It’s hard to predict exactly how long each of these items will keep. A lot depends on the specific item, the temperature in your apartment, and other things you don’t have control over. Most of these will keep for at least a few weeks, and we’ve had squash bought in the fall last well into late-winter. Check stored fruits and vegetables frequently for spots, softness, or other signs that they should be used soon, and use your best judgment.
• Squash - This is a biggie. Butternuts, acorns, pumpkins, and many other kinds of squashes will keep for weeks and weeks. You can even use them for table decorations until you’re in the mood to eat them!
• Potatoes - These keep best in a paper bag in a dark closet. They’ll keep for a few weeks, but check them now and again for sprouting.
• Onions - Hard yellow onions with a few layers of papery skin will also keep for several weeks. We keep ours in a bowl in the pantry, but they’ll keep a little longer if you have space in your fridge.
• Garlic - Like onions, garlic keeps well in a bowl on the pantry. We’ve actually found that the garlic we buy at farmer’s markets keeps weeks longer than the garlic from the supermarkets.
• Apples - Ask the farmer about which varieties will keep the best. Stored in the fridge, we can enjoy these apples into the New Year.
• Root Vegetables - Trimmed of top greens, carrots, parsnips, beets, and other tuberous root vegetables should be kept very cool in a cellar or the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Alton Brown also recommends storing beets buried in a container of sand.
• Cabbage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower - We’ve had good success storing cabbage for as long as two months. Other cruciferous vegetables seem to do better eaten with in a few weeks. These, we usually store in what little space remains in our fridge.
Looking at all these storage vegetables, having a root cellar starts to make a lot of sense! Living in apartments, we’ve been known to keep squashes on the floor of the bedroom closet and potatoes wedged behind the serving platters in the kitchen. We make do with what space we have.
What other vegetables do you like to stock up on this time of year?
(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)