This is a Guest Post written by: Becky Harris
Best Ways to Keep Vegetables Fresh Through the Winter
Vegetables don’t have to be a seasonal thing. Granted, you’re not going to be savoring fresh corn
on the cob on a cold winter day, but some veggies can remain fresh through the winter. Keeping
vegetables fresh through the winter can be a challenge, but it’s not an impossible task. Just ask
anybody with a root cellar.
In today’s “everything at your fingertips” world, the concept of
keeping veggies fresh when the temperatures drop can be a little hard to grasp, but it is an
Keep Veggies in the Ground
Many vegetables are remarkably durable and can survive the winter right in the ground. Carrots,
parsnips, celery, beets, spinach, and cabbages can stay right where they are when the mercury
falls – if you do a little prep work. Mulch serves as a type of natural blanket and should keep
your veggies warm enough to keep them alive and well until spring. Here’s what you need to do:
• Before the first hard frost, hoe soil over your exposed veggies. Leave the green leaves
uncovered to allow oxygen and other nutrients to pass through easily.
• Allow vegetables to grow naturally as long as possibly by covering them with a blanket or
straw when a hard frost is predicted.
• As colder weather sets in, cover your vegetables with mulch, leaves, or straw. The mulch
should be about a foot deep to offer sufficient protection. This can be altered, depending on the
nature of the climate where you live.
Just because you get a heavy snow doesn’t mean that your vegetables are in serious danger. If
you prepare a significant amount of mulch, straw, leaves, or other filler, your vegetables should
be just fine. Most root vegetables are surprisingly resilient.
A root cellar is usually a self-standing structure that is either fully or partially underground. The
concept has been around for hundreds of years. Hollowed out tree trunks have also been used for
this purpose. If building a root cellar is too much trouble, a cold basement will work just fine.
You want to store your vegetables in a place that remains under 70 degrees. For this reason, an
attic isn’t a good storage location, even though it does offer the space. Let’s keep it simple and go
with the basement method. Here’s what you’ll need:
• Use cardboard boxes that are the right size for the vegetables you have
• Any root vegetables
• Filler such as peat moss, wood chips, sand, or cut up newspaper
• Spray bottle to keep your veggies moist
If you have a basement that’s not that well insulated, consider using a space heater if
temperatures get below freezing. If you have a problem with critters in your basement, consider
placing your boxes on high shelves or in those plastic storage containers you normally use for
storing your holiday decorations. They are study and will offer extra protection for your veggies.
You want to place your filler in the box first. Just enough to fill up the bottom is fine. Then,
place the veggies in the box. Finally, add a little more filler and close the box. You may notice
that your vegetables are still slowly growing. This is perfectly normal. Just remember to leave
some extra room in the box for the roots to expand during the winter months. Don’t forget to
open the boxes at least once every week or so to make sure everything is moist. A few spritzes
with a spray bottle is really all you need.
During the colder months, you’ll want to go down to the basement and get some vegetables to
use. The crisper should be just fine for storing potatoes, carrots, onions, and other veggies you
plan to use in the near future. If you don’t plan to use your vegetables right away, it’s best to
leave them in the garden, root cellar, or basement until you are ready to use them in your favorite
recipe. A greenhouse is another way to keep your veggies fresh all year, but that involves some
serious commitment. For the average vegetable lover, the basement or a well-prepared garden
should be just fine for enjoying year-round veggies!
Becky Harris writes for upack moving container company that keep the world running