No matter how a grower chooses to preserve their harvest, each vegetable needs to be stored under the different conditions it demands. The main factors to keep in mind are temperature and humidity. The following guidelines are combinations for long-term storage.
- Cold and Dry- 32-50F and 60% relative humidity, onions and garlic
- Warm and Dry- 50-60F and 60% relative humidity, pumpkin, gourd, winter squash
- Cold and Moist- 32-50F and 95% relative humidity, all other vegetables
- Warm and Moist- 50-60F and 95% relative humidity, tomato, sweet potato
Note that vegetables requiring cool and moist storage conditions keep for only a short period of time.
General Storing Tips
- You can moisten vegetables before eating. However, do not wash any vegetables until they are used. There are beneficial bacteria on the vegetables that can help prevent decay.
- Root vegetables are usually kept in a root cellar, but beets and carrots should be moistened to keep in the fridge in thin, loose plastic bags.
- Leafy greens just need their cut stems to be soaked in water, and refrigerated in light plastic bags.
- Remove root vegetable tops and store them as greens. If this is not done, the tops will suck out all the nutrients.
- To keep them from spoiling, place warm weather vegetables in the bottom of the refrigerator. At the top they will spoil quicker.