With winter rapidly approaching, it is time to think about stocking up the food cellar. What better way than with fruits and vegetables from the garden. Cathy Isom has some tips for you about storing fruits and vegetables properly for winter. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Some fruits and vegetables, when stowed away properly, can last for months as is, no canning necessary, no pickling, no fermenting.
Potatoes for example. They are easy to grow and store fresh for months. To store them properly, they should be harvested before temperatures get freezing. They should be cured out of the sun in a moist place for about two weeks. Then, stored in covered boxes or baskets in a relatively humid place, such as a basement or root cellar. The trick is to let them stay cold but never freeze. Fifty degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Onions store well in a box or burlap sack in a cool, humid place. Garlic bulbs, too, will store for months. They should be harvested when a little over half the leaves are still green and, like onions, cured in a hot but shaded place with plenty of ventilation. Trim the tops back about four inches each week. They can be stored in the same spot as potatoes and onions.
Squashes and pumpkins can be stored for several weeks too, IF they are harvested ripe and a bit of the stem remains. Store them in baskets, shallow containers or just on shelves in the basement.
Sweet potatoes should be harvested when it’s still warm, cured in a hot, humid place for a couple of weeks, then stored in the warmest part of the food cellar.
Some apples will store throughout the entire season if handled carefully.
Root vegetables will store well if harvested prior to a hard freeze, the green tops are trimmed down to about a half an inch, and the roots are packed into moist sand in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
I’m Cathy Isom…