Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Storing Fruits and Vegetables at Home Doesn't Always Require Cellars or Refrigerators ; BALES & BITS

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Storing Fruits and Vegetables at Home Doesn't Always Require Cellars or Refrigerators ; BALES & BITS

Article excerpt

Remember Grandma's root cellar, which yielded crisp fruits and vegetables all winter long? Even though modern housing and central heating have pretty much done away with yesterday's deep, dark cellars, you can still store fruits and vegetables at home without refrigeration. Many fruits and vegetables picked in their prime can be stored in basements, cellars, outbuildings and pits so long as adequate ventilation to allow cold outdoor air inside is provided.

CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR STORAGE

Store only fresh, sound produce that is free from cuts, cracks, bruises, or other insect or mechanical injury. If any damaged, insect- infested, or diseased specimens are placed in storage, they could damage the entire supply.

Vegetables should have as little field heat as possible when they are placed in storage. Harvest early in early morning on a cool day or let crops cool outdoors overnight before placing them in storage.

Keep your storage facilities clean. Get rid of any vegetables that show signs of decay or damage.

Remove all containers from storage facilities at least once a year, and clean and air them in the sun. This is best done in early spring when old vegetables are being discarded, and in late fall when you are ready to store your new season's crop.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

Maintaining proper temperature will do much toward lengthening the time the produce can be stored. In a large storage area or storage rooms, place one thermometer in the coldest location of the room and the other outdoors.

Outdoor temperatures well below 32 degrees are needed to cool storage air to 32 degrees and to maintain that temperature. Once cooled to 32 degrees, the temperature will rise again if ventilators are closed, even though outdoor temperature is about 25 degrees. Close ventilators tightly whenever the outdoor temperature is higher than the storage temperature.

Also be careful that produce doesn't freeze during extremely cold weather. Correct humidity levels maintain produce freshness and prevent excessive shriveling. …

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