Here’s the scoop on storing homegrown fruits and vegetables

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vegetables

The hard work you’ve put into your garden since spring has paid off. Your seedlings have grown strong and tall and you now have ripe fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors. You’re all ready to harvest your backyard crop.

Maybe you’re going to can green beans, freeze your tomatoes or dehydrate beets and herbs. Or, maybe you’re going to eat everything fresh instead. If that’s the case, you need to know how to keep your produce fresh for as long as possible.

Storing homegrown vegetables

Each vegetable requires a specific type of storage:

  • Cool and dry (50-60 degrees F with 60% relative humidity)
    • Basements are typically cool and dry
    • Vegetables require ventilation
    • Protect vegetables from rodents
  • Cold and dry (32-40 degrees F with 65% relative humidity)
    • Home refrigerators work well for keeping fresh produce, but usually for just a few days.
    • At 40 degrees F, a refrigerator’s relative humidity is about 50-60%
    • If vegetables aren’t kept in perforated bags, humidity will form condensation, which causes mold and bacteria to grow
  • Cold and moist (32-40 degrees F with 95% relative humidity)
    • Root cellars are cold and moist
    • Vegetables need ventilation
    • Protect vegetables from rodents

Here are 20 common vegetables grown in the garden, their storage requirements and expected shelf lives:

Asparagus — cold and moist for 2 weeks

Beets — cold and moist for 5 months

Broccoli — cold and moist for 2 weeks broccoli

Cabbage — cold and moist for 5 months

Carrots — cold and moist for 8 months

Cucumbers — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 1 week, or in the refrigerator for a few days

Eggplant — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 1 week, or in the refrigerator for a few days

Lettuce — cold and moist for 1 week

Cantaloupe — cold and moist for 1 week

Onions — cold and dry for 4 months

Peas — cold and moist for 1 week

Peppers — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 2 weeks

Potatoes — cold and moist, away from light, for 6 months potatoes

Snap beans — cold and moist for 1 week

Spinach — cold and moist for 10 days

Summer squash — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 1 week, or in the refrigerator for a few days

Sweet corn — cold and moist for 5 days

Radishes — cold and moist for 1 monthphoto of tomatoes

Red tomatoes — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 5 days

Watermelon — store in perforated plastic bags in the kitchen at 55 degrees F for 2 weeks 

Sources: University of Minnesota Extension

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Katie Woods grew up in Columbiana, Ohio. Katie likes reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors and DIY projects.

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