Growing your own food is one of the best steps that you can take to move towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of life. But what is often forgotten is that home growing does not begin and end at the polytunnel door or garden gate. Sustainable food growing systems extend from your garden into your home. Polytunnel gardeners should consider what happens to the food they grow once that have brought it inside. A pantry is an important space for any home – especially where you are growing your own fresh produce.
Why Have a Pantry?
A pantry is a storage space which can be kept cool in summer, and free from frost over the winter. It can be a full, walk in room, or an insulated cupboard or outside cool storage area. Having a dedicated space to store food which is not subject to the fluctuating temperatures of your kitchen can be extremely helpful, which is why a pantry is an important space for polytunnel gardeners.
Whether you are lucky enough to have a pantry already in your home, or have to consider retrofitting one, or even erecting a pantry space outside your home if space is tight, it is important to consider a pantry if you are serious about growing and eating your own food year round.
What Can A Pantry Be Used For?
A pantry is a versatile space. It is more than just a regular storage cupboard, since the conditions within can be optimised to meet your needs. You can use a pantry to store:
- Root vegetables & fruits such as pumpkins, squash and apples.
- Jars of jam, chutney and other home-made preserves.
- Home-made breads and other baked goods.
- Seeds and other dried goods for winter use. (Or seeds to sow the following year.)
- Or To rack home-made cider, wines or beers.
Without a pantry, it can be difficult to find the space to preserve foods, since there will usually be limited space available in a fridge and freezer. Creating and using a space dedicated to keeping food relatively cool and nice and fresh within your home or garden will help you to reduce your reliance on appliances running on electricity, which can help you to save money on household bills and reduce the amount of energy required to run your home.
Creating a proper pantry is a great step to take if you want to take your home growing to the next level and make sure that you take full advantage of the produce that you are able to grow in your polytunnel to feed you and your family or friends throughout the year.
Do you have a pantry where you live? How do you use this space to preserve and store polytunnel produce? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.