A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Root Cellaring Guides for Fruits and Veggies

With a slow start to the cold season, I've been able to catch up on my root cellaring activities.  Actually, I'd be a bit worried if I did have it all stored--outside temp is too warm yet.  I've been watching the forecasts for near-freezing temps before storing carrots, apples, cabbage, potatoes and squash.  Looks like next week will be perfect for a trip to the farm to stock up.

Cabbage, Carrots, Apples and Potatoes should all be stored in a very cold, dark and, preferably, damp space.  Temp should be 33-40 degrees.  This could be achieved in a garage, unheated entry or basement room.  Store each as follows: 

Apples:  Apples should be stored separately as fruit gives off ethylene gas which will cause other produce to spoil sooner.  Pick late-ripening apples.  Wait to pick until apples are ripe to avoid shriveling.  Leave stem on to avoid breaking skin.  Store in shallow layers to avoid bruising.  Apples will keep for 4-6 months.

Cabbage:  Select unbruised heads.  Store as is on shelves, not touching.  Keeps 2-4 months.

Carrots:  Dig before freeze, shake off dirt, break off green top.  Pack in single layers, close together, with a layer of damp sand, sawdust or moss in between each layer.  Put damp newspaper over top layer of sand.  Keep newspaper moist by occasional spraying or soaking.  Keep 4-6 months.

Potatoes:  Dig after tops dry up and before frost.  Store in mesh bags or in small piles on shelf.  Air should be able to circulate freely around them.  Keep 4-6+ months.

Squash, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes should be stored in mild and dry conditions.  Temp should range 45-60 degrees and 60%-79% humidity.  Store each as follows:

Squash and Pumpkins:  Remove surface bacteria by wiping down with bleach solution of 4 drops of bleach per quart of water.  Store in single layers on shelf.  Keep 1-3 months.

Sweet Potatoes:  Store in sawdust or oats so they are not touching, or wrap individually in newspaper.  Keep 1-3 months.

Onions and Garlic  should be stored in cool (35-50) and dry (60-70% humidity) and dark condition.  This environment can be achieved by putting produce in a paper bag in a cold closet or a dry cold basement room or an insulated dry garage. Put onions or garlic on shelves not-touching, or store onions in nylon stockings with a knot between each onion and hang garlic by stalks.
Garlic - hang by stalk.  keep 4-6+ months
Onion - Store onions in nylon stockings with a knot between each onion.
              keeps 4-6+ months.


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