Denise Schroeder column sig

After a successful garden season, you may have vegetables and fruits you would like to store until you are ready to use them.

Proper storage conditions are needed for fruits and vegetables that are not consumed immediately after harvest.

The key to good storage is in controlling the temperature and relative humidity of the storage area. If not stored properly, they will rot and you will lose your produce.


Carrots: Trim carrot tops to one inch. Layer unwashed carrots in a container of moist sand. Carrots can be stored in a cool place, 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five months.

Onions: Harvest onions when the tops have fallen over and begun to dry. Cure onions by spreading them in a single layer in an open box and in a well-ventilated place for one to two weeks. Store cured onions in a dry location at 35-40oF.

Potatoes: Cure fresh dug potatoes one to two weeks in a dark, dry location at 50-60oF. Store cured potatoes in a dark location at 40 degrees for five to six months.

Sweet Potatoes: Cure fresh dug sweet potatoes at 80-85 degrees for 10 days. Store cured sweet potatoes in a dry, dark location at 55-60 degrees for four to six months.

Turnips: Trim turnip tops to one inch. Layer unwashed turnips in a container of moist sand. Turnips can be stored in a cool place, 35-40 degrees for four to five months.

Winter Squash: Cure vine ripened winter squash for 10 days at 80-85 degrees and high humidity. Store mature, cured winter squash in a dry location at 55 degrees for two to six months. Acorn squash will keep well in a dry place at 45 degrees for 35-40 days. Don not cure acorn squash before storing them.


For fruits such as apples, grapes and pears, store them in cool temperatures at 32-40 degrees and moist conditions at 90-95 percent relative humidity. Other fruits should be canned or frozen after harvest. Select containers for storage that have smooth inner surfaces. Baskets, melon crates or boxes are suitable. Line these containers with aluminum foil to help retain moisture.

Apples and pears will likely last through the fall and winter if store properly. Apple varieties should be harvested firm and ripe to insure the longest storage possible. Harvest pears when they are full sized but still green and hard. Pears ripen quickly at 60-65 degrees.

Grapes will usually keep for one or two months. Grapes should be stored alone because they pick up odors of other fruits and vegetables.