My sister recently moved into a new home - a cute little two bedroom cottage that is about 60 or 70 years old. There are many things to love about her house but one of them is the larder. It's set off the old kitchen where the original fuel stove still sits. We don't build houses with larders now and few people have cellars but the good news is that the pantry is making a comeback. It's one of the most requested spaces in new homes. Food storage is back!
But here in the real world most of us have to deal with what we have and adjust our food storage to suit what's actually in our homes. I'm lucky that I have a pantry in my kitchen and a stockpile cupboard just around the side of the fridge. We also stockpile various items, mainly toiletries, frozen goods and bulk flour in our second bathroom. It's cool in there most of the year, just like a larder would be. Over the years I've stored grains and flour there, we've only had one problem with mildew and mould, and that was with our extended period of recent rain last last year.
In the old days a larder was traditionally situated on the side of the house that got the least amount of sunshine but our second bathroom/larder is in the middle of our house and has no outside windows. Our house is fully insulated so it remains at a fairly stable temperature and except for the hottest of hot days in summer, that bathroom is suitable for cool storage. The floor is tiled so sitting bags of oats or flour there, after they've spent a day or two in the freezer keeps them cool, dry and safe. When I start making cheese again, that is where they will be stored. I'm going to ask Hanno to make two long shelves with hooks underneath so I can place the cheeses along the shelves and hang garlic, herbs and other odds and ends under them. If I lived in a colder climate and I didn't have a room for cold storage, I'd be tempted to build a brick or block storeroom outside. I'd completely seal every ventilation slot and window with wire mesh to prevent any nasties getting in. It would be an excellent place to store vegetables, cheese, homemade wine, grain and flour.
Above is a variety of grains, pasta and small bags of SR flour being stored in the freezer. Below, bulk flour for breadmaking. I buy my flour from Simply Good at Morayfield, there is also a shop at Alderley.
Your biggest enemy when storing food is humidity, sunlight and pests. If you keep having problems with mould in your pantry, it may be too humid and you might be wise to look further away from your kitchen to store those foods. I have found that if I always freeze dry foods when they come into the house, then store them in their unopened bags or in a glass container, I have almost no bug problems. Sunlight on food dries it out and bleaches the colour. If you've put up jams or fruits in jars, even though they look pretty on the shelf, they won't last as long as they would in a dark dry and cool cupboard. One thing is for sure, if you're like me and always cook from scratch, have a garden and a stockpile, it is worth all the time you put into making sure your food remains fresh and safe. How have you set up your food storage areas?