature above freezing. Basements usually have the necessary insulated properties and are the preferred site for storing your food.
Basic Materials for your storage cellar might include:
- Plastic 5 Gallon Buckets – Ensure they are safe for food storage
- Shelving to house various can goods other non-perishable items
- Mylar Bags for oxygen barrier material
- Re-usable Plastic Lids for Sealing in Food materials
- Oxygen Absorbers
Other items for Emergency Situations
- Candles/Flashlights and Batteries
- Manual Can Openers
- Blankets/Hand Warmers
- Camping Stove
- Solar powered Radio
- Pet Food – If you have a Pet
- Pots/Pans and basic dishware
Whether you are a survivalist, or just want to enjoy a summer squash in the winter time, a storage cellar can provide a specific place to house your extra or emergency food. Storage cellars can be as as simple as a dirt floor basement or a more elaborate setup, depending on your financial abilities. Either way, having homegrown vegetables in your crock pot stew when the snow has blanketed the ground, is very appealing to many who have the foresight to plan ahead.