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How to Store Garden Vegetables

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How to Store Garden Vegetables

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Overview

Growing your own vegetables in a home garden provides an abundance of fresh produce for the table. For vegetables like cabbage, spinach and greens, you can easily harvest just the right amounts for your dining needs and continue to harvest them over several weeks. For others, like summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes, fruits often ripen faster than you can use them, requiring you to store them for later use. To preserve quality and freshness, each type of vegetable requires its own care.

Step 1

Store lettuce, greens, spinach, green onions and kale in the crisper section of your refrigerator at temperatures between 32 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the crisper at least half full to increase humidity.

Step 2

Place asparagus, beets, cole crops, carrots, peas and corn in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to one week. It is important not to store these vegetables with those listed for the crisper, as they emit gasses that cause other vegetables to ripen quickly. These bagged vegetables may be stored in a crisper as long as the other vegetables are not stored with them.

Step 3

Keep cucumbers, melons, beans, peppers and squash at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or in the main compartment of your refrigerator. Freshness is maintained for up to a week.

Step 4

Place eggplant, tomatoes, okra and sweet potatoes in a cool room or garage with temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the area well-ventilated. Darkness or partial darkness is preferred.

Step 5

Store ripe tomatoes and melons that will be eaten in a few days on a counter at room temperature.

Step 6

Store potatoes in a root cellar or basement out of direct sunlight. Light causes potato skins to "sunburn" and turn green, after which they should not be eaten. Avoid chilling, as cold temperatures turn the starch in potatoes to sugar and create a sweet flavor undesirable in potatoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic food storage bags (perforated)

References

  • South Dakota State University: Storage of Garden Vegetables
  • University of Tennessee Extension: Fresh Vegetable Storage for the Homeowner
  • University of Minnesota: Harvesting and Storing Home Garden Vegetables
Keywords: store garden vegetables, store fresh vegetables, keep fresh vegetables

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.