Preserving the Harvest
October 20, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
An event every day that begins at 9:00 am, repeating until October 25, 2020
We harvested a variety of vegetables this past weekend in the gardens and there is still some harvesting to do this weekend! We will also be showcasing a sampling of Old Sturbridge Village’s 2020 harvest in the Parsonage Barn this weekend. There will also be an exhibition of vegetables, fruit, butter, handwoved woolen fabrics, knitted stockings, shoes, brooms, baskets, and other Village made items on display in the Center Meetinghouse.
Harvesting before the freezing temperatures set in is important work, but preserving the harvest is just as vital! Early 19th-century New England farm families stored a lot of the fall harvest is root cellars. How an item was stored in the cellar depended on the item. Cabbages, for example, would be hanged upside down from the ceiling. Early 19th-century varieties of cabbages (such as Mammoth Red Rock) were often larger than what you might see at a modern grocery store. The larger head would last longer when stored in the root cellar, as it has more moisture and layers that can protect the core from decay. As the cabbages hang upside down in the root cellar, the outer leaves dry around the head, and the moisture concentrates towards the head. This leaves the crisp cabbage protected inside. Cabbages stored like this can last for about 2-3 months, depending on their size and quality.
Certain root vegetables (such as carrots and turnips) were often stored in sand in the root cellar. If these items are exposed to the air, they will lose moisture and shrivel up. The sand seals them from the air and isolates each vegetable or fruit, preventing the spread of rot if one should spoil.
And remember – up to 3 kids are admitted for FREE per adult paying full price (or adult member) now through November 28!
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