If you are considering building a homestead, then one of the things you need to give consideration to is a harvest room. One room specifically designated for the preparation and storage of food.
A harvest room was a simple necessity for yesterday's farms. Yet they have all but disappeared today. And today's modern kitchen is ill equipment for canning or dehydrating a wonderful garden harvest. There simply isn't room or the proper equipment for doing it.
I thought I would put together some thoughts on a harvest room for those that are interested. Despite my searching, I have not been able to locate anything on the internet about a harvest room.
First, remember that most of the harvest will occur in late summer when outdoor temperatures are at or near their zenith. So you'll want your harvest room to be cool. That may mean a room with windows or a room with flow through ventilation.
You can take advantage of some of the equipment in your kitchen such as the sink and dishwasher so you may wish to have the room adjacent to the kitchen. If you wish to be off the grid then you can sterilize the jars by boiling either over an open fire outside, over a wood stove or in a Rumford (1) fireplace. Either way, being close to the kitchen will be a plus.
You'll need plenty of room to store empty canning jars, lids and rings. So cabinets will be important. Counter space will be another prime consideration. Since canning requires heating a pressure canner (the safest method) you will need a source of heat. Again, you may wish to take advantage of your kitchen stove or you might consider adding a unit specifically for your harvest room. This could be a handy addition particularly if you have a large family or frequent guests. A nice place to cook without heating up the rest of the house.
(1) You might even considering building a Rumford fire place in the harvest room along with a bread oven. A Rumford fireplace is a tall and shallow fireplace that was pretty common in early American. Also referred to as a working fireplace or cooking fireplace, it's one of the easiest designs to cook in.
And don't forget the necessary fireplace equipment like the fireplace crane.
You'll also prefer to have easy access from the harvest room to your root cellar where much of your canned foods will be stored.
Whether you combine the functionality into your kitchen or decide to go with two separate rooms, you will want the space for canning and dehydrating equipment along with a surplus of storage just for harvest activities.
Just one more thing to consider when you build the homestead of your dreams -rick/moderator, wilderness-survival.net
When showing all my various home plans to people they always comment that I made the pantry awful big. To me a pantry isn't just for a few cans and boxes of cereal. It is for preparation of food for storage and the storage of all my canning supplies, seeds and drying. I want mine big enough to accomodate my deep freeze and handle a dehydrator and pressure cooker to keep the noise out of the main kitchen. I guess I didn't know what it was called but what I really want is called a harvest room!
Designing thermal convection into a harvest room can help to keep your produce from excessive heat. An opening low on the natural shady side, and an opening high on the sunny side of a room will naturally move the cool air in and the hot air out.
Actually, I've read that you can lower the temperature of the air coming in from the cool side. It's not going to be refrigeration, of course, but you can improve the odds.
The first thing is design, which is to make sure the air-intake side is always shaded.
Then you add shrubbery to shade the air-intake, maybe add a little grass or lawn beyond it, and if you have a source of moisture (even waste water) to keep that area cool, it all helps.
I saw a half-underground root cellar at some sort of museum place in Oregon, near Bend, I think, and it was noticeably cooler inside than out. Like the pioneers, you do the best you can with what you've got.
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Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop