Winter Vegetable storage


Still have CSA produce from the fall harvest or thinking about purchasing a bag of onions for the winter? Here are some recommendations for storage.

The key to long term storage is finding the correct temperature and humidity and finding a place with little light. No vegetables should freeze.

  • Do not store apples or other fruits near your root vegetables. The ethylene in the fruit will cause your carrots to turn bitter and other root crops to spoil.
  • Onions and garlic should be stored separately or they can flavor your other vegetables.
  • Only wash your vegetables when you are going to use them, not before.
  • Check your stored vegetables often to make sure they aren’t spoiling. Remove damaged or spoiled roots to protect your other roots.
  • Peel blemishes or soft spots and use the rest of the roots.
  • Beets: High humidity and cold. They store well in a perforated bag in your refrigerator.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Sometimes sprouts will be delivered attached to the stalk and they store best that way. Don’t wash them until you are going to use them. Store them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge.
  • Cabbage: Cabbage should be stored away from your other root crops as they may flavor them. They can get a rather strong odor after being stored for awhile. Even if the outside leaves turn bad you can peel them off and the rest of the cabbage will be fine. Cabbage does best under cool temperatures; your fridge works well or a cold spot in your basement or garage. You can wrap them loosely in a plastic bag to keep them moist.
  • Carrots and Parsnips: High humidity and cold. If you have room in your fridge you can store them in a plastic bag that is perforated. If you have access to a cool basement, garage, closet, crawl space, laundry room, etc. you can store carrots and parsnips in a 5 gallon bucket or milk crate lined with newspaper or burlap, or a cardboard box lined with newspaper. Use damp washed sand or clean wood shavings to insulate and separate your carrots. Layer sand and then carrots or parsnips.
  • Celeriac: Does well in the fridge or stored like carrots.
  • Onions: Cool & dry locations work best. Just above freezing is best. You can hang them in a mesh container or tie them up in panty hose and keep them in a cool, dry closet or cupboard.
  • Potatoes: Keep away from light or they will turn green. Store in a cool cupboard in your kitchen or closet. You can line an old clothes basket or vented cardboard box with newspaper and layer your potatoes in it making sure to cover the top. Around 40°F is best.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes need to stay above 55°F to avoid chilling damage. Sweet potatoes also bruise easily so handle with care. A dark cupboard in your kitchen or a closet is a good place for sweet potatoes.
  • Winter Squash: Keep them dry and around 55°F. You can keep them with your Sweet Potatoes. Check often to make sure they aren’t spoiling. If you find spots or dents eat them quickly.
  • Thank you to Jody Bolluyt from Roxbury Farm for pulling together these winter crop storage tips.

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