Storing Cabbage

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#1
I was wondering if anyone could tell me or direct me to a good cold storage method of storing cabbage through the Michigan winter months?

Every fall the wife and I make several crocks of sauerkraut, where we purchase several bushels of cabbage from our local farm market for this task. I would like to be able to store several more bushels of cabbage for use during the winter months for golabki, as well as slaw and other cabbage uses. Unfortunately, most searches I've come onto only talk about storing cabbage in the fridge crisper for a few weeks. Since I'm talking bushels, I need a larger method to take me through the winter months.

A method that I was thinking about, was to place a large apple crate in my unheated pole barn, fill it with peat which I'd use to bury my cabbage in. Then throughout the winter I could just go out to the barn and dig out a cabbage. Although this is an untried method, it's just an idea I'm throwing out to get the discussion going. There certainly are other media options I could consider besides peat, perhaps chopped straw, sawdust or ground corn cob are just a few that come to mind.

Many thanks for your consideration to my question.
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
You might need to rethink your idea on storage in an unheated barn.
You need to keep the cabbages from freezing, or you will have a large mess for composting!
An unheated basement that stays above freezing would be a better idea to create a storage area.
 
#4
Ron & Flower, thank you for your replies. Granted, we are having one of the coldest winters in many years that might tend to make one think that something in an unheated barn would freeze. Yet in my searching on cabbage storage, I've found that it's best to keep it stored down close to 32. I was thinking that the amount of peat moss in an apple box would offer some degree of insulation to stabilize the temp when we did have those periods when the temps dipped briefly below 32.
Well it was a well intentioned thought anyway. Perhaps I can bring a friend and his backhoe in to give me a long trench that I can fill with straw and cabbage next fall. Place a roof on it with some dirt, with the hopes that it will carry my cabbage through the winter months. And something I could use year after year.
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
..or just dig a root cellar and roof it over! Might be better then a long trench and easier to access!
This has been one of the longest, coldest winter in a long time!
 
#6
Okay Ron, let me back-up a moment and hit this from a different angle.

Since the $10,000 custom root cellar is out and the above ground apple box in the pole barn seems to have some inherent flaws.
I do have access to food grade plastic barrels which appear to be in the 40-50 gallon range.
So if I were to drill some small holes in the bottom for drainage and bury the barrel flush with the top of the ground, after which I'd fill with straw and cabbage, would this be a better method of storage? I should mention that they do come with a snap on lid.
Something else I'd consider is fresh cold air since cabbage do better towards 32 degrees. That would be sliding a pvc pipe down through the lid to the bottom of the barrel. The bottom end of the pipe would have several drilled holes to allow for air escape. Perhaps another short piece of pipe put just through the top of the lid for air escape, thus completing the cycle for air circulation.

I could probably dedicate a barrel specifically for potatoes also. I would think that if I were to bury 5-6 barrels in this manner, it would provide enough storage for all the wife and I would need, well at least until my sons came over and found them!
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
I like were you are going with the barrels and air circulation!
It will be an interesting experiment for next winter, which we hope will not be as severe as this winter!
Just wondering how far down the frost goes in the area you are thinking to burying them.
An area sheltered from the prevailing winter winds would be the best site to use.
 
#8
Ron, I wouldn't think the frost would be any further than 18". I would put them on the south side of the barn and cover them with straw in the fall. I could then pick up the straw in the spring and put it on my wine top mushroom pile.
 
#9
Ron, you asked about the frost line. I think 18" is pretty typical, which means that that below that is what the ground stays year round. I'm thinking that's somewhere around 52 F, I'm not sure. Let me back-up to the barrel construction a moment, my cold air intake for the cabbage, I'd place a 90 degree elbow on the pipe facing the west. This is the direction that the prevailing winds are usually from, WNW. This elbow would capture the cold winds sending them towards the bottom of the barrel, where they'd mix with the natural earth temperature and hopefully putting the temperature down into the 30's.

The other barrels could have their elbows directed more towards the SE so as not to take a direct wind down the stack. So these barrel temps could be more in the 40's. Maybe some kind of damper that can be adjusted open/close on the pipe is in order??
 


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