Storage Crops

winter soup 005We made a winter adaptation of The Odin Farmer’s Soup recipe. The winter variant has two basic changes from the summer dish. First, we substituted Delicata squash for the zucchini. And, we cooked it on the wood stove instead of on kitchen cook top. This great soup was made with three storage crops from the farm: garlic, potatoes and winter squash. Each of these vegetables store well into the winter months but each have different harvest times, curing techniques and storage environments. Using the right practice, we can enjoy our vegetables months after harvest.

The Delicata squash are harvested in August or September after the stems are completely dry but before the first hard-frost and keep for up to 4 months. At harvest, we allow the winter squash rinds to cure (harden) in a warm, sunny-dry spot for a few days before storage. Winter squash store best under warm (50 degrees F), dry conditions with good air circulation. A good location is in the kitchen but away from a direct heat source.

Potatoes can be also harvested starting in August after the foliage has died, but can be left in the ground until late October. After digging, we dry the unwashed potato skins in a warm, shady spot with a breeze for a day or two before storage. Potatoes store best in a cool (40 degrees F) but not freezing, dark and humid place with good ventilation. For storage of 4 months or longer,  place potatoes in the root cellar or an unheated basement.

Garlic bulbs are harvested in July when there are still at least three green leaves remaining on the stem and are cured (air dried) for several weeks after harvest. The cured bulbs keep for 6 months or longer in a cool, dry, well-ventilated storage environment. A good location is in an unheated kitchen pantry or at the top of the cellar stairwell.

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About wooleylot

Garlic Farmer
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