Home & Garden

Press Releases

Keeping it Fresh from the Garden to the Table

Orchard racks and other storage solutions for fresh produce increase storage longevity while maximizing space. Credits: Gardener's Supply Company

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - You spent the summer weeding, watering and tending to your vegetable garden. Now all your effort has paid off with a bountiful harvest.  Maximize the flavor and nutritional value of your homegrown vegetables with proper harvesting and storage.

For the freshest flavor, always prepare and serve vegetables immediately after harvest. But let's face it, most of us are living busy lives and lucky to get the vegetables picked and eventually cooked.  Plus, all the extras will need to be shared, preserved or stored for future enjoyment. Here are a few things you can do to keep the flavor fresh.

Handle produce with care. Nicking, breaking and bruising the vegetables during harvest decreases storage life and quality. Harvest leafy crops such as lettuce, kale, and collards last as they quickly wilt after harvest.  And with the wilting goes the ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Sign Up for E-News

Ideally, vegetables you plan to prepare immediately should be cleaned outdoors. You’ll keep garden soil out of the kitchen sink and in the garden where it belongs.  Collect your veggies in an open weave wire or plastic harvest basket like the Mod Hod. Its fold out legs allow the produce to dry before bringing it indoors. Rinse off the soil with the hose, drain excess water and carry your veggies into the kitchen to prepare.

Clean your counters and cutting boards before you start slicing, cutting and dicing your vegetables. Trim stems, remove damaged leaves and compost these in the garden or worm bin. They will have a second life as compost in next year’s garden.

Wait to wash, trim, and clean the vegetables you plan to store or prepare later. The scraping, cutting and slicing process increases the loss of vitamins and flavor and reduces storage quality.

Increase storage longevity by matching vegetables with their preferred storage conditions. The closer you come to this, the longer your produce will last.

Store roots crops like beets, turnips and radishes as well as cabbage and Brussels sprouts in a cold, moist condition. A spare refrigerator works great for these.  Those in colder climates can store their carrots and parsnips right in the garden. Once the soil gets a bit crunchy, cover them with straw or evergreen boughs for easier digging in winter. Then dig as needed or harvest during the first winter thaw.

Keep potatoes in a cool, humid and dark location like a cool corner in the basement. Sunlight causes the exposed portions to produce green chlorophyll and solanine, a glycoalkaloid toxin. The solanine gives the potatoes a bitter flavor and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if enough green potatoes are eaten. Just cut away any green portions before using.

Store winter squash in a cool location as well. They can tolerate a bit lower humidity and last for four months or more when properly harvested and stored.

Use slatted crates or other vegetable storage solutions (gardeners.com) to maximize storage space and increase storage longevity. These systems provide ample storage space, so fruits and vegetables do not touch.  Keeping stored fruit separated prevents rot from spreading from one fruit to the next. Plus, the slatted sides allow airflow to extend storage longevity.

A few simple changes in handling your harvest will improve its storage life, flavor, and nutritional quality.  Better quality means less waste and more abundance for cooking and sharing.

Follow these harvesting tips to enjoy garden-fresh meals throughout the remainder of the growing season. Then continue creating tasty meals reminiscent of the garden season with properly stored produce long after your harvest is past.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montclair

Decapitated Chickens Found Near Entrance of Nutley Museum

December 9, 2017

NUTLEY, NJ - Two decapitated chickens were found in a bag on the lawn of the Nutley Museum Thursday afternoon. The discovery was made by Mike Slomkowski, Hospitality Coordinator for the Nutley Historical Society.

Slomkowski arrived at the museum at approximately 12:30 p.m. to prepare the museum for an event Thursday evening. At first thought he didn't think much of the bag ...

Rutgers Professor Faces Disciplinary Actions Over Dozens of Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts

December 10, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Rutgers microbiology professor is facing a myriad of disciplinary actions, including possible suspension without pay, following allegations that he shared dozens of anti-Semitic posts on his Facebook page.

Michael Chikindas, a microbiology professor at the food science department, can no longer teach required courses or serve at the Center for Digestive Health in the ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, December 10

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sun, December 10, 11:00 AM

Kingsland Manor, Nutley

Story Time with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the ...

Other

Sun, December 10, 12:00 PM

Montclair Art Museum, Montclair

Philemona Williamson: Metaphorical Narratives ...

Arts & Entertainment

Montclair Blotter: Strongarm Robbery of Teens, Resident Finds Stranger in Home and More

December 6, 2017

MONTCLAIR, NJ- The following blotter was released by the Montclair Police Department on 12-05- 2017:

Arrest:
11-28- 2017 (Bloomfield Avenue) Officers responded to a report of a Taxi fare dispute. Upon arriving,
Ms. Ebony Banks, 38yoa from West Orange, refused to comply with officers and exit the taxi cab. Ms.
Banks was arrested and charged with Theft of Services and Resisting ...

'An Act of God' takes a leap of faith at George Street

‘An Act of God’ takes leap of faith at George Street Playhouse

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – If anyone can portray God, it must be Kathleen Turner. Local theatre goers are fortunate indeed, to have the throaty, stage smart Turner in our midst.

Turner, of course, is not only an acclaimed actress, but a female God with plenty to say about the ups and downs of religion ...

Here's How To Help California Horsemen Impacted By Fires

December 10, 2017

DEL MAR, Calif. — The number of equine fatalities continues to grow from original estimates of 25, and the needs of human survivors for the simple everyday things of life grow even larger as a result of the fires that devastated San Diego County, California's horse industry.

Three major funds have been established to assist the surviving horses, their owners and the backstretch ...