Extend the selling season of storage crops with proper post harvest handling and holding conditions.
Some crops can maintain freshness and flavor for months after harvest, and some varieties are specifically bred and selected for long-term storage. Here are some recommendations for post-harvest handling and storage throughout the fall and winter months.
Beets of all varieties will keep for 3–5 months when stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops and wash roots prior to storing.
Brussels Sprouts. Diablo and Nautic have good cold tolerance, and can be left in the field to harvest after frost. Once cut, they should be stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Whole stalks can also be harvested and stored for up to 1½ months.
Cabbage. Storage No. 4 will keep until spring from a late fall harvest if held at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Store with a few of the outside wrapper leaves; clean before selling.
Carrots. Bolero is the best variety for harvesting in late fall and will hold for up to 6 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops and wash roots prior to storing.
Celeriac. Brilliant is an excellent choice for storing, and will hold nearly as long as a carrot under the same conditions. Store harvested celeriac with soil and roots intact. Clean before selling.
Kohlrabi. Kossak will keep for 2–3 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops prior to storing.
Leeks: Tadorna is very cold-tolerant, and can be stored in the field into winter. Once harvested, store at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove roots and trim tops prior to storing. Peel before selling.
Onion varieties classified as Hard Storage onions will keep up to 6 months when stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 65–70% humidity. After curing, rub onions in hands to remove excess skin and soil.
Potatoes will keep up to 5 months when stored at 40–50˚F/4–10°C and 90% humidity. Do not wash prior to storing.
Sweet Potatoes should be cured in a warm (85°F/29°C) place for 5–7 days before storing. They will keep for 4–7 months at 60°F/16°C and 85% humidity. Do not wash, but brush off large clumps of soil prior to storing.
Turnip: Purple Top White Globe will keep 4–5 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity.
Winter Squash types and varieities vary as to how long they take to cure and when they achieve their best flavor. Delicata are best eaten within the first couple of months, whereas Waltham Butternut and our favorite, Winter Sweet Kabocha will store up to 6 months. See our Winter Squash Curing & Storage Chart for more details. Ideal storage conditions are 50–55˚F/10–16°C at 50–70% humidity, with good air circulation. Cure in the field to dry, and toughen skins by exposing fruits to sun for 5–7 days prior to storing.
Remember, it is important to inspect produce before putting it into storage and cull anything showing signs of disease or decay. Continue to monitor and cull while in storage (disease and decay spread fast).