Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Beetroots in sand

We are just getting the last of the beetroots -- just beets to Americans -- our of our garden, and I'm experimenting with keeping them in sand to see how long they will last.

You might think it more obvious to do this in the autumn and preserve food over winter, rather than wait until the land is bursting with food. Here, though, root crops can be left in the soil for long periods, and eaten when necessary. For our agrarian forebears, moreover, spring, not winter, was often the lean season,  after the winter's salted meat and dried food ran out, but before the hens began laying and the harvests began coming in. Lent often forbade people meat and indulgences just when they were unavailable anyway. Food stores that can be stretched over spring would be much needed.

I'll be checking on them about once a week, and will report how long they last.


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about trying this. I assume you are using moist sand-- how did you moisten it? I haven't actually watched anyone do this, and I've wondered for a long time whether it works better to moisten the sand and then pack the roots in, or to pack the roots in dry sand and then moisten it and let the water distribute on its own...

Thanks for sharing your experiment!

Brian Kaller said...


I didn't moisten the sand, but it was quite damp in the shed already, so I decided not to moisten it further. If I check them and they've dried out, I'll increase the moisture. I'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I may try an experiment along similar lines with some spring turnips.