One of the true joys of summer has to be finally getting to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of our labors from our gardens! Just today I came home from our mini-vacation and found a couple of my tomatoes ALMOST ready to pick! I was so excited I could hardly stand it! I can already taste that delicious B.L.T. sandwich I’m going to make with one of them right now! :-) (CLICK HERE to read my post on planting “topsy turvy tomatoes.”)
Because the produce that comes out of our gardens is so precious & delicious, we don’t want to waste a single bit of it. So today’s post is all about how to harvest and store your home garden vegetables so that they last the longest and stay the freshest!
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A few general tips that should be followed include:
- Vegetables at their peak maturity will store better than underdeveloped or over-ripe ones. Delay harvesting as long as possible.
- When harvesting vegetables, be careful not to break, nick, or bruise them. The less vegetables are handled, the longer they will last in storage.
- Harvest only vegetables of high quality. Rotting produce cannot be stored for very long, and could spread disease to other stored vegetables.
- If you choose to wash produce before storage, be sure to thoroughly dry fruits and vegetables. If you choose to store without washing, take care to shake, rub or brush off any garden dirt.
Different vegetables need different storage conditions. The printable below includes specific harvest and storage information for some commonly-grown vegetables. (Courtesy of Univ. of Minnesota Extension Service.)
Storing vegetables produced in your own garden can be easier, quicker and more economical than freezing, canning or dehydrating them and more importantly provide considerable savings in food dollars!