Basic Coldstoring Techniques

Your vegetables must be harvested at just the right moment so they'll take well to storing and won't decay before you're ready to use them. Damaged or imperfect vegetables will spoil quickly, so you must be very careful when handling them prior to storing. Never store bruised or damaged vegetables; they can cause spoilage of your whole crop. It's usually better to clean off but not wash vegetables before storing, because washing can lead to the development of soft rot.

With methods of food preservation, you can process the food and then forget about it until you're ready to use it. Not so with storage. Since the temperature outdoors is the major factor affecting the. storage of your vegetables, you have to be constantly alert to the changes in weather. If it turns suddenly colder, warmer, or wetter, you must make whatever adjustments are needed to maintain the proper conditions in your storage area. You must also make regular spoilage checks of the boxes, bags, or bins of vegetables stored indoors.

Handling

Harvest vegetables as late as possible. For many vegetables, this means plant later than usual in order to get a late harvest. You should wait until the first frost warnings to harvest. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and turnips, for example, can stay in the ground even after the first frost or two, if the ground is well mulched.

Pick only perfect vegetables for cold storage and handle them carefully to avoid bruising. One bad item can spread decay to others and ruin the whole box, barrel, or mound.

Harvest on a dry day, if possible, and let the vegetables dry on the ground, in the sun, for several hours before packing them away. Onions often need several days of drying; potatoes, however, shouldn't be exposed to hot sun or strong wind. Produce should be cool when packed.

Wash vegetables, if you must, but most experts agree that all you really need to do is brush off excess dirt. The vegetables should be dry before you pack them.

Curing

Potatoes, pumpkins, and most types of winter squash have to be cured before storing. Curing is holding the vegetables at a warm temperature — 70°F to 85°F — in a dark, humid place for about 10 days. Curing hardens the skins and rinds and helps heal surface cuts, reducing mold and rot damage.

Packing

Some vegetables — potatoes, onions, and squash — can go from the garden right into boxes, barrels, plastic bags, or other containers. Root vegetables — such as beets, carrots, turnips, and parsnips — are better packed in some material such as newspaper that will insulate them, slow down their breathing, and keep them from touching one another, so decay can't spread from root to root.

You can wrap the vegetables separately in newspaper, then pack them loosely in boxes, barrels, or plastic bags. If you use plastic bags, poke a few holes in the bags to allow some ventilation. Other packing materials include damp or dry sand, sawdust, peat, sphagnum moss, leaves, straw, or wood shavings. Line the container with a layer of packing wood material, then arrange a layer of vegetables, leave space around each vegetable for packing material. Fill in around each vegetable and then again on top with a layer of packing material. Repeat these steps until the container is full. Be careful to leave enough room for examining the produce at the bottom of the container when you're making routine spoilage checks.

Moist sand is sometimes suggested for packing certain vegetables. You'll know the sand is just the right consistency if it feels cold and falls apart in your hand when squeezed, leaving just a few particles sticking to your skin.

DIRECTIONS FOR COLD-STORING VEGETABLES

If you plan to store a variety of vegetables, you'll probably have to arrange several different kinds of storage. The following directions for storing vegetables tell you which methods are best suited to each vegetable. Choose the one that works best for your climate and your available space.

Artichokes

Cut the fleshy, tight buds before they open. Artichokes are best stored in the refrigerator, but they can be kept in cold storage. Store on shelves or loosely packed in open boxes at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air circulation. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar up to 1 month.

Beans, dried (broad, dry, or lima)

Dried beans won't freeze, and will store well when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Beets

Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 12 inch of the crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Beets will freeze at 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, root cellar, mound, or buried barrel for 5 to 6 months.

Broccoli

Harvest in late fall. Remove the root, but leave the leaves on as protection. Pack in boxes; separate and cover the stalks with moist sand. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air circulation. Broccoli will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar up to 3 weeks.

Brussels sprouts

Leave Brussels sprouts in the ground and mulch them heavily to protect the sprouts. Brussels sprouts plants can be stored in a frame, like celery, or in a mound, like cabbage, but often the size of the plants makes this impractical. Store Brussels sprouts plants at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar up to 1 month.

Cabbage

Choose late-maturing varieties. For storage in a root cellar, remove the roots, then cover the heads in moist dirt or sand in a bin. For outdoor mound storage, don't remove the stem or root. Place the cabbages head-down, pack straw between the heads, then cover with a final layer of dirt. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Cabbage will freeze at 30°F. Store in a mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 3 to 4 months. Do not store cabbages in a basement storage room; their strong odor can escape up into the house.

Cardoon

Harvest the plants with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so the plants stand upright, and construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't water the leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Cardoon will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

Carrots

Choose late-maturing varieties, and leave them in the ground until after the first couple of frosts. After harvesting, leave them on the ground for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or bury in a mound. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Carrots will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar 4 to 5 months.

