How to Keep Fall Crops Fresh

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Can you tell me the best way to store late-harvested crops?

Most crops can be canned, frozen, dried or pickled, but the best way to store many root crops and winter squash is to make use of cold storage areas in your home, such as in an unheated closet or bedroom, or in your basement or garage. You can even keep potatoes and carrots in an outdoor pit. If you don’t have a big garden, stock up on root crops at your local farmers market, and keep them edible well into winter with the tips in the following articles, which detail a number of simple cold-storage techniques.

Food Storage: 20 Crops That Keep and How to Store Them is complete with detailed charts that outline instructions for storing easy-to-keep crops, including apples, beans, cabbage, garlic, onions, potatoes and squash. Most storage crops should be cured before storage to heal small wounds and allow for the release of excess moisture that could otherwise cause them to rot. For five low-tech ways to store root crops outdoors, see Outdoor Root Cellars.

For a guide to grow, stow and cook crops that are productive, nutrient-dense, and easy to store or preserve, go to our Food Self-Sufficiency page.

To find more articles and tips on preserving food, peruse our Collection of Food Preservation Techniques.

Photo By Simon McBride: Cure fall crops and keep them cool to eat well, even out of season.


Vicki Mattern is a contributing editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, book editor and freelance magazine writer. She has edited or co-authored seven books on gardening, and lives and works from her home in northwestern Montana. You can find Vicki on Google+.