SOURCE: Gardener's Supply

Gardener's Supply

September 27, 2011 13:51 ET

Five Easy Ways to Store the Harvest: No Root Cellar Required

New Products From Gardener's Supply Make 'Keeping the Keepers' Simple, Stylish

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - Sep 27, 2011) - It's an exciting time of year: The rewards of a summer garden, including onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, winter squash and more, are coming fast and furious. New products and five easy ways to store the harvest from the experts at Gardener's Supply make creating the ideal environment for "keeper" crops easy and beautiful.

"Canning and preserving are two favorite ways to keep favorite fruits and vegetables tasting in-season fresh throughout the winter," says Maree Gaetani, director of gardening relations for Gardener's Supply. "But for those of us who don't have time or interest in canning and preserving, there are a number of crops that can be stored 'as is' in cool, dry and dark conditions -- no root cellar required."

Gardeners can consider these practical harvest tips and products when putting their favorites by for the winter:

1. Harvest before frost or cold temperatures damages plant tissues -- and be picky about what you pick! Since decay will accelerate and spread once a crop is in storage, keep only perfect specimens. Provide good air circulation and a dry, dark environment: The ideal temperature depends on what you're keeping.

A Root Storage Bin creates a portable, affordable root cellar in any dark place. The heavy, wire frame bin with convenient carrying handles is lined with natural, breathable jute to protect precious carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips and squash. Layer carrots or beets with damp sand or sawdust, or toss other vegetables right into the bin, and they'll keep all winter.

Rustic pine Orchard Racks keep apples, winter squash, onions, potatoes, and even herbs in slatted, slide-out drawers for optimal air circulation and easy access. Each 23 ½" square rack tucks out of the way in a cool, dark cellar or shed.

Create your own, easily accessible "keeper" environment with Potato and Onion Storage Baskets which store and display potatoes and onions with European flair. Each natural willow basket is hand-woven with grass handles and features a side pocket for dispensing stored vegetables. The large basket holds approximately 30 lbs. of potatoes, and the small basket holds about six lbs. of onions. Team them with a rustic, long-handled Orchard Basket.

Ingenious Vegetable Keep Sacks hang anywhere to conveniently store and dispense vegetable crops like garlic, onions and potatoes. They're made from a cotton and linen fabric that allows air to circulate but blocks out light to prevent sprouting.

2. Freeze your favorites. Freezing is a fast and easy way to save vegetables, fruit and herbs for later use. Buy the best quality freezer bags you can find, remove as much air as possible from the bag and label all bags with date and contents. Herbs are the easiest crop to freeze: Just chop to size (for parsley and cilantro) and fill a freezer bag or puree (for basil) with olive oil. Berries can be frozen whole or in syrup. Vegetables need to be blanched before freezing to slow down the enzymes that cause decay.

Pesto lovers can freeze individual portions of their fresh basil sauce in covered, stackable Pesto Cubes. Fill each BPA-free, dishwasher safe cube with an individual portion, cover with the locking lid to prevent freezer burn, and label with erasable marker. Dishwasher-safe cubes are also great for homemade baby food, fresh herbs and sauces.

If freezer space is at a premium, preserve fresh herbs in small quantities, just as they reach their peak, on a decorative steel Herb Drying Rack that dries them the old-fashioned way -- without electricity or prep work. The rack also works well for flowers and garlic.

3. Rescue unripe tomatoes! If cold weather arrives before your entire tomato crop has ripened, harvest firm, green, unblemished fruit and wrap each tomato individually in newspaper. Store between 55-60 degrees F and check weekly to monitor ripening.

For stylish storage while you wait for tomatoes to turn red and flavorful, consider protective, breathable Jute-Lined Wirework Storage Baskets add attractive, instant storage in small spaces.

4. Store crops right in the garden. The easiest way of all to preserve your harvest is to leave crops right in the ground and put something on top to protect them from extreme cold. A length of Gardener's exclusive Garden Quilt Cover (#32-651, $12.95 for 6'x20' length), suspended just over your crops using hoops and wooden clothespins, allows rain and sun to reach plants while keeping them safe from wind and chilly temperatures.

5. Refrigerate root crops. Harvest carrots and beet crops before a hard frost, use scissors to cut off most of the greens (except for about ½" on top so as not to cut into the root), and leave the dirt until you're ready to cook!

Founded in 1983, Gardener's Supply is an employee-owned company of avid gardeners providing garden-tested, earth-friendly products combined with practical information. Located in Burlington, Vermont, the company has won many awards for its patented products and innovative management style.

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