November 25, 2013

Eating well from the root cellar

Now’s the time of year I generally like to write about two things: winter storage crops and eating locally for the holidays. 

This year is no exception. I love the root vegetables we’re able to grow and store here in the North Country. Hopefully you were able to visit the farmers’ markets and stock up before the markets closed. It’s not too late – some markets are open through the holiday season or even through the winter. Visit for an up-to-date listing of regional farmers’ markets. 

What’s available now for root vegetables? We’ve got winter squash from acorn to butternut to Delicata (although the latter won’t last long in your root cellar so try to use it up soon!) Don’t forget that pumpkins are also a squash and make delicious eating – I just made a large batch of creamy curried pumpkin soup to freeze for mid-winter comfort meals.

Potatoes grow well locally and there are so many varieties to choose from including those with skins of red, white, blue and yellow. Carrots and beets are wonderfully sweet additions to the root cellar, although I have to say on our farm they store much better in a spare refrigerator. We harvest these treats directly into plastic grocery bags, clinging soil and all. The bags are loosely tied at the top to provide some air circulation but still keep the veggies from drying out. Our carrots and beets last for at least six months in this way.

The alliums are an essential component of the well-stocked root cellar. If onions and shallots have been properly cured you can enjoy them right into the late winter (except for the super sweet varieties). We layer ours on old bread trays and stack them in a cool corner of our basement. Leeks are harvested, cleaned and stored in the spare ‘fridge. And garlic! It’s the only commercial crop we still produce on our farm, about 10,000 heads each year. We sell most of it as seed garlic to other local farms, but still end up with pounds of it to enjoy for many months.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time