As our interest in the cellar grows were constantly looking for new interesting projects to ferment and preserve. A proper cellar should maintain a diverse and rich microbial environment. Not just pickles and sour kraut but fresh vegetables, meats and cheese. Much Like a proper diet, our cellar is maintained as such. I guess we’re playing into the Hygiene hypothesis or the ecoimmunonutrition theory.
Our porous concrete floor allows moisture and humidity to somewhat equalize at a relatively consistent rate. The floor depth is about 9 feet underground giving us a relatively constant temperature year around. They say at a depth of 5 ft, the ground maintains a constant 55 degrees. (the average temperature of the year). There is no plumbing and only a single light to help navigate the room.
Our method of organization at this point is as follows. The bottom shelves are for bulk food and produce storage. Vegetables should be stored elevated in crates or baskets to allow for proper air circulation. The middle shelves are to be reserved for various cultured products including kimchi, miso, whey, meats, cheeses, vinegars, mustards, sauerkrauts, fish sauce, and the ever growing list goes on. This shelf is the heart beat and valuable eco system of our cellar. As time goes on, In theory, The immune system of this room will grow and create a more conducive place for preservation.
The next shelf up, pickles, jars, and cans, and more pickles. The reason for this is as heat rises, the temperature tolerant items do as well. They are just over head level so navigation is not a problem. Our method of organization for this shelf is identified by brine type, date, and product. On a clip board we have brine contents listed and labeled with a number. On any given jar you will see a number and can reference brine contents on the clipboard.
This is our solution to eliminate confusion and time spent labeling. For example: SALSIFY #10 06.13.14. Wanna know whats in it? reference number 10 on the clip board to find “Whey, malt, caraway, salt”.
The top shelf is reserved for the dry things. beans, mushrooms, house teas, grains, milled flours and what ever else. This shelf will grow in time so organization is imperative as well. Products clearly labeled in a box or bag and easily accessible.
We’re loving this room more and more every day. Constantly pulling and putting, turning and tasting products, watching them develop and learning from their growth.