Hello, my friends. I hope you're enjoying your summer and the "fruits" (literally and figuratively) of your garden labors.
There's nothing like fresh produce, direct from your own plot of land, be it large or small. That just-picked flavor is an icon of spring and summer for those of us who love to grow all things green (and crunchy). But a good gardener knows veggies are meant to be enjoyed all year long.
If you had a bumper crop this season and you're wondering what to do with it all (after all, there's only so much pickling anyone could want, delicious as it is), here's how to store the remainder so you can have a delicious fall and winter.
The following will apply to all your vegetable and fruit storage:
1. Don't store bruised or cut vegetables. They will rot and this will potentially spread to the rest of the bin. Either eat bruised veggies right away or cut up to pickle or make into a sauce or salsa. Veggies that are unusuable should go into the compost bin.
2. Be GENTLE when placing your veggies for storage. Bruising can happen easily.
3. Pick your produce at maturity. Don't pick them too soon hoping for them to ripen in your root cellar, or too late, when they may be over-ripe and will quickly become mushy.
4. Make things easier on yourself: choose varieties that typically store well. Fruits and vegetables that will last for months when properly stored include potatoes, apples, pumpkin varieties and winter squash, cabbage, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, celariac and rutabagas. There are many other vegetables and fruits that will keep well, but these are great "starters" for someone just getting into storing.
5. It is actually better not to clean your vegetables. Shake them carefully and allow a little dirt to cling to them.
6. Pay attention to the humidity where you're storing your various veggies. (The chart below should help you with that.)
7. NEVER pull/twist stems out or off. Cut to the level recommended for the particular fruit or vegetable.
With all that in mind, here's a quick reference guide for how to store various crops:
These are just the basics. Have a question about harvesting, cutting/trimming, hardening off or storing a particular fruit or veggie? Ask us! Contact us here or visit our Facebook page.
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