Long-Term Winter Vegetable Storage Tips
Almost all storage crops want to be just above freezing, but below forty degrees. Almost all crops need it very dry and dark. Use any crop that may be nicked or bruised first. Go through your storage area once a week to determine which items may be showing signs of deterioration and use them first. Possible storage locations include a basement, cellar, or an insulated garage. But keep a close eye on them when the outside temps dip below zero to make sure these spaces don't get below freezing.
Dry, dark, and cool (ideally 50 degrees). Will keep for 3 months or more.
We've found that butternut squash and grey kubocha squash are the best for long-term storage. While other varieties of squash can store for the long-term, we've found that these two are the most reliable. If you start to notice a soft spot on your squash and you're not ready to eat it yet, then keep in mind that winter squash can also be frozen. Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven. Remove pulp from rind and mash. Cool first, then package leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
ROOTS (carrots, radish, turnips, beets)
Humid, dark, cold (ideally just above freezing). Will keep for 3 months or more.
Root vegetables should be bagged (take as much air as possible out) or put in a plastic container and placed in the refrigerator. Another longer term storage technique would be freezing or canning. If your stored roots are slightly soft when you bring them out to use them, give them a few minute hydro-cooling bath (place them in a sink of cold water). This should help them retain their shape and crisp back up.
Dry, total darkness, cold (ideally 40 degrees). Will keep for 3 months or more.
Remember potatoes are a living breathing seed. They are just biding their time waiting to sprout. Don’t suffocate potatoes in a plastic bag, keep them in open bins, or paper bags. They are best stored at a temperature of 38 – 40 degrees, any colder and they may blacken when cooked. You can store them at warmer temperatures but the warmer the temperature, the quicker they will sprout. Total darkness is also a key to storing potatoes.
Dry, dark, cold (ideally 40-50 degrees). Will keep for 2 months or more.
The most important factors for proper onion storage are good air circulation, relative dryness and cool temperatures. Store onions in an open bin or paper bags. Your counter works for the short-term, but your basement or a cold pantry may be better for the long term.
Humid, cold (ideally just above freezing). Will keep for 2 months or more.
The outer leaves of cabbage may start to dehydrate or perhaps get a little slimy, depending on your storage conditions. Keep in mind that you can usually peel back a few outer leaves to find a perfectly beautiful inner cabbage. Store a cut cabbage in a plastic bag to keep it from dehydrating.