Storing autumn vegetables requires knowledge of their specific preservation needs. From root vegetables such as carrots and beets to leafy greens and squashes, each type of produce has its unique set of storage conditions to stay fresh for longer periods.
Root Vegetables Storage
Root vegetables, including carrots, beets, and turnips, require specific conditions for preservation. Store them in a refrigerated drawer set between 0°C to 4°C. The vegetables must be kept in separate perforated plastic bags to prevent moisture build-up. Be sure to avoid storing them near fruits and vegetables that emit ethylene, like apples and avocados, as this can speed up their ripening process.
Each root vegetable has its specific storage requirement. Beets, for instance, should have a minimum of one centimeter of stem left. For maximum preservation, carrots and turnips can last up to 3 weeks, while beets can stay fresh for nearly 3 months.
Leafy Vegetables Storage
Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, watercress, celery, and chard need high humidity levels for longer preservation. They should be stored at low temperatures of 1°C to 3°C to maintain their freshness. However, expect for cabbage which requires around 90-95% humidity, other leafy vegetables need almost 100% humidity.
To preserve leafy greens, they should be washed and placed in a glass with a little water, then wrapped in a freezer bag.
Squashes, including pumpkin, large pumpkin, and winter squash, are typical autumn vegetables but can be tricky to preserve. They require temperatures of 10°C to 13°C and a humidity level of 70% to 75% maximum. To store squashes, dig a hole in the ground, line the sides with insulating bricks, and lay a good layer of straw at the bottom.
The stem of the squash should be cut as low as possible for better preservation. Squashes should be cleaned thoroughly to eliminate bacteria and microorganisms that can cause spoilage.
Preparation before Storage
Before storing these autumn vegetables, they need to be prepared properly. This involves cutting fans, washing the roots, and drying them thoroughly to prevent moisture from triggering premature spoilage.