"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Naturally storing

I saw this a few years ago, and thought it an excellent idea.  And, typical, with the move from town to the farm, completely forgot about it. 

Jihyun Ryou: a Korean artist about her storage
 solution for vegetables
The link in the pic above an excerpt from the file "Taste the Waste"  by Valentin Thurn from 2012.  (It's very frustrating - I understand that making films / documentaries costs money, so I totally understand that the movie was offered for sale.  But, c'mon - that was in 2010??  Surely the message would get to a far larger audience if it was now offered for general viewing?  And surely that is the motivation of the movie - to educate people?)

Anyway, soapbox moment over...

Then I saw the excerpt again a few days ago.

OK - so I figure that someone's trying to tell me something.

So, I decided that I was going to try it...

Why not - in summer the more space you have in a fridge, the better :)

But, I'm being a good scientist - I'm using controls :)  (if only my old science teacher could see me now lol)
Carrots in damp sand, and control carrot on
the side
So, into a large-ish vase went some carrots and some damp sand.  With a "bare" control carrot lying on the side.
Carrots in bag in veggie drawer of the fridge
Half of the bunch of carrots harvested went into a bag the fridge...
Carrot on the shelf in the fridge
 ... and the fridge control one was left exposed on a fridge shelf.

Yes, I could leave the carrots in the ground, but with the hectic heat (and lack of rain) that we have here in summer, they tend to bolt quite quickly.  In addition, I have discovered that the moles have a penchant for carrots.  Nothing worse than planning to have carrots for dinner, and going out to harvest some, only to find that the leaves and a very small amount of the actual carrot remains in the ground.

Then - the apples and potatoes...

I am so tired of potatoes going "mushy" - even when I store them in the dark cupboard under the stairs.  I mean, I can't even plant sprouting tatties - 'cos they don't sprout.  They just go squishy and soft and revolting.  The only place that is good enough for that is the compost heap.  What a waste!
Potatoes below apples in the veggie rack
So, I have this small kitchen unit and on the upper shelf I have placed some granny smith apples, whilst below is the  "basket" of potatoes.
A "paper wall" blocks the light
from hitting the potatoes
I have covered the front of the wire basket with paper to prevent the potatoes being exposed to the sunlight which shines straight in on the unit in the afternoon.

Two weeks later :

Whooop!  Whooop!  Wow!!!
Now that is a carrot that even the alpacas
would probably refuse
This is the control carrot left on the kitchen counter next to the sand filled container.  As you can see it is pretty unappetizing - and wrinkled and soft.  Not even good enough to feed to the alpacas.
The carrots in the damp sand are still firm and
perky.  In fact...
These are the carrots in the sand.
... they are sprouting new leaves
 And - a distant shot of the carrots in sand.  But, if you look carefully at them you can see something that blew me away.
The carrots in the damp sand are even sprouting
new roots!
 They are so loving being out of the fridge, and still alive, that they have started producing new leaves... 

... and roots :)  I'm blown away.
Another sad looking carrot - this is the one that was
left exposed on the fridge shelf.
The carrot left open on the shelf in the fridge - t'is also looking worse for the wear.  Not quite as sad looking as the control one from the kitchen counter, but not as good as the ones in the packet in the fridge, and definitely not as good as the carrots in the damp sand.

Naturally - the carrots in the bag in the fridge are fine - except they aren't growing leaves nor roots lol

Pretty successful I reckon!!

Just for the fun of it I'm going to leave one carrot in the damp sand, and see what happens to it over the next few months.  Will it grow another / more carrots, will it go to seed?  What will it do?

I never thought I'd be displaying vegetables in my house like a pot plant lol


Kirsty Udall said...

That's amazing Dani! My old grow your own veg recommend keeping your root veggies in damp sand, but I never imagined they would keep so well.

Dani said...

Kirsty - Yes, I also know about storing carrots and potatoes in sand in a root cellar. But, this allows me to "store" them in my kitchen - which is great, because my only root cellar type option is outside - where the weather is cold and wet... ;)

Sue said...

I find these "experiments" so interesting.
Always a good source of info.
Hope you're having a good week.

Dani said...

Sue - I love visible "experiments" too. Make results more believable.

Yup - all good here - sitting typing this at my writing desk with my back to the Rosie - so snug and warm ;)

DFW said...

Can't wait to hear/see how long the sand carrot lasts.

Vicki said...

Love the experiment. Makes sense when you don't have a root cellar. Many moons ago I would store garden carrots in an old metal wash tub in the basement. Layer of sand - layer of carrots - layer of sand - etc. They stayed fresh all winter

Harry Flashman said...

The Koreans are immensely clever people when it comes to preserving food. This look like a good idea and I appreciate your logical approach to testing it out.

Mum said...

Very interesting. I shall now work on an artistic way to store my veg.

Dani said...

Dallas - I'll post when there's a development / news :)

Dani said...

Vicki - Jihyun recommends storing the carrots (and leeks) as they grow (vertically) - she says it causes less stress to the root in storage.

Dani said...

Harry - Isn't kymber's "kimchi" Korean...?

Dani said...

Mum - Bwahahaha! Me too lol