How to store or dry fresh vegetables from your garden.

Drying and cold storage are simple and inexpensive ways to preserve and to store fresh fruit or vegetables for future use. Red and yellow onion varieties, shallots, garlic, and chilli peppers are usually dried. Where as squash, potatoes, and most root crops are best kept in cold storage.

Vegetable storage

General Storage Guidelines

Choose vegetable varieties and hybrids suitable for winter storage.

Store vegetables without washing – use a brush to remove excess dirt.

Cut leafy tops off your root vegetables.

Check regularly and remove any that are spoiling.

Choose your location carefully

Cool and dry: Onions, shallots and garlic

Cool and moist: root crops, potatoes, cabbage

Warm and dry: Squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, dried chilli peppers

Where to Store Vegetables

Storage spaces should resemble old-fashioned root cellars. You will need a cool, dry, dark space, such as a cool cupboard, cellar, closet or garage. Best cold storage temps are 45°-50°F (7°-10°C). The vegetables to store in these conditions are beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, swedes, turnips, and squash varieties.

Cold storage carrots

As a type of cold storage, some vegetables store well packed in crates with layers of damp sand or sawdust. Beetroot, carrots, parsnips, turnips can be preserved this way.

Place full boxes where they will be stored and alternate layers of vegetables and layers of damp sand.

Why store or dry your garden veggies?

Prolonging your harvest is a gardeners dream, millions of vegetable gardeners love a mild Autumn as it means we can continue successional sowings of our hardiest summer vegetables.

When we finally have to give in to to the colder Winter months wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that you have a healthily supply of freshly stored vegetables to choose from to gently prepare you for the coldest months.

Supermarket’s are packed full of fresh vegetables from all over the world and there lies the issue you can never be completely sure on their traceability, how or the way they were grown or more importantly how they were treated prior to packaging. Homegrown is definitely best, and as local communities quickly come to realise this and start growing in their own plot, back yard or even containers, imagine how much greener and environmentally friendly our surroundings will be!

So if your not all ready growing your own, herbs, vegetables or fruit there really is no excuse even a terrace or a balcony can house a small fruit tree, a window ledge can have a window box filled with aromatic herbs for you to use fresh or dry for later on the year. growing your own produce is very rewarding, helps reduce depression is a great topic to sure with neighbours and friends and best of all with a little time and patience can make you, your family healthier, wealthier and wiser.

Types of vegetables for storage

Beetroot

Choose large beets for storage: they’ll keep better than small ones. Leave an inch (2 cm) of stem. Store in damp sand at 40°-50°F (5°-10°C).

Carrots

Carrots can be left in the ground if temperatures aren’t below 20°F (-6°C) and they are covered with a foot-thick (30 cm) layer of mulch. Carrots also do well stored in damp sand at 32°F (0°C).

Chilli Peppers

These peppers can be strung together using heavy thread or fishing line, piercing each of the peppers near the stem end with the needle, which is then hung up to dry.

Onions

Leave onions in the ground until the stalks fall over and are almost completely dry. Dig up the onions and dry in the sun for one to three weeks. Braid the dried onion stalks and hang up the braided bundles. Another vegetable storage method for onions is to cut the stems off to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm), put the onions in a mesh bag, and hang them up.

Garlic

Dry and cure as for onions. Cut tops and roots both to 1/2″ (12 mm), put in net bags and hang. Garlic can either be stored at room temperature or in cold storage at 32°-40°F (0°-4.5°C). Beware of temperatures between 42°-52°F (5°-11°C) which will cause garlic to start growing.

Potatoes

Prepare potatoes at 60-75° (16°-24°C) for one or two weeks in a dry, dark place. Don’t expose potatoes to sunlight. Store in heavy paper bags or hessian sacks in a cool, dark, humid place, preferably at 40°F-50°F (5°-10°C). Above 50°F (10°C), potatoes can sprout. Below 36°, their starch turns to sugar. Potatoes will keep for up to six months in perfect conditions.

