Author: Paynter's Fruit Market • Date: October 9, 2014 • Appears in:
Storing Summer's Bounty for Winter's Chill
Winter is coming. That, unfortunately, means the end of fresh local fruit picked just days before it hits your taste buds. As bleak as a future where store bought tomatoes make their way to your sandwich stack, it may not have to mark the end of local produce. That’s right folks, today we are going to learn how to keep and store a few items so that you can enjoy crisp, local apples, pears, squash, onions, beets, carrots, and potatoes. And no, you do not have to live on a homestead to make this happen.
Apples are an amazing snack all year round, but not all apples have what it takes to keep over the winter. Some of the best varieties for storing are: Galas, Ambrosia, and Fuji’s. Why? How do you know? That waxy layer on the Gala is a natural wax that acts as an awesome preservative. Ambrosia apples are sweet but not juicy, Fuji’s also have these characteristics making them perfect candidates. Most apples can last up to 4 months.
A few tips on storing apples:
1. NO BLEMISHES. I know, this sounds a little harsh, but it’s true. If an apple has a blemish, it’s predisposed to begin to rot there. So sort well my friends.
2. NO CONTACT. The best way to make sure that apples do not touch at home is to grab your newspaper and wrap each apple. It may sound time consuming, but you’ll thank yourself later when you bite into that apple mid-December. Just remember: it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch! Darned rotten apples…..
3. STORE IN A COOL, DRY PLACE. This seems easy, but it’s very important that they do not freeze while still having the ability to breathe. You can do this by placing them in a thick cardboard box, and if you have to store them outside wrap that lovely box in a blanket. When storing with other vegetables, be sure not to keep them next to potatoes. Potatoes and apples do not sit well together- grandmothers say they make one another rot faster. I think if grandmothers in general say it, perhaps we should listen.
There is only one magical pear that stores well over the winter, the beloved ANJOU. And guess where you can buy this pear in large quantities? Paynters Fruit Market. These pears can last up to 4 months, and storing them is a similar to apples:
1. NO BLEMISHES. Like we mentioned before, it’s these little discrepancies that make those spots rot quickly.
2. Unlike Apples, contact is okay for Anjou’s. I’m sure that if you’re determined you could wrap some Anjou’s and see if they last longer. If they do, let me know!
3. STORE IN A COOL, DRY PLACE. This means frost free, breathable containers. You can keep them safe with your kids old unicorn blanket in the garage if that works.
Most squash will store 2-4 months in a cool, dark place. Squash is delicious, and an amazingly easy thing to keep. The best varieties for storing are Hubbard, Acorn, Butternut, and Sugar Pumpkins. All of which you can buy at? You guessed it. Here are a few tricks to making sure your pumpkins don’t go rotten. If stored right, they can keep up to 4 months.
1. DO NOT STORE BLEMISHED SQUASH. There’s a theme here. Are you catching on? Blemished items do not store well.
2. DO NOT GET THEM WET. If just really really want to wash them, add some bleach to the water to kill any bacteria.
3. DO NOT STORE SQUASH THAT DOESN’T HAVE A STEM. The stem helps them keep better and longer. Make sure the stem is at least 2 inches long.
4. DO NOT STACK MORE THEN 3 HIGH. When storing squash it’s tempting to pile them all into a pile, but it’s better to let them breath.
ONIONS, BEETS, CARROTS, POTATOES AND GARLIC
1. ONIONS. When it comes to choosing a good storage onion keep this in mind: pungent is good. The sulphur in onions is what acts as a preservative; so shed a few tears, it’s a good thing. Also, the more layers on the outside the better. Keep the dry skins on! They will last up to 6 months.
2. BEETS. Do not wash them, trim off excess foliage and roots. Beets like it a little more moist then most of the other cold storage items but do just fine in shared accommodation with the dry, dark, cold items. They can last up to 5 months.
3. CARROTS. Long and straight, that’s what you’re looking for. Be sure to ask your grower or market if the variety is suited for winter storage, as not all carrots store well. Carrots are a little more tricky to store and can keep up to 2 months. If you get intense and use sand to store them, well, that’s a 4-5 month matter.
4. POTATOES. The best for storage is the Russet. It is very important that they do not see the light of day, or they will sprout. Be sure to keep them covered in breathable cardboard boxes in a cool, dry place.
5. GARLIC. Garlic is a common keeper, and easy to look after. Just keep in a cool, dry place and in the dark and they should not sprout. Garlic can keep up to 4 months.