Preserving Your Roots: A Cellaring Primer

A root cellar lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor without canning or freezing.

By Jennifer MacKenzie

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how to store roots in a root cellar5 Steps to Good Storing

Only the best.
Damaged produce doesn't store well. Use broken or bruised roots right away, and store only perfect produce in your cellar.

Keep it dirty.
Store produce as close to its state at harvest as possible (clinging soil, roots and stems intact). Gently rub off big clumps of dirt, but avoid scrubbing or washing. Remove the leaves of roots such as beets and carrots.

Sort it out.
Sort produce by size and quality before storage; use the smallest and any slightly marked produce first and work to the largest as you use up your stores.

Frost is your friend (sometimes).
Vegetables such as beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, pumpkins, and horseradish benefit from a touch of frost before harvesting for better storage and flavor.

Shock it first.
Harvested onions continue to grow unless they're shocked into dormancy. About 1 month before harvest, break each green stalk by snapping or bending to stop the root (the onion) from feeding the plant. Shocked onions in a cool, dry cellar will keep for 4 to 6 months.

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