Squash and Pumpkins

You need to harden the outer shell by keeping at room temperature for two weeks, then store at 50°-60°F (29°-32°C) with a preferred humidity of 50-75%. Winter squash can be stored on slatted wooden shelves in a basement or garage. Move them occasionally so that they don’t rot in the area that is in contact with the wood.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes keep best at about 60°F (16°C). Harvest green tomatoes before a frost and put in a single layer in a paper bag at room temperature to ripen. Green tomatoes can also be ripened gradually in shallow trays or boxes covered with several sheets of newspaper, if kept in a moist cool place (not quite cold storage) about 35°-45°F (2°-7°C).

Autumn/Winter Radishes

Winter radishes can be stored in crates in damp sand.

Following my blog and sharing jot with your friends is the first step on a journey that could enhance your life, help you feel more centred and relive a lot of daily stress, interested in reading more about the health benefits of running your own garden, check out my other articles on this subject today.

Stephen raised on a farm in Mid Wales, trained in horticulture under apprenticeship with the National Trust and has worked in several prestigious locations around the world. Today as Head gardener for a large private estate on the outskirts of London, a keen plantsman, horticulturalist and nature lover. Managing large formal gardens, growing a huge range of fruit, vegetables and homemade produce for the estate residents. Stephen with assistance from a team of professional garden and farm staff, cares for livestock, including cattle, sheep, poultry and horses, completes property maintenance and grounds management.

Stephen believes knowledge is to be shared and thanks to some amazing mentors in his career path hopes to be able to share this knowledge with others like you and your friends all he asks in return is that you find the time to leave a brief comment and share socially with your friends.

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About Head Gardener 331 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

37 Comments

  1. Not that I’ll be storing any homegrown veggies but if I was, I’d use that as my checklist! Thanks for sharing!!! Keep up the good work.

  2. Wow, this is a great list! I have contemplated starting a small garden, mostly so my kids can see where things come from and also to show them how they can learn to be self sufficient. I am the opposite of what a gardener should be, but your tips could change that!

    • How wonderful you are involving the kids, I was just thinking I should write an article about getting kids into gardening at a young age, my nephew is 3 years old and he grew his first carrots this year! He was so impressed he carried his first carrot around for ages, showing it off to everyone! Thanks for your visit.. hope to see you soon.

  3. Thank you for this information about storing vegetables. So interesting about just brushing off soil before storing, but not washing. Why? Water will get absorbed and hasten spoilage? – Fred

    • The plant roots have a natural protection in the soil and on the surface of the vegetable that stop them decaying, leaving the soil in place will slow down the deterioration. Thanks for dropping by. Stephen

  4. It must be really fun to grow your own vegetables and harvest them. Sadly we don’t have the space in our home to do that. The life of the veggies must be prolonged with these proper procedures.

  5. My parents can surely make use of this information. Being raised in a farm at a young age, reading this post brings back good old memories of my childhood years.

  6. Over here in Singapore, we don’t get to do such storing habits as the houses are too small for such practice! We buy what we need from supermarket and replenish when not enough. I will like to try out this one day though… perhaps if I ever move overseas and stay for a while!

  7. Your post is very inspiring.. I think i will definitely give a try to growing my own veggies.. like you said it is a step towards a more happier , healthier and wealthier life! Much to look forward too 🙂

    • Cheers! I wish you all the very best in your new venture and hope you will feel able to share your successes with us and feel free to drop in again for future articles and advice. Thanks so much for your kind comments. Stephen

  8. I just picked some green tomatoes!. I’ll let you know how they come putt as thisis my first attempt! But now I know what to do with all my other garden goodies and the season changes! Excellent job my fellow garden enthusiast! I wish I had access to a full and beautiful English garden but fornite I’m making due in the concrete jungle of port Richmond Philadelphia!

  9. I just picked some green tomatoes!. I’ll let you know how they come putt as thisis my first attempt! But now I know what to do with all my other garden goodies and the season changes! Excellent job my fellow garden enthusiast! I wish I had access to a full and beautiful English garden but fornite I’m making due in the concrete jungle of port Richmond Philadelphia!

  10. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established
    blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very
    techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks

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