Sunday, June 9, 2019
There are no tech ways of keeping your veggies like our great grandparents did. It is great to eat what you have grown year round. Here is a listing of crops that store for 2 months or longer without refrigeration. For more on the actual varieties grown for storage, The First Victory Gardens and Colonial Vegetable Garden
Cool Storage Crops
The following crops can be kept over the winter without any refrigeration needed.
Beans-dry thoroughly and store in Mason jars. Let bean pods dry until crisp. Remove from pods and leave in open container to dry for another 2 weeks. Don't limit yourself to the mainstream varieties of storage beans. There are so many interesting, ancient varieties to try. Growing beans Once dried, they are easy to rehydrate and use. Even if you don't grow your own, buy heirlooms in bulk to use in winter chilis and soups. Use dry beans instead of canned
Corn-Pick after husks dry. Remove husks and store in dry location until kernels come off when ear is wrung. Store whole in bins or remove kernels and store in Mason jars. There are so many beautiful, healthy heirlooms out there to grow and use.
Garlic-After pulling, allow to dry in cool, warm location out of the sun. Braid and hang after 2 weeks in cool place with moderate humidity like a basement. Or cut back dry stalk after another two weeks and store in open container. For those that dry out, I will grind into garlic powder. I personally like to pickle my garlic in organic apple cider vinegar and homegrown hot peppers. Garlic harvest is here!
Onions and Shallots-Be sure you have grown storage type onions. There is a huge difference in how long an onion will last between varieties. In general, any sweet onion type does not store well. After pulling, cure in warm, dry location out of the sun for a week or two. Braid and hang in cool place with moderate humidity. Or cut back tops, allow to dry another couple of weeks and store in a ventilated storage container. Drying is another great option to have onions on hand for cooking year round. Everything to know about growing onions
|Shallots drying in the shade|
Hot peppers-Chose thin skinned varieties like Rocca Rossa that are easy to dry. I simply place ripe peppers on the counter until they are completely dry and then store in Mason jars or plastic bags. Other hot peppers that are thick skinned, I cut and put into organic apple cider vinegar to make hot sauce. Dried peppers can also be used to make spicy olive oil. Preserving peppers
Potatoes-Look for storage types to grow. There are many varieties out there and some overwinter much better than others. Harvest when tops begin dying back. Cure in cool, dark place with high humidity for 2-3 weeks. Store in boxes or cloth covered baskets in cool, dark place with moderate humidity like a basement. Potatoes have to be kept out of sunlight. If they turn green, do not eat! For more growing and harvesting tips see Time to plant potatoes, even if you only have a patio
Pumpkin and Winter Squash-Harvest after vine has died before hard frost. Cut leaving 2" of vine for each squash. Cure in warm, sunny location for a couple of weeks. Store in open boxes or on a shelf in cool place with moderate humidity. My butternut squash would keep on the counter into June. Look for long storage types. Harvesting and keeping winter squash You can also buy pumpkins at the store at great prices this time of year and keep them to use throughout the winter.
Sweet potatoes-Dig at least a month before your first frost. Cure in warm, humid location for a couple of weeks. Make sure all skin wounds have scabbed over before moving to winter storage area in a cool, humid area like a basement. Taste actually improves with storage time.
Tomatoes-Before a hard frost, pick all your tomatoes, including the green ones. Wrap each tomato in news paper and place in a dark area. The tomatoes will ripen over time. They won't be as wonderful as a vine ripened tomato, but much better than a store bought one. I have had some tomatoes that last into February this way. Preserving the tomato harvest
|Winter squash and pumpkins|
Cold Storage Crops
The following crops needs colder conditions for winter storage. Can be an unheated garage, buried garbage can or root cellar. Ideal storage temperatures are 32-40F.
Apples-Store individually wrapped fruits in perforated plastic or waxed boxes to maintain high humidity. The colder the conditions, the slower the apples will ripen. Check weekly. Fruit for small spaces
Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeraic, Parsnips, Rutabaga and Turnips-Harvest before a hard freeze. Trim tops to half inch and cut long roots back. Pack in damp sand in sealed container to keep moist conditions and store in cold basement, unheated garage, root cellar, or buried garbage can. The other option is to freeze. All about beautiful beets All you need to know about growing carrots All about turnips Cabbage is nutritious and easy to grow
Cabbage can also be made into sauerkraut in a crock with simply salt and water. How to preserve cabbage
Leeks-transplant into a shallow pot after trimming tops back by half and trimming roots. For growing, leeks are part of the onion family so follow the same growing tips.
Pears-pick when still somewhat green and hard. Cure in a cool area (40-50F) for about a week. Wrap only blemish free fruits in paper in perforated plastic bags or waxed boxes in high humidity.
Any blemished veggies can either be chopped and frozen or dried and stored in canning jars or plastic storage bags.Check your stored veggies regularly. Be sure to remove any that are starting to develop blemishes.
For other preservation methods like canning, freezing and drying, see these blogs Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty Freezing the extras for winter Dehydrate or sun dry your extra veggies