Blog Site Discontinued June 23, 2017

Welcome. This blog site, healthy eating and food safety, has been discontinued as of June 23, 2017. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harvesting Produce for Storage Success

Harvesting Produce for Storage Success
With the temperatures steadily dropping and frost on the roofs in the morning, it is reminding us that winter will soon arrive. Here are some tips for storing produce in preparation for the chilly months ahead.

Harvest fruits and vegetables at, or near, peak maturity.  Choose produce that is free from disease or insect damage. Harvest and handle produce carefully so it is not to bruised or cut.  Remember to leave a 1” stem on most vegetables to reduce water loss and spoilage. Choose types of produce, and varieties, suited for storage.

Do not wash potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, or garlic before storage. Leave a fine layer of soil on potatoes and leave skin on garlic and onion.  For longer storage, dip tomatoes (red or green),
winter squash, and pumpkin in a very dilute bleach solution, dry and store1½ teaspoon bleach per gallon of water

If you plan to use in garden storage, root crops such as beets, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips and turnips can be left in the garden into late fall and early winter.  Mulch heavily with straw to keep the ground from freezing and allow extended harvesting.  Harvest prior to a hard freeze.  Leave 1” of stem. Store at 32°‐40°F in a sealed bag with a few holes to help retain moisture.
Curing vegetables can improve storage.  Potatoes, onions, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and
winter squash (except acorn) benefit from postharvest curing.  Curing heals injuries and thickens the skin, reducing moisture loss and guarding against decay.

Curing Temperature
Storage After Curing
60-70 degrees F
35-45 degrees F
60-80 degrees F
32 degrees F
Sweet Potatoes
80-85 degrees F
55-60degrees F
Winter Squash
 uring Temp Humidity* Storage after Curing
Four categories of temperature and humidity (RH) define optimum storage conditions.
Warm and dry: 50‐60°F, 70% RH.  A basement corner can be excellent for storing pumpkins and
winter squash.
Cold and dry: 32‐40°F, 65% RH.  An extra refrigerator for garlic and onions.
Cool and moist: 40‐50°F, 90% RH.  Sealed bags in a ‘warm’ refrigerator.
Cold and moist:32‐40°F, 95% RH.  Sealed bags in a cold refrigerator.

 Source: Barbara Ingham, UW-Extension Food Safety Specialist

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