Storing fresh vegetables for eating all winter is one of my favorite ways to prep. I love sweet potatoes, and I dream of butternut squash. Onions and Garlic go in everything. Cool crunchy carrots are kid pleasers.
It does take some maintenance though. You can’t just buy or harvest it in the fall and toss it somewhere and forget it. If your food rotation or food storage is too complicated, you won’t check in on your food enough, and you’ll lose a lot to rot. So, keep things simple, and as close to your kitchen as possible. AND CHECK IN ON IT! Right now, go on, I’ll wait.
I store my squashes in a cabinet in the kitchen. The acorn squash are starting to go, and I lost one butternut last month mysteriously. It must have had a damaged spot I never saw. Remember, winter squashes like to be stored at a comfortable room temperature.
Every month I take all of them out, re sort them by need-to-eat-urgency and put them carefully back in. I do the same for my onions, potatoes and carrots. I usually try to make sorting day a soup day as well. Anything that urgently needs eating, and is still safe, but unsightly, goes into the pot. I try to make notations on our dinner planning pages indicating which vegetable group is priority for eating on.
Here’s a great compilation of the storage needs and storage times for a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
If you want to keep careful track of things, I’ve had decent luck with a handwritten chart indicating how many of each stored food we have. If you use graph paper and a highlighter, you can cross off each box as you eat it or throw it away to help you keep tabs on what’s still available. Not everybody needs that level of micromanagement though. If a weekly check in on everything is sufficient to keep you in control, then stick with that.
What works for you with your food storage over winter? Anyone working with a great cold cellar? Or is everyone struggling along like me using various corners of the house? Shout out in the comments!
– Calamity Jane
I use my email calendar to send me reminders to check on my stored food as well as my Bug Out Bag and Bug In Kit. Food, Medication, even water and batteries need to be checked regularly. While I do not store much food from my garden, I do have some that is canned. digging a “root cellar” is one of my next projects.
Thanks, this is a great tip.
That is a great cheat sheet for food storage. It is getting printed out. Thanks
I really, really want to build a root cellar.