Cauliflower

Harvest in late fall. Remove the root, but leave on the outer leaves as protection. Pack in boxes; separate and cover the heads with moist sand. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Cauliflower will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.

Celeriac

Dig up the roots when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3or4 hours. Cut off the tops, leaving 2 or 3 inches of the crown; don't remove the root fibers. Pack in wooden boxes, barrels, or plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Celeriac will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, buried barrel,mound,or root cellar for 2 to3 months.

Celery

Harvest the plants with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so the celery stands upright, and construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't water the leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Celery will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

Chick peasA dried

Dried chick peas won't freeze, and will store well when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Chicory

Harvest the plants with the roots intact, and don't trim the leaves. Tie all the leaves together, then stand the plants upright in moist sand or dirt and construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist), with just a little air circulation. Chicory will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

To store the roots only, dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crowns. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Chicory roots freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 10 to 12 months.

Chinese cabbage

Harvest the plant with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so the cabbage stands upright and construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep roots moist during storage but don't water the leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Chinese cabbage will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

Fennel

Harvest the plants with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so the plants stand upright, and construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't water the leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Fennel will freeze at just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

Horseradish

Choose late-maturing plants and leave them In the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or4 hours. Remove tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Horseradish freezes at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 10 to 12 months.

Greens (collards kale and turnip)

Harvest the plant with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so it stands upright. Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't water the leaves of the plant. Store at 32''F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air circulation. Greens freeze at just below 32°F. Store in a frame for 2 to 3 weeks.

jerusalem artichokes

Dig the roots when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crowns. Then pack into boxes or other well-ventilated containers, but without additional packing material. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with little air circulation. Jerusalem artichokes will freeze at just below 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to 5 months.

Kohlrabi

Choose late-maturing varieties and leave in the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig when the soil is dry, and leave on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F at 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air circulation. Kohlrabi freezes at 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 1 to 2 months.

Leeks

Harvest with roots intact. Don't remove the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so the leeks stand upright. Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't water the leaves of the plant. Store at 32°F to 34''F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air circulation. Leeks freeze at just below 32''F. Store in a basement storage room, outside frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.

Lentils, dried

Dried lentils won't freeze and will store well when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Store In a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Muskmelon

Harvest melons slightly immature; they will continue to ripen during storage. Store at 45°F to 50°F and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist), with some air circulation. Pile or stack melons loosely, with no packing material, on shelves in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.

Onions

Dig up mature onion bulbs and leave them on the ground to dry completely, usually about a week. Cut off the tops, leaving 1/2 inch of stem. Pack the bulbs loosely, without any packing material, in well-ventilated containers. If you like, braid the tops together and hang the onions from hooks in a cold storage area. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 60 to 75 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Onions freeze at just under 31°F. Store in a dry shed or attic for 6 to 7 months.

Parsnips

Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Parsnips freeze at 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 2 to 6 months.

Peanuts, dried

Dried peanuts won't freeze, and will store well for 10 to 12 months when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), in a dry shed or attic.

Peas, dried (shelling, black-eyed)

Dried peas won't freeze, and will store well when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Peppers

Harvest before the first frost. Choose only the firmest peppers for storing, since they're easily damaged. Pack into plastic bags punched with air holes; then place in boxes. Peppers must be monitored very carefully during storage to be sure they don't become too moist or too cold. Store at 45°F to 50°F and 85 to 95 percent humidity (moderately moist), with a little air circulation. Peppers will freeze at just below 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.

Potatoes

Choose late-maturing varieties. Early potatoes are difficult to keep in cold storage. Dig the potatoes when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Avoid sun and wind damage. Cure by storing them at regular basement temperatures — 60°F to 65°F—in moist air for 10 days. Then pack them into boxes or other well-ventilated containers, but without additional packing material. Store at 38°F to40°F, and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist), with a little air circulation. Potatoes will freeze at just below 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or root cellar for 4 to 6 months.

Pumpkins

Harvest just before the first frost, leaving an inch or so of stem. Cure at 80°F to 85°F for 10 days, or for 2 to 3 weeks at slightly lower temperatures. After curing, move them to a cooler spot for long-term storage. Store at 50°F to 55°F and 60 to 75 percent humidity (dry), with a little air circulation. Pumpkins will freeze at just above 30°F. Store on shelves in a basement storage room, dry shed, or attic for 3 to 6 months.

Rutabagas

Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, or plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Rutabagas will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 2 to 4 months.

Salsify

Harvest in late season. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Salsify freezes at about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 2 to 4 months.

