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cold room storage in home

 

Whether you’re trying to prolong your next trip to the grocery store as long as you can, or if you’re just looking for a way to keep certain foods fresh for as long as possible, the cold room has been returning in popularity in recent years.

Cold rooms are similar to the old-fashioned concept of the root cellar, in that it’s a dedicated room for food storage at a lower temperature than the rest of the house, in order to keep the food fresh for longer. As opposed to a root cellar (which tends to just be an unfinished basement where your vegetables live), a cold room is a finished, modernized room that offers the same benefits of both a root cellar and a finished basement.

Particularly these days, when we’re all trying to keep our groceries as fresh as possible for as long as possible, cold rooms can be a valuable method of keeping produce safe and edible for longer than they would be via other storage methods.

 

At-Home Cold Room Design Tips

Where Should I Make A Cold Room?

One of the most important facets of cold room design is location. Depending on the design of your home and the overall climate you live in, finding the right place for your cold room can be a little tricky, but not impossible.

Cold rooms, as befitting their name, need to be, well…really cold! Not exactly inside-of-your-fridge cold, but darn close – experts suggest the ideal cold room is between 32°F to 60°F, and higher than average relative humidity (to help keep consumables fresh for longer).

As a result, most people tend to look in their basement or attic. Basement utility rooms, even if they have a furnace in there, are a good choice for dry, temperature-controlled environments. Attics can work too, although they tend to be a little more, er, temperamental when it comes to temperature control, so this might not work as well if it’s not properly insulated and ventilated.

 

What Do I Need In My Cold Room?

Honestly, once you’ve found the right environment for your cold room, you don’t need a lot to keep your produce safe. We suggest using something that can handle the temperature and humidity, like wire shelves, rivet shelves, or rust proof shelves that won’t get damaged and/or accidentally spoil your vegetables by getting rusty.

You’ll want to be careful about how you place them, for maximum effectiveness. Leave space between the shelves themselves and the walls of your cold room to promote airflow and ventilation.

Other than the shelves, you’ll just need a few strategically-placed thermometers to check the temperature of the room as needed, a hygrometer to keep an eye on humidity, and (if possible) screens over any of the room’s vents to help regulate air quality.

 

How Do I Take Care Of My Cold Room?

Truth be told, cold rooms are a good “set it and forget it” storage option. Think of it like a large fridge – so long as the right conditions are maintained, and nothing is too obviously spoiled when you put it down there, everything should stay pretty fresh without a lot of intervention.

Obviously, you’ll need to do some maintenance as time goes by. Check everything on a regular schedule (once a month minimum) to make sure it isn’t starting to spoil or turn, and once a year take everything off the shelves and give it a thorough cleaning to make sure it’s all safe and germ-free. Proper cleaning and maintenance is crucial for food safety, and if the conditions in your cold room are right, you’ll be able to keep your produce fresh for a longer period of time.

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