Pumpkins on Drip Irrigation

How to Store and Harvest Vegetables

The advantage of learning how to store and harvest vegetables at home is that you can pick and savor them when they’re at their optimal flavor. But how can you tell when to harvest? And what are the best conditions to store your homegrown vegetables?

HARVESTING VEGETABLES

For fullest flavor and nutritional value, it is important to harvest your vegetables at the right time. Be careful not to break or bruise when picking and handle as little as possible. Harvest only high quality vegetables. The following fact sheet provides some basic information on storing and harvesting commonly grown vegetables.

STORING VEGETABLES

Practically every home has at least one spot where vegetables can be safely stored like an unheated basement, a garage, or the refrigerator. The area should be well ventilated, cool and dark. Ideal storage conditions for each specific vegetable are included in the chart below.

Vegetables that show any sign of decay or bruising should be used immediately and not placed in storage. Decay can very rapidly spread to your healthy vegetables, spoiling them also.

It should be pointed out that this is only one way to keep vegetables for an extended time, and not all vegetables should be kept in this way. Many vegetables can be specially treated to help retain a higher percentage of their natural flavor and food value. Blanching, freezing, canning, and drying are some of the techniques you can use to accomplish this. Refer to a reliable cookbook or the homemaking section of your newspaper, or obtain information from the Cooperative Extension Service for exact processing procedures.

Lake Kountry Inc. has all your garden seed needs for next year! We offer a wide variety of OLDS SEED including organically grown and heirloom varieties. Contact us to inquire about placing your seed order for next year. We welcome suggestions on what products we can carry to better suit your needs.

Specific harvest and storage information for some commonly-grown vegetables. Expected shelf-life times are only estimates. Chart courtesy of: Cindy Tong, Extension post-harvest horticulturist

 

Vegetable When to Harvest How to Store Expected Shelf-life Comments
asparagus third year after planting when spears are 6-9 inches long cold and moist 2 weeks keep upright
basil when leaves are still tender at room temperature 5 days keep stems in water; will discolor if kept in refrigerator for 10 days
beans, snap about 2-3 weeks after bloom when seeds still immature cold and moist 1 week develop pitting if stored below 40°
beets when 1.25-3 inches in diameter cold and moist 5 months store without tops
broccoli while flower buds still tight and green cold and moist 2 weeks
brussels sprouts when heads 1 inch in diameter cold and moist 1 month
cabbage when heads compact and firm cold and moist 5 months
carrots when tops 1 inch in diameter cold and moist 8 months store without tops
cauliflower while heads still white, before curds “ricey” cold and moist 3 weeks
corn, sweet when silks dry and brown, kernels should be milky when cut with a thumbnail cold and moist 5 days
cucumbers for slicing, when 6 inches long cool spot in kitchen 55°F in perforated plastic bags; storage in refrigerator for a few days okay 1 week develops pitting and water-soaked areas if chilled below 40°F; do not store with apples or tomatoes
eggplant before color dulls like cucumbers 1 week develops pitting, bronzing, pulp browning if stored for long period below 50°F
kohlrabi when 2-3 inches in diameter cold and moist 2 months store without tops
lettuce while leaves are tender cold and moist 1 week
muskmelons (cantaloupe) when fruits slip off vine easily, while netting even, fruit firm cold and moist 1 week develops pitting surface decay with slight freezing
onions when necks are tight, scales dry cold and dry 4 months cure at room temperature 2-4 weeks before storage, do not freeze
parsnips when roots reach desired size, possibly after light frost cold and moist 4 months do not wax or allow roots to freeze; sweetens after 2 weeks storage at 32°F
peas when pods still tender cold and moist 1 week
peppers when fruits reach desired size or color like cucumbers 2 weeks develops pitting below 45°F
potatoes when vine dies back cold and moist; keep away from light 6 months cure at 50-60°F or 14 days before storage, will sweeten below 38°F
pumpkins when shells harden, before frost cool and dry 2 months very sensitive to temperatures below 45°F
radishes when roots up to 1.25 inches in diameter cold and moist 1 month store without tops
rutabagas when roots reach desired size cold and moist 4 months do not wax
spinach while leaves still tender cold and moist 10 days
squash, summer when fruit 4-6 inches long like cucumbers 1 week do not store in refrigerator for more than 4 days
squash, winter when shells hard, before frost cool and dry 2-6 months, depending on variety curing unnecessary; do not cure Table Queen
tomatoes, red when color uniformly pink or red like cucumbers 5 days loses color, firmness and flavor if stored below 40°F; do not refrigerate!
turnips when roots reach desired size, possibly after light frost cold and moist 4 months can be waxed
watermelons when underside turns yellow or produces dull sound when slapped like cucumbers 2 weeks will decay if stored below 50°F for more than a few days

 

LAKE KOUNTRY INC. IS YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN HEADQUARTERS. WE OFFERS A COMPLETE NURSERY/GARDEN CENTER LOCATED JUST MINUTES FROM NEW RICHMOND, WI , OSCEOLA, WI , AMERY, WI AND SOMERSET, WI . WE ALSO CARRY A FULL SELECTION OF ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, SHRUBS, TREES, WATER PLANTS, TROPICALS PLUS EVERYTHING YOU’LL NEED FOR ALL YOUR GARDENING NEEDS IN NORTHWESTERN WISCONSIN!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *