Who could resist the thought of larder cupboards stocked with food items like homemade jams, cheese, vegetables from their own garden, and cake tins that have just been baked?
The modest larder, formerly a staple of homes, was a useful storage option for items that needed to be kept for a longer amount of time. Larders and larder cupboards are no longer widely used in current building since refrigerators and freezers, which consume a lot of electricity, are the primary preservation tools. We discuss what larders and larder cupboards have to offer and why we ought to think about reviving them.
The meaning of a larder or larder cupboards
What precisely is a larder then? The word "lardier" itself comes from the Old French word "lardier," which means "pig fat" or "lard," indicating that it was originally primarily a place for storing meat, perhaps bacon. But because of the characteristics inherent in its design, it rapidly evolved to be utilised to store a variety of various other perishable items.
The larder or larder cupboards, which is the area designated for storing fresh foods and, in most circumstances, for salting meats like pig, cattle, and poultry, should be situated in an area with good ventilation and shade from the sun. Consequently, a northerly view is ideal, followed by an easterly one. It is not always possible to get a thorough draught directly, but if you can't, you can get a free draught by running a wide air drain under the floor to the other side of the house and fixing a grating there. However, in humid and muggy weather, the air in the basement story of a town house is quite stagnant, and as a result, even though it is tolerably cool, the air is not rapidly changed, and putrefaction proceeds without pause or obstruction. As a result, underground larders are rarely effective for the preservation of meat. This is because this perfect draught is only possible in windy weather, when it is relatively easy to accomplish its preservation. Simply a few deal shelves and a door with the panels replaced with perforated zinc plates in a design close enough to prevent flies from entering but open enough to admit the air freely are needed to outfit a tiny house with a larder. Where a window is present, it should be similarly protected with zinc sheets.
Therefore, these are the crucial characteristics of every correctly built larder or larder cupboards:
- Ventilation is accomplished through tiny windows or apertures that are sufficiently covered in fine mesh to keep out mice or insects
- Plenty of storage, ideally made of stone or marble and typically in the form of slabs or shelves.
- Larders or larder cupboards used natural materials, such as stone, earth, or cob, in their construction, and were frequently rendered with lime. • Coolth (think the opposite of warmth), with larders or larder cupboards ideally built to be north or west-facing (south or south-east in the southern hemisphere) and as low to the ground as possible. This will allow them to best benefit from the thermal mass of the earth to maintain a suitable low temperature in summer months. Up to the early 21st century, many storerooms and pantries were kept dry by adding another bowl of quicklime to absorb extra moisture in the air, however this had the drawback of being something of a fire danger. Of course, not many of us are fortunate enough to already have a walk-in pantry or the room necessary to add one during a refit. But all is not lost, as a free-standing cupboard area can be used to create a larder-like environment in its place. Since they are mostly made of wood, they may not be as efficient as refrigerators, but they do provide a practical substitute for storing a range of foods. You might even create your own!
- Advantages of a larder or larder cupboards
Larders or larder cupboards have a number of advantages, the most obvious of which is that they don't need power. Modern refrigerators, which are used continuously and can, depending on their size, age, and rating, account for a sizable amount of home energy usage, are in stark contrast. Considering that refrigeration appliances consume a staggering £2 billion in electricity annually in the UK due to their constant use, moving to a larder can have tangible financial advantages in addition to environmental ones. Another benefit is being able to easily see all of your supplies in one location. The beauty of a well-managed larder is that food is plainly visible, so less of what you buy should go to waste. This is preferable to rummaging through the back of a kitchen cabinet to find long-forgotten purchases.
So, are there any drawbacks? To get the most out of your larder or larder cupboards, you might need to change how you shop, store, and eat, according to this article on the Permaculture website. Although a decent level of cooling can be accomplished, an electric refrigerator's cold environment is undoubtedly more comfortable. Foods like cheese, according to Mark Lark, "store well if you take it out of its plastic packaging and wrap it in paper. The airflow that keeps food in a more natural form, as opposed to being in a closed plastic box, is a major factor in how well salad keeps.
A move like this seems like a modest cost in comparison to what larders can ultimately provide. If you actively think about how you keep food, you might even start to look into methods our predecessors used for millennia before us to preserve food, such as pickling, fermenting, salting, or smoking. Additionally, by bringing us closer to the food we eat, its creation, and its preservation than the gurgling of an overheated fridge ever could, it might enable us to better plan our meals.
So give up resisting now that the larder or larder cupboards, a need for our ancestors, is back. Its revival is owed to a healthy dose of nostalgia mixed with a desire to live sustainably, the growth of farmer's markets, home gardening, and entertaining at one's place.
The term "larder" derives from the Medieval French "lardier," which described the practise of potting whole pieces of meat in large barrels while they were covered in lard for the winter. Unlike small dwellings, which would have had a straightforward outside meat safe, noble mansions would have had a full complement of larderium for potting meat, salsarium for salting meat, along with fish, game, and dry larders.
