Among the many things we are interested in doing in the future is making cheese.
Which requires a place to age them. Like a cheese cave.
Well, we do sort of have a “cave” in the basement. The old root cellar.
In the research I’ve been doing (watch out for a future “Recommended” post for a home cheese making resource!), the aging cheeses need temperatures and humidity to stay within a certain range.
I don’t know that our root cellar has that range. For starters, I think it might actually be too cold, but that can be helped with appropriate insulation. I think our greater challenge will be the humidity.
Since this is not something we’ll be able to do for quite some time, that means we have time to gather data.
Which begins today.
I went to pick up a cheap thermometer at the dollar store and found a hydrometer right next to it, which was great, because I didn’t even think of such a device existing. At least not in household form. These are not mounted just inside the door of the root cellar. This is probably the warmest part of the room, but the best location for hanging them. Ah, well.
As you can see, the temperature gauge had already dropped quite a bit.* The humidity is about the same as it was upstairs, so I don’t know if that was the actual reading, or if it still needed time to adjust for the new location.
There were already huge nails hammered into the floor joists of the entry above (I’m finding nails like this all over the basements, garage, sheds, barn – anywhere there is wood, there are nails hammered in for hanging things), so I used one that was accessible, but still out of the way enough to not bash my head, for the clip board. I printed out some chart sheets to record date, time, temperature and humidity. The plan is to come down here once a week, at different times of the day, and record the gauge readings.
This would be why it’s so cold in here. This vent duct goes directly outside. The only thing at the end is a screen to keep the critters out. While I was down there, I felt an actual wind coming through this duct.
Over the next year, we will get the weekly readings and slowly empty the room out and give it a good cleaning. I figure, in a year we’ll be able to chart the data and use that to determine how much would need to be done to make it functional as a cheese cave, or if we have to go with something else. Like a modified refrigerator.
If the room turns out to not be appropriate as a cheese cave, I already know it works well as a root cellar. 🙂 So either way, it will be used in the future!
*edit: for some reason, my brain just assumed that, like every other thermometer I’ve seen, the 0C was at the top, so when I looked at it, I saw 2C instead of 12C!! Which is a bit of a relief, because while the temperature did continue to drop, it was not as severe as I originally thought.