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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27 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen Rhein says:

    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!

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      Thats great would love to know how your getting on, perhaps share some pictures on our Facebook page http://facebook.com/welovegardens

      Like

  2. This is so useful since I’m stocking up on more healthy items in our fridge. Thanks for compiling the usual vegetables so this is more practical.

    Like

  3. Kylie says:

    All fresh from the garden!~

    Great information!

    Like

  4. Le-an Lacaba says:

    We have a mini garden at the front of our house and I can’t wait to share this to my green thumbed mom!

    Like

  5. Great information and perfect for the fall season! Thank you for the detailed descriptions!

    Like

  6. slickmaster says:

    At least these tips are way better than just stacking it up on a refrigerator and not setting the temperature.

    Like

  7. evaarce says:

    Thanks for sharing this very useful and practical info! Some I’m already doing and some, I’m doing it wrong.

    Like

  8. Vanessa Ally says:

    I have always wondered how to preserve vegetables freshly picked from the garden. Wonderful and easy to do tips for storage. I will definitely follow your advice.

    Like

  9. MollyMia says:

    all those are pictures of your home grown veggies? that’s awesome! any good methods to store leafy vegetables like lettuce, bok choy etc?

    Like

  10. Loudthinkin says:

    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 🙂

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      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

      Like

  11. I wish this was possible in Manila. I can’t imagine how much nicer it would be to be able to grow vegetables and fruits in one’s own backyard here! :O These are some great tips though! 😀

    Like

  12. Franc Ramon says:

    This storage tips can really help prolong the life of your vegetables. You can also replant your vegetables earlier.

    Like

  13. Tiffany Yong says:

    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!

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  14. Reading the story giving me the emphasis view of things. You have give a detail about preservation mainly for the most used vegetable which I liked that, all the vegetable i eat is here, thanks Growhort

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      You are most welcome! Glad to hear you enjoyed reading my article about storing and drying fresh garden produce. kind regards Stephen

      Like

  15. Enzo says:

    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.

    Like

  16. rochkirstin says:

    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.

    Like

  17. 3xhcch says:

    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

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      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

      Like

  18. This is awesome for my gardening knowledge in which I needed so much. Veggies and ornamental plants are very excellent for my garden. Great article indeed! Fernando Ceballos Lachica

    Like

  19. 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!

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      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.

      Like

  20. Robert Kiersnowski says:

    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.

    Like

    1. growhort says:

      Thanks Robert, your comments are always welcome and who knows perhaps one day you will need this information or perhaps share it with your vegetable gardening friends?

      Like

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