Suggestions for harvesting and storing in chilly climate – Winnipeg Free Press


Meals crops planted for autumn harvest have good storage capability. With nighttime temperatures dropping into the only digits, take note of the climate forecast. Some garden-grown crops can stand up to lighter frosts than others, however as soon as your seasonal meals is able to harvest, it is necessary to resolve whether or not you’ll be able to get pleasure from your harvest throughout the winter months. Learn how to take and retailer it. Planning forward helps make sure that the fruits of your labor within the backyard will not go to waste.

Getty Stewart is an expert residence economist who lives and gardens in Winnipeg. Stewart grows most of her personal meals and has lengthy been a champion of lowering meals waste. In 2010 she created Fruit Share, a volunteer group that harvested and shared fruits. This 12 months Stewart was named a meals champion for the Love Meals Hate Waste Canada marketing campaign, an initiative of the Nationwide Zero Waste Council. Just lately I spoke with Stewart about her suggestions and concepts for harvesting, having fun with, and storing 5 of her favourite fall crops: apples, beets, carrots, leeks, and squash.

Apples which are picked early within the season (August to early September) are generally known as summer time apples. “Typically, early-season apples are softer and will not retailer so long as apples picked from mid-September to October,” says Stewart. Some sorts of apples are finest for consuming contemporary and for making pies whereas others are glorious for storage. Goodland and Honeycrisp apples, for instance, have been bred to retailer nicely for a number of months.

Images by Getty Stewart

Many apple varieties that ripen from mid-September to October have been bred to retailer nicely.

Not all apples ripen collectively. The apples inside a tree ripen much less shortly than the apples on the outer branches. The distinction will be as a lot as two weeks. Ripe colour is one method to inform whether or not apples are ripe. “Probably the greatest methods to inform whether or not an apple is ripe is to chop it open and take a look at the apple pit or seeds,” says Stewart. “The seeds needs to be darkish brown. If they’re nonetheless white, the apple is just not ripe.”

Ease of separation is vital, says Stewart, who recommends the eye-to-sky approach. “Place your hand on the top of the apple in entrance of the stem and fold it up in order that the underside of the apple is going through the sky. If the stem separates simply from the tree, it’s ripe and able to harvest. There needs to be no yanking concerned. ,

Whether or not you are harvesting apples from a tree or shopping for contemporary apples from a farmers market, Stewart recommends not maintaining apples in your kitchen counter for greater than every week. “Storing apples in a perforated bag within the crisper drawer of your fridge will maintain them contemporary and crunchy for a very long time.”

Cool-season root crops resembling beets and carrots will maintain nicely within the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks. “After digging them out along with your backyard fork, take away many of the grime, however do not water them. Place them in a sealed, perforated bag and management for moisture by ensuring there isn’t any buildup of condensation. One of many methods to regulate moisture accumulation is so as to add a material or paper towel to the storage bag to soak up the moisture, says Stewart. “Should you discover that turning the other way up and your root crop is drying out, you’ll be able to all the time add just a little moisture by wetting the material.”

If you’re harvesting carrots in abundance and wish to retailer them till January or February, a chilly storage location resembling a root cellar could be preferrred. Root cellars are now not the norm however carrots maintain nicely in cool basement rooms. “Storing shredded carrots for a number of months could be a little tough, however if in case you have a cool place, take away the greens, do not wash the carrots, and bury them in a barrel or carton of fresh, moist sand or sawdust. Do it.” Stewart says. A layer of sand or sawdust helps forestall moisture loss and regulates temperature. There needs to be no hint of clay within the sand.

Take away the greens from the shredded carrot to maintain it from wilting or drying out.

Until you’re cooking or roasting the carrots instantly after harvesting, you will need to take away the greens as they may draw moisture from the carrots inflicting them to dry out extra shortly. “You could have to chop into the highest of the carrot itself to verify the greens do not regrow.” That is true for different root greens resembling parsnips, beets, rutabaga and radishes. “The greens on root greens will all the time attempt to develop and draw moisture from the foundation,” she says.

Beetroot will also be stored in a cool basement space however Stewart’s desire is to boil and freeze the beets or pickle it if that is plentiful. “I put a tail of the foundation and go away about half a centimeter of stem on the beets so they do not ‘bleed’ a lot when boiled,” she says. “Ideally, the beets are sufficiently small that I haven’t got to chop into the beets in order that the beets retain their colour whereas simmering.”

Leek is a cool season crop that’s not affected by gentle frost. “After harvesting, brush off the soil and reduce off the lengthy root ends, however do not reduce off the white stalks,” says Stewart. The darkish inexperienced leaves of this tall vegetable will be fairly lengthy. Stewart leaves the greens two to 3 inches above the white stalks and reduce off the rest. She does not wash leeks till she’s prepared to make use of them. “Leeks retailer nicely within the fridge however you will need to management the humidity. An excessive amount of moisture and the cheeks can rot.” Stewart’s favourite technique for storing leeks for lengthy intervals of time is to slice the stalks into quarter-inch items and dehydrate them on a tray at 135 levels for about six hours. Leeks rehydrate nicely and are fairly tasty if you add them to soups and stews.” You probably have a chilly storage room, leeks will also be saved in moist sand in a container for a number of weeks.

Timing is the whole lot when harvesting winter squash resembling butternut, acorn, and delicata squash, and even pumpkin. “Underripe squash is much less flavorful and does not retailer nicely,” says Stewart. Let it ripen so long as attainable however harvest earlier than onerous frost as a result of publicity to onerous frost may even shorten its storage time. “Wait to reap till the vines are wilted and dry and the rind is hard sufficient to simply pierce along with your fingernail. As soon as the squash separates from the vine, rake up any soil however Do not wash your squash. Permit the squash to take a seat within the solar for a number of days off the vine within the backyard to dry. This may assist harden the rind in order that it is saved longer.” Alternatively, slice your squash into approx. Maintain in a heat, ventilated space for seven to 10 days.

Winter squash shops nicely in a cool space whether it is correctly cured.

Getty Stewart, residence economist, prepares beets for boiling by discarding a small quantity of stem to forestall the colour from flowing into the water.

You may discover recipes and extra suggestions for lowering meals waste and preserving seasonal meals at

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Retailer reduce leeks in crispers in your fridge or dehydrate them to be used in recipes.

Permit winter squash to take a seat on the vine to dry within the solar for long-term storage.


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