SeedA live

Most gardeners buy seeds to plant, but you may want to harvest seeds to sprout when your vegetables mature. Cabbage and lettuce seeds, for instance, can both be sprouted, as detailed in "How to Sprout Vegetables." Leave the seeds on the plant until they're dry and fully mature; then harvest them. Store dried seeds in airtight plastic bags in a metal container, or in airtight glass jars; keep glass jars in a bag or wrap in newspaper to keep light from reaching the seeds. Store at 32°F to 40°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry). Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Shallots

Dig up mature bulbs and leave them on the ground to dry completely, usually about a week. Cut off the tops, leaving about 12 inch of stem. Pack the bulbs loosely, without any packing materials, in well-ventilated containers. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 60 to 75 percent humidity (dry), with some air Circulation. Shallots freeze at just under 31°F. Store in a dry shed or attic for 2 to 8 months.

SoybeansA dried

Dried soybeans won't freeze, and will store well when properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Squashy winter

Harvest just before the first frost, leaving on an inch or so of stem. Cure at 80°F to 85°F for 10 days, or for 2 to 3 weeks at slightly lower temperatures. After curing, store at 50°F to 60°F and 70 to 75 percent humidity (moderately dry), with some air circulation. Squash freezes at just above 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, root cellar, dry shed, or attic for 5 to 6 months.

Sweet potatoes

Choose late-maturing varieties. Put sweet potatoes directly into storage containers when you harvest them. Cure them under moist conditions at 80°F to 85°F for 10 days. At lower temperature, curing takes longer—2 to 3 weeks. Stack storage crates and cover them to hold in the humidity while curing. After curing, store at 55°F to 60°F and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist), with some air circulation. Sweet potatoes freeze at just below 30°F. Store in a basement storage room or dry shed for 4 to 6 months.

Tomatoes, green

Plant late so the vines will still be vigorous when you pick the tomatoes for storage. Harvest green tomatoes just before the first killing frost. When you harvest, remove the stems from the tomatoes, then wash and dry them before storing. Be careful not to break skins.

Separate the green tomatoes from those that are showing red. Pack green tomatoes 1 or 2 layers deep in boxes or trays; you can also ripen a few tomatoes for immediate use by keeping them in closed paper bags in the house and out of the direct sun. Store green tomatoes at 55°F to 60°F and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist), with good air circulation. At room temperature mature green tomatoes ripen in 2 weeks; at 55°F, ripening will be slowed down to nearly 1 month. Immature green tomatoes will take longer to ripen at either temperature; tomatoes showing some red will ripen faster, and can't be held in storage as long as totally green ones. Check your tomatoes once a week to monitor the ripening; remove the ripe ones and any that have begun to decay. Tomatoes will freeze at about 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or dry shed up to1 month.

Turnips

Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Since the strong odor of turnips can escape from the basement up into the house, it's wisest to store them separately and outdoors. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air circulation. Turnips will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a mound or buried barrel for 4 to 5 months.

Watermelon

Harvest melons when fully ripe; they will not continue to ripen during storage. Store at 45°F to 50°F and 80 to 85 percent humidity (moderately moist), with some air circulation. Pile or stack melons loosely, with no packing material, on shelves in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.

How to Ineeje VeqetalAeû

Freezing foods is one of the fastest and simplest methods of food preservation. It's easy to prepare food for the freezer and easy to prepare food for the table from the freezer. Best of all, foods preserved by freezing taste more like fresh than their canned or dried counterparts, and they retain more color and nutritive value.

Almost all vegetables take well to freezing. In fact, some vegetables shouldn't be preserved and stored by any other method. The list of better-frozen vegetables includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms, parsnips, edible-pod peas, pumpkins, rutabagas, and winter squash.

Although the techniques are simple and easy, freezing is a more expensive form of storage than canning. The freezer itself Is an investment, and it takes electricity to run. But if you manage your freezer wisely, it can still help you save on food costs.

Frozen vegetables can be stored a lot longer than many other foods, but shouldn't be kept stored for more than 12 months. By keeping your frozen foods in a constant state of turnover, the freezer space is being given maximum use. To get the most value from your freezer, use up the foods you've stored and replace them with others in season. The higher the rate of turnover, the lower the cost per pound of food.

Keep a list near the freezer to indicate what you've used, what's left, and what new foods you may be adding from time to time. By keeping track of what you have and how long it's been in the freezer, you'll be sure to use up all your frozen foods within the recommended storage period.

Getting started

Freezing is a simple method of food preservation and requires only a few steps. Having selected good-quaiity vegetables, then prepared and packaged them for freezing, you can sit back and let cold temperatures do the rest of the work.

Starting with the highest-quality vegetables and other foods is the single most Important factor In guaranteeing the quality of your frozen foods, but you must follow the directions for all freezing procedures exactly. Select the most perfect foods, and always exercise the strictest sanitary conditions and precautions when handling them. You can never be too careful about properly packaging and sealing foods for freezer storage.

If you follow freezing directions to the letter and keep food In a well-managed freezer, your frozen vegetables will be as delicious when you serve them as when you preserved them.

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Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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  • nicolas
    How to process pumpkin for long term storage?
    8 years ago

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