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storing produce

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I know there are some books on storing produce, but being a cheapskate, I wondered whether someone could give me a basic overview of what should be done when harvesting crops - e.g. which crops can be left in the ground, which should be frozen and which store well without freezing. Am particularly interested in whether there are any crops that have a very short harvesting window and when ready need to be picked before they 'go over'. Appreciate this is a big topic and I really should buy a book- but any replies welcome

Mrs Ava:
I know some folks have bought books about this, but I shall tell you the way I will be going.  Carrots and I figure beetroots and parsnips can be stored in a clamp - which I will be investigating further, but from what I understand, the roots (only undamaged ones) are layered up covered with slightly damp compost or sand.  Course, you can pickle beetroots, but I hate them so won't be going down this route.  Beans and peas can be blanched and frozen.  Toms can be cooked and the sauce jarred or frozen, I freeze toms whole also to be used in cooking.  Onions and garlics can be left the dry and platted or just hung in bunches, spuds sacked up in paper sacks and stored in the dark.  As for caulis and brocolli- no idea!  I guess if I have masses then I will blanch and freeze some, and make soup and cauli cheese and freeze it.  Cabbages and sprouts seem to be okay left in situ and used as you need, same with leeks.  With all veggies of course you can make yummy recipes and then they can be frozen.  Jams with fruits, and pickles with alsorts.  Mum has a very old fashioned pickling book which might come in useful later in the year.  Chilis can be dried, ooo so can toms, you can oven dry them and then keep them in olive oil and use like sundried.  What other things will you be growing and hoping to store?  Hope this helps Ross.   ;D

Parsnips can be left in the ground (they actually taste better if they are), as also can most varieties of maincrop carrots - but give them a good watering with cheap coffee at drinking strength in mid October to keep slugs off them.

Peas and beans can be blanched before freezing, but they freeze and keep just as well, and retain their texture and taste better, if you simply freeze straight from the plant.

Potatoes are best in hessian sacks which allow them to breathe - I use the ones we buy the birds` peanuts in, and after several years of painstakingly stringing onions I found out that they keep just as well in mesh sacks or bags such as those which wholesalers supply them in - if you`re friendly with your local greengrocer you can probably beg one from him.

But strings of onions in the kitchen are a MUST? That's where ours live.

And peas and beans - suggest you open freeze them like raspberries etc?

Oh, and do stock or soup in cubes to be quick to thaw and be more easily apportioned.

Hessian, Hugh - yes - but paper ones do us very well = Tim

Strings of onions in the kitchen, Tim?. I tried it, but our kitchen must be too warm - they all started to sprout by February, quite apart from the odd one that always seemed to come adrift and drop on someone`s head.


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