Sep 7, 2022
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The Best Ways to Winterize Vegetables

The Best Ways to Winterize Vegetables

Did you manage to grow a good crop of vegetables in your summer cottage this summer? Great, but that’s only half the story. Now the main thing is to keep it in the winter as long as possible. Here’s how to achieve this, in fact, we’ll talk.

But before proceeding directly to storage methods, let me remind you: the duration of storage of vegetables and the preservation of their taste depends not only on proper preparation (and storage, and the crop itself), but also on growing conditions. Yes, yes, namely cultivation: on how correctly you chose the varieties, what methods of agricultural technology were used, whether the crop rotation was observed. Even, it would seem, such a trifle as weather conditions also matter.

Vegetables in a box

All vegetables intended for long-term storage should be harvested in a timely manner (and preferably in dry weather). They should not have any defects, they should not be damaged by pests and diseases.

It is necessary to store the crop in a carefully cleaned, dried and disinfected room, everyone knows.

Finally, do not forget that each vegetable has its own storage secrets. If they are not observed, the crop withers and dries, rots and becomes moldy, loses its appearance and taste, not to mention vitamins.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to winterize five of the most popular and common vegetable crops.

1. Potato

The most popular vegetable, which is almost always present in the daily diet of a person, is potatoes. It is he who occupies most of any cellar, basement or other storage, because it’s not easy for us to do without him. But to keep potatoes throughout the winter, you have to work hard.

In a warm room, the tubers quickly become lethargic and germinate. In the light, they turn green, which is an indicator that they form the most dangerous toxic substance – solanine. Excessive moisture leads to rotting of tubers. How can this be avoided?

Considering that 80-90% air humidity and a temperature of about +2 … + 3 ° С are optimal conditions for storing potatoes, and it must be stored in a dry, dark, cool room, a cellar or basement that does not freeze through is ideal in winter.

Before storing potatoes, dry them thoroughly by holding them for several days in an open, slightly darkened, well-ventilated area. I dry the potatoes under a canopy: I pour the tubers into a layer of about 20 cm on a pre-spread blanket and ventilate it like this for three days.

After drying, sort the potatoes, discarding all diseased and damaged tubers, and only then store them. I first clean the potatoes in the barn, and when the average daily temperature drops to +3 … + 5 ° C, I transfer them to the cellar.

It is best to store potatoes not in bulk, but in special containers or boxes, in the walls of which there are small holes for air access to the tubers. The height of such containers (boxes) should not exceed 80-100 cm, they should not be installed on the ground, but on a special platform about 15 cm high. It can be built from thick wooden bars. From all the walls of the cellar to the container, the distance should not be less than 20 cm, otherwise the air simply cannot flow to the potato tubers in sufficient quantities.

To prevent tubers from rotting, they can be sprinkled with a small layer of dry sawdust or crushed rowan leaves. The former perfectly absorb excess moisture, while the latter releases phytoncides – volatile substances that destroy pathogenic microbes.

2. Carrot

The keeping quality of carrot root crops to a large extent (however, like that of potatoes) depends on the conditions of its cultivation and varieties. For long-term storage, it is necessary to choose carrots of medium and late varieties, but before putting them away for storage, the root crops should be thoroughly cleaned of dirt, the tops should be removed from them, cut off flush with the head, and dried in the sun for a day or two.

The most favorable conditions for storing carrots are +1…+2°C and 85-90% humidity. And it is best to store carrots, just like potatoes, in special wooden boxes, sprinkled with the same sawdust, rowan leaves or sand. The container size should be small – ideally, no more than 15-18 kg of root crops should be placed in each such box.

There is another way to store carrots for a long time, which is deservedly considered the most effective, but at the same time, in my opinion, quite burdensome – in clay. Take a 10 liter bucket, half filled with clay, pour 4.5 liters of water into it, mix well and leave for 12 hours. Then add water to the top of the bucket and mix its contents well again, leaving it for a day. As a result of all manipulations, the clay in the bucket should acquire a creamy consistency.

As soon as the clay talker is ready, you need to take a small wooden box, cover it with plastic wrap and, putting carrots in several rows there, fill it with clay.

Clay preserves carrots, thanks to which root crops are easily preserved until the next harvest, without losing their taste and appearance.

3. Beets

The most favorable conditions for beet storage are: temperature around +2…+3°C at air humidity of 85-95%.

Before storing beets for storage, they must be thoroughly cleaned of soil residues. Do not peel the beets with a knife or by hitting one against the other. Sharp objects and blows can damage the skin of root crops, and even if such damage is not immediately noticeable, the beets will not be able to keep for a long time. Then you need to remove all the leaves – tops, leaving only small 2-centimeter petioles. After cleaning the root crops from the remnants of the soil, dry them for 2 days in the shade in the wind.

It is better to store beets in loosely closed wooden boxes, the capacity of which should not exceed 20 kilograms. If your cellar or basement is too humid, beets, like carrots and potatoes, must be sprinkled with sawdust, salt or viburnum leaves.

Beets are perfectly preserved if they are sprinkled with a mixture of sand and chalk or dry slaked lime. This will create an alkaline environment in the boxes, which will prevent the development of unwanted microflora. The only thing is that before using the beets in this case, you need to wash them more thoroughly than usual. To prepare the backfill, mix 200 g of crushed chalk (dry lime) with 10 kg of sand.

4. Cabbage

Due to the wide variety of varieties of white cabbage, it is possible to use it fresh almost all year round. True, not all varieties are suitable for long-term storage. For winter use, it is better to prefer cabbage of mid-season, medium-late or late-ripening varieties. In addition, it is extremely important to respect the timing of the harvest.

By the way, not so long ago, British agronomists found out that the cabbage harvested at a time when the air temperature is 0 … + 5 ° C is best preserved. This is explained by the fact that it is at such temperatures that the respiration process slows down in the heads of cabbage. Optimal storage conditions for cabbage: temperature from -1 to +1°C with relative humidity of 90–95%.

Before storing cabbages, they must be sorted, selecting only dense and dry ones. Heads of cabbage with mechanical damage and signs of disease are not suitable for storage in the cellar, they can damage the entire crop, even if they lie next to healthy heads of cabbage for only a few days.

They store cabbage on racks, laying it head to head, roots up, or simply hanging by the roots from the ceiling. You can store cabbage without upper green leaves and roots by wrapping the head with plain paper (just do not use newspapers for this purpose – printing ink, which contains harmful substances, will be printed on the leaves).

There is another old way of storing cabbage: all loose leaves are removed from the head of cabbage and well smeared with clay, diluted in advance to the consistency of sour cream. A rope is tied to the stalk and, having made a loop, the cabbage is hung for it, first under a canopy – for drying, and then in the cellar – for long-term storage. It is said that it is with this method of storage that the heads of cabbage remain fresh for a long time.

5. Onion and garlic

Both onions and garlic are perfectly stored in cellars and cellars with a temperature of +1…+5°C and a relative humidity of 75-80%.

After harvesting, the onion must be dried – in an open place for about a week – and cut off its leaves, leaving a very small neck, up to 5 cm long. True, if you are going to store onions and garlic woven into pigtails (a very good storage method), then do not cut the ponytails need.

I want to draw your attention: never store onions and garlic in bulk – they fog up and quickly deteriorate. It is better to store them in small slatted boxes that provide normal ventilation, but separately from one another.

Both onions and garlic are perfectly stored in small fabric bags suspended from the ceiling. It can be bags made of cotton, chintz, and you can also use ordinary nylon tights or stockings as a bag.

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