Storage of Winter Vegetables

Storing Vegetables in my Root Cellar

I love the fact that vegetables can keep the entire winter in a root cellar. That is, if they are taken care of properly. Now, just to let you know, I didn’t grow all of these vegetables. We have grown all of them at one time or another on our farm. Our problem the last two years has been our stinking ground hogs.

They love to eat the garden.  They especially love things with blossoms, like pumpkins.

Sparky and  the garden eater, a ground hog

Pumpkins, guards, spaghetti, and butternut squash are the winners in keeping a winter storage.  Our cellar stays nearly 50 degrees- from fall until early spring. The pumpkins and butternut squash have potential to be as perfect as when picked, if the temperature stays 50 and under. The secret is, don’t let them touch each other! They need air circulation.

Carrots store well in sawdust (non-chemical of course). Dale has enough sawdust from all of his wood working to keep me stocked.  I pulled the carrots out of the sawdust so you can see them.

Sweet potatoes do fairly well in our cellar. If picked in September, they’ll store well until February. Most all the vegetables must not be washed before they are stored. They are cured after being pulled from the garden for a few days. Cured is another word for drying them out. You don’t want any moisture on them when stored or they’ll rot.

I go through onions pretty fast. I wouldn’t know from experience how long they last. Most people braid and hang them.

I also dry beans from green beans. Ours seem to grow even when I don’t water them. They grow supernaturally, you pick them, and within just a few days the plants are loaded again!  So, to get white beans- let your last crop mature on the vine.  Don’t pick.  After they’re mature pull the plant up and hang upside down on the fence.  Let dry for a couple of weeks (they can’t be in rain so you may want to bring into barn to hang).  After completely dry, bang the plant inside a can or barrel and the beans will easily fall out of the shell. Or you can open them by hand.  They must be dry and have no moisture before you store them.  Store in a cool, dry area.  Unopened they store for 30+ years.  Opened, they last a couple of years. Oh, yes and ground hogs and rabbits don’t eat our beans.  🙂

Kale (photo below) planted in the fall will grow until January, here in Virginia.  This year, mine is still growing and it’s February- even though our night time temperatures have been in the teens. Kale is a great winter vegetable. Even if it hibernates January through February, it awakens the first of March with tons of nutrients for your family to eat.

My thyme and rosemary are still going strong on my porch. The porch is not heated, but it is enclosed. The temperatures go below 32– but the plants are still doing well. I water them once a week and they have sun exposure.

I made Smoked Saffron Chicken and White Beans/Portugal Style  gluten-free with some of the beans and herbs. It was delicious!

Storage of winter vegetables do well in the corner of a garage on shelves. Just put covering over them for insulation. Or, if you want to be adventurous  dig yourself a hole in the ground, put the vegetables inside and cover with hay or other insulated materials.

Help yourself to fresh vegetables all winter long!

In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. Proverbs 21:20

Pumpkin, butternut squash, kale(fresh out of garden), herbs(from porch) eggs(from our coop), pumpkin seeds , curds and northern beans (white beans)– They’re all on the menu for this week!

 

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