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Winter Storage 101

With a few Winter Distributions under our long-johns, it’s likely you’ve got some root vegetables piling up in your fridge or on your counter and you might be wondering just what  the best way to store your veggies for long lasting freshness might be. We’ve got some tips and resources for you.  

THE BASICS

The most simple and shortest answer is that your winter vegetables want to stay cool and dark.  It helps to keep roots unwashed, as the soil acts as a protective layer and can prolong the life of your vegetables.  Pick through them and use up the least healthy looking ones first.  One bad apple can truly ruin the whole barrel.  We find that when in the refrigerator, using a plastic bag or Tupperware container can go a long way in helping to keep vegetables crisp and fresh.

MORE SPECIFICS

ONIONS & GARLIC

Alliums like to store in dry conditions.  Your kitchen counter is fine for short term storage but anything you might not use within 2-3 weeks should be kept cooler, 32-50 degrees.  A mesh bag, open in your refrigerator, in a cool entryway or basement can all be great places for these vegetables.

ROOT VEGETABLES

High humidity and cold temperatures will keep your roots crisp for a long time.  Use a plastic bag in your refrigerator, preferably with a few holes or open a bit to allow for some air circulation.  For those of you with the space and interest, you could create your own root storage container with sand, sawdust or peatmoss in your basement.  One DIY solution here: How to Keep Garden Veggies All Winter

POTATOES

Potatoes you will eat in within 4-5 weeks will store well in the 40-60 degree range.  Keep them in a paper bag to keep out the light.  Light is what will turn potatoes green.  You have probably heard that eating a green potato is toxic.  More on that here: http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation/faq/green-potatoes

For potatoes you want to store for longer periods, cold temperatures become more important.  Use your refrigerator or a cold area in your garage, attic or basement for this.  

CABBAGE/LEEKS, etc

Humid and cold, your crisper drawer in the fridge is ideal.  If it looks like your vegetable has passed, try peeling away a few leaves.  You will most likely find beautiful ones below.  For cabbage, it’s important to not cut through the head, but instead peel what you want away from the head and keep the rest intact to allow for longevity.

APPLES

Eat or discard bruised or slightly rotten apples.  We like to store ours the fridge and take a few out each day to be eaten at room temperature.  A root cellar, or again, something similar is great for apples too.  They like cold but should not freeze.  If you use a cellar-type solution, wrapping each apple in newspaper (no colored ink) will prolong freshness.  Note too, that apples and potatoes should not be stored next to one another.  Potatoes release a gas that speeds the ripening of apples.  They can be near each other, just separated to prevent this.

So, there’s the skinny on storing your winter veggies. Did we miss a method you love to use?  Let us know how you choose to extend your harvest on our social sites!

MORE RESOURCES

Build an Outdoor Cold Cellar: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/cold-cellar-zmaz78sozraw.aspx

DIY Root Cellar: http://laughinglemonpie.com/5-ways-to-make-a-diy-root-cellar/

How to Store: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/food-storage-zm0z12aszcom.aspx