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Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Cabbage Pit Silo

The following is an excerpt from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante. It has been adapted for the Web.

  • Cabbage
  • Dried leaves
  • Plastic sheeting

When the growing season is over and our sauerkraut pot is full, ripe cabbages often remain in the garden but cannot withstand the rigors of winter. To preserve this vegetable, we do the following:

In a dry, well-drained spot that is protected by a hedge or a wall (for example, at the end of a cold frame), dig a 16-inch-deep pit, with its width proportional to the quantity of cabbage to be preserved. Spread the soil and pack it all around the hole, to raise its sides.

Pick the cabbage and remove any leaves that are “too” green, bruised, or rotten. Place the cabbage plants in one layer at the bottom of the hole, roots facing up. Cover the cabbage with autumn leaves that are not too damp. Be careful not to pack them tightly. To protect from the rain, cover with a sheet of plastic or other waterresistant material.

About three to four months later, in early spring, we can once again prepare an excellent sauerkraut.

Beets, carrots, black radishes (with leaves removed), and even geranium plants and cuttings can be kept in the same manner. If different vegetables are to be stored together, they must be arranged such that they can be accessed conveniently without having to dismantle the entire silo. Be sure to reclose it each time.

Bernard Gabard, Péage-de-Roussillon


4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More

Is My Broth (or Stock) Bad?

Are you planning to start the GAPS diet or any other diet aimed at boosting gut health this year? If so, chances are that stocks and broths are critical components. Even if you’re not changing the way you eat, but you often have pots of aromatic goodness bubbling on your stove, you may have wondered, […] Read More

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until Spring. Author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors can help you grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s book, Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening, is […] Read More

Recipe: Medlar Cream Cake

If you’re looking for a simple cake to serve guests, try this medlar cream cake. What’s a medlar? The fruit of the medlar tree, Mespilus germanica, tastes like lightly spiced apple butter scooped soft right out of the russeted skin. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in California has a small but significant collection of […] Read More

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More
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