Curing Vegetables for Dry Storage

Curing vegetables for dry storage is simple and everyone does it differently because the seasons vary. Don’t sweat it. Just do what you can and check ’em every couple days. You’ll do fine! Note on the weather: rain and outdoor curing of vegetables don’t mix! If you have a wood stove or fireplace, spread vegetables on floor next to heat, allowing them to cure inside. A second option for curing bulbs is to hang them in a barn or shed where rain cannot reach them.

Garlic

Harvest dates depend on whether you’ve planted a softneck or hardneck garlic. If harvesting softneck, tops may be bent over at base to speed up curing process. When tops are brown and dry, harvest! If perchance they don’t brown in time, go ahead and harvest anyway!

If harvesting hardneck (your garlic sends up a hard, round stalk that begins forming a seed head), pull the plant when 3-4 of the bottom leaf tips begin turning brown.

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When ready pull up plants with stems attached and using baling twine, bundle into clumps of 7-10, allowing room for airflow. Set out/hang where it’s no colder than 60F (15C). Make certain there’s good ventilation. Mild sunlight won’t hurt them if weather is no hotter than 70F (21F). Watch until outer paper-peels are dry and crinkly. When garlic seems completely dry, finish cleaning up if desired: remove stems at height of cloves and remove a layer or two of dirty paper. Move to a well ventilated place for winter storage.

Onions

Tops may bent at base to speed up the process. Leave for 2-3 days for finishing. Uproot and place in a warm environment (mild sunlight is ok-see garlic). When greens have dried, remove the stiff, hollow center from bulb. Move indoors and set in a warm place until bulbs are hard and dry. Store in a dry, well ventilated place.

Harvesting & Curing Onions

Shallots

-use garlic methods-

Winter Squash

Leave on vine until after the first frost. Pick, leaving stem attached to vegetable. Leave in cold for 3-14 days, but don’t allow to freeze! Bring into a warm environment 23C-27C (75F-80F) and leave until scratches or slices heal over (several days +). Store away in cool room, leaving space between each individual vegetable. Squash rots quicker when touching a neighboring squash!

Want to learn more? Keep reading: How to Store Fruit

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