For economic and health reasons, a number of Americans are making the seemingly anachronistic choice to turn their basement into a root cellar.
Other rules of root cellaring sound more like molecular gastronomy. For example, the ethylene gas that apples give off will make carrots bitter. As a general principle, keeping produce in a cool chamber that is beneath the frost line — the depth, roughly four feet down, below which the soil doesn’t freeze — can slow both the normal process of ripening and the creeping spread of bacterial and fungal rot. These are the forces that will turn a lost tomato in the back of the cupboard into a little lagoon of noxious goo.
But if you leave that green tomato on a vine and drape it upside down, it will gradually turn red in three or four weeks. “I’ve had fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving,” said Jito Coleman