Tired of canning, pickling, and freezing? These fruits & veggies will keep for months without any fancy food preservation methods!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with trying to preserve all of your garden produce, take a break from all the food preservation antics, and instead, grow more foods that will keep just fine on their own when properly stored!
Most of the fruits and veggies below will keep for at least several months if you keep them at the right temperature and humidity.
* Note: The article below specifically mentions sweet potatoes as not keeping very well. While this may be true for most sweet potatoes purchased at the grocery store (which usually are not cured), you CAN store your own homegrown sweet potatoes for up to a year if you do it right! For long-term storage (and best flavor and sweetness), sweet potatoes should be “cured” for 1 to 2 weeks in a very warm location (80-85 degrees), before storage. Check out this article for more tips on curing sweet potatoes.
Apples need an optimal temperature of 30 to 32 degrees…. If you want your apples to last for weeks, keep them in a plastic bag in your fruit crisper drawer, away from vegetables (the ethylene gas they emit will cause other vegetables to ripen faster).
Beets can last between 2 and 4 months in the refrigerator. First, cut off the greens if they’re still attached, and then store them in a perforated plastic bag in your vegetable crisper.
Cabbage tastes best when it’s fresh, but it can last for up to 2 months wrapped in plastic in your fridge….
The key to making carrots last is keeping them dry, as they give off a lot of moisture, which causes them to rot more quickly. If you buy carrots in a plastic bag, place a paper towel in the bag to absorb any moisture and change it whenever it gets saturated. This can keep them fresh for a few weeks to a few months.
A root vegetable available mostly at farmers’ markets, celeriac is the root of celery plants and has a mild celery-like flavor. Celeriac likes moisture, so store it wrapped in plastic on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. Even after it’s cut, celeriac will keep for another week if wrapped well.
Garlic keeps longest when stored at 60 to 65 degrees and moderate humidity. Unless you have an older, very dry home, your garlic should do fine in a dark kitchen cabinet. You can also store whole bulbs in the fridge in a paper bag…, where the bulbs will last for months (though it may slightly change their flavor)…
Store onions in a dry area where the temperature stays between 30 and 50 degrees, and they’ll keep for up to a year. If you don’t have a place like that, keeping them in mesh bags (like the kind used to package grocery-store onions) and storing them in a dark cabinet will let them last for up to a month, and perhaps longer.
The ideal storage temperature for potatoes is 40 degrees, which is on the warm end of most home refrigerators, and they don’t like light, which can cause them to turn green and bitter. Basements or cellars usually provide perfect potato-storage conditions that will keep them from rotting for between 2 and 4 months. Keep them away from onions and apples, wherever you store them, as both emit gases that can cause them to rot.
* Bonus tip: Sweet potatoes don’t last very long in storage, so eat those within a week of purchase.
9.) Winter Radishes
Winter radishes, like the daikon variety you might see at grocery stores,…can be stored as you would carrots, with their greens removed and in a plastic bag accompanied by a paper towel to absorb moisture. They’ll last for up to a month.
10.) Winter Squash
Pumpkins, butternut squash, and other varieties of hearty winter squash will last between 2 and 6 months if kept in a dark cabinet. Keep all your squash in a single layer in your cabinet so air can circulate around them.
Rutabagas are great sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber, and the fact that they can last up to a month in your refrigerator makes them good candidates for stocking up. Store them as you would celeriac, wrapped in plastic on a low shelf in your fridge.