Monday, April 16, 2018


Carrying on, the next thematic area here in the Learning Centre had to do with food preservation. With many foods being perishable quickly, what kind of techniques have humans used to make things last?

This, for instance, is a cupboard refrigerator, built in St. Catherines here in Ontario in 1861. The method at the time included the use of ice, cut from frozen lakes over the winter and stored in ice houses for the rest of the year.

Another method might include the root cellar, either created in a basement space or dug out of the ground. There was one replicated here that you could walk into. We had something like this beneath our front entrance when I was growing up, a small basement room that stayed relatively cool, ideal for storing bags of potatoes and other such items.

Other methods for the storing of goods were examined here, including burial in the ground, immersion in wells, packaging, or drying the food, a technique used by First Nations people extensively here in Canada. Panels and small scale models were used to show the techniques.


  1. Thanks for the detailed tour.

  2. I'm old enough to remember ice boxes and how the iceman cometh. He came in a truck and carried blocks of ice with tongs into our kitchen and they were then put in our ice box. I always wondered why my parents were sticklers about leaving the refrigerator door open for any length of time, and I think it goes back to the days when your fridge was cooled with blocks of ice. I also remember how excited it was to get a real electric refrigerator. Yes, I know, i'm hundreds of years old. Whadayagonnado?

  3. My parents bought a fridge in the 60th before that I don't remember I only remember that my father stocked apples and potatoes in the basement and they lasted over the whole winter. Today after a week at the latest they are rotten !

  4. This is an interesting tour and exhibit. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

  5. Elliston, Newfoundland is known as the root cellar capital of Canada. Food preserving In the old root cellar was essential at one time.

  6. @Linda: you're welcome.

    @Nancy: I thought it was.

    @Lowell: I've seen ice tongs here- but for moving blocks of ice for carving during Winterlude.

    @Gattina: I still don't know what it was about that particular room that kept cold, but whatever was stored in there stayed fresh.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @Janis: indeed!

    @Marie: I didn't know that!

  7., how times have changed!

  8. In the house where I was born, we had a wonderful big and cool cellar under the floor. Nowadays we vcan't live without an electric fridge and a freezer.

  9. I wish I had a cold cellar for apples and root vegetables. They don't seem to last long at all.

  10. When you stop and think bout it there are many different ways to process food. Each technology had it's own methods. Cabbage and sauerkraut? We ate it for most of the year.

  11. We had a fruit cellar in the basement when I was going up in Michigan. Don't get me started about preservatives and their impact on health.

  12. cool tee pee .. love to know if they are warm and cozy?

  13. There's a lot to learn here. Boy, things have changed -- I'm not sure for he better.

  14. I find this stuff fascinating. I always ask my grandma how they did the things that are now replaced by modern conveniences to us. I love the stories and memories.

  15. @Tom: they have!

    @Jan: that's true.

    @RedPat: they need it cool.

    @Red: and more tomorrow.

    @SRQ: mostly ours was for the potatoes and apples.

    @Marleen: it was indeed.

    @Beth: anytime I have been in one I have found it so.

    @Jeanie: unlikely.

    @Cloudia: me too.

    @Jenn: I like it too.

  16. I remember people having those root cellars when I was growing up (in Eastern Washington State). This is the greatest way to learn history ... I'm catching up so I will feel as if I've been there myself by the time I look at your back posts.

  17. Interesting to see how humans have learned to preserve their foods.

  18. This post as well as the previous one looked very interesting, William, but it was a bit difficult to make out the details in many of the images. Perhaps a bit larger size would help myself and others.

  19. Looks like a fascinating exhibition.

  20. It seems that these days in the U.S. we have a good many chemicals preserving our foods.

  21. Fascinating! A treasure trove of ideas!

    A ShutterBug Explores
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  22. That was very interesting William, many thanks.

    All the best Jan

  23. My client, age 94, told me all about what she did in the day. She cannot preserve any more, although she sits, cuts up the fruits, and her daughter does the work.

  24. @Sallie: thank you.

    @Michelle: it is!

    @Beatrice: I'd have to be mindful of the light in a future visit.

    @Lady Fi: it is, yes.

    @Kay: that is true.

    @Klara: definitely.

    @Carol: I certainly think so.

    @Jan: you're welcome.

    @Jennifer: my mother did some preserving, mostly by freezer.