Such intricate storage systems became obsolete over time as a result of improved access to stores and consistent food supplies. The pantry had evolved by the late 19th century into a cold storage space for the kinds of things we today keep in the refrigerator. But in the early 20th century, residential refrigerators and freezers put an end to the pantry, and after World War II, many of them were moved into kitchens or converted into utility rooms. It looked like the storeroom had seen better days.
In 60 years, the tide has begun to turn. Jon Rosby, MD of John Lewis of Hungerford, claims that his kitchen company has seen a tremendous increase in demand over the last two years from nostalgic homeowners choosing larder cupboards to help recreate a rustic, homely kitchen. Oxford-based building company Symm claims that about half of its major projects include a larder.
'We have definitely seen that the larder cupboard or larder cupboards is a must-have in new kitchen design - for roughly the last year we've been placing one in more or less every kitchen we do,' adds Marta van Emden of ecologically minded Cornish kitchen designers George Robinson.
Brigit Strawbridge, whose nonprofit organisation the Big Green Idea is committed to demonstrating to people how simple sustainable living can be, has warm memories of her grandmother's pantry. It's wonderful that larders are regaining popularity, she says. Nothing is more environmentally friendly than a larder, for a variety of reasons. Many items stay just as well in a larder as they do in a refrigerator, and since they enable you to prepare food in large quantities, you'll save time, energy, and trips to the store. And you can save more energy in the kitchen by reducing the size of your fridge or freezer than by getting rid of any other gadget.
Purchasing a larder cabinet or larder cupboards
The larder cupboard is a contemporary alternative to the built-in larder. It is a hybrid of a regular kitchen cabinet and a separate storage area that is made to fit into your kitchen alongside other units and may even incorporate utilities like a fridge, oven, or coffee maker.
The capacity to store a variety of foods in a combination of drawers or pull-out baskets, shelves, and racks is a feature shared by all styles. They frequently have a cool shelf made of slate or marble, are full-height, and may have a number of tiny air-flow holes in the doors.
Larder cupboards, which provide a "wardrobe of food" where you can view everything in one place, are part of a movement away from wall units, according to Roundhouse designer Helen Davies. It would be difficult to find a high-end kitchen manufacturer that doesn't include at least one larder (also known as a pantry) in its lineup, and many mid-range manufacturers also have similar designs.
You can have them manufactured to your exact requirements in addition to purchasing them off the shelf, whether you need a large walk-in or a straightforward half-height, pull-out version.
The majority of larder cupboards are constructed of natural or unpainted wood with panelled doors and wood or marble shelves, but there is a sleek, contemporary alternative made of glossy laminate with stainless steel, chrome, or glass fittings. A basic version should cost at least £1,000, but huge, custom larders with all the bells and whistles can cost literally tens of thousands of dollars.
It's not complicated, but adding a suitable, separate larder storage area is frequently only feasible as part of a new construction, expansion, or significant restoration project.
However, a cellar, under-stairs cabinet, or even a coal hole might be converted. Larders or larder cupboards need to stay cold, thus they should be placed on the north or east side of a house unless air conditioning is being installed. They also require a small window or two covered in fine mesh in order to be properly ventilated while obstructing the entry of insects or vermin.
Ample lighting is required, and easy-to-clean surfaces like white wall tiles and quarry floor tiles are recommended. Allow a few deep areas for large objects and some shallow shelf to accommodate smaller items like cans and packets. Shelves may be primarily made of wood, but at least one in cold marble, granite, or slate is preferable. Additionally, you'll need a wide doorway, spice boxes, wine racks, baskets, hooks, and even a power outlet.
We used to fill the fridge to the gills with produce because we believed in the fridge's mystical ability to preserve food, but there has been a backlash in recent years.
It turns out that many goods actually taste better and stay longer outside of the frigid confines of a refrigerator or freezer. Charlie Hicks, a legendary greengrocer, claims that refrigerators are aggressive and rip the moisture from food.
Cheese keeps best between 8 and 10°C and should be served at room temperature. For optimal flavour, wrap it in waxed paper and store it in the refrigerator. Many chefs believe that the egg trays in your refrigerator door are the worst location to keep eggs because the movement of the door reduces the quality of the whites.
Eggs are best used at room temperature, despite the Food Standards Agency's recommendation that you store them in the refrigerator to stop salmonella growth. Eggs absorb the flavours of foods stored nearby since eggshells are porous; to reduce this danger, keep them in their box.
Fruit from warm climates does not keep well in the refrigerator. Bananas become black, avocados turn dark brown but do not ripen, strawberries and tomatoes lose some of their flavour, and yellow melons can get black spots. In fact, as long as you store bananas separately, most fruit can be kept in a bowl in the kitchen just fine.
The refrigerator is not the best location to store vegetables like onions, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, and root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. One of the few items that really maintain their crispness better in the refrigerator is salad leaves. We hope you enjoyed this article regarding larders and larder cupboards.