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 Post subject: Food Item: Beets
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:24 am 
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Food Item: Beets


Successful cold storage

By Sylvia Gist


Ideally, I would have a root cellar which maintained the correct temperature for the produce I would like to keep. Unfortunately, it’s not that ideal, so I have to look for other places to store things. Fortunately, different vegetables like different temperatures, so everything doesn’t have to go in the same place. Other storage options (depending upon the item) include in the ground, under a staircase, unheated rooms, outside stairwells, pits in the ground, or extra refrigerators, to name a few.

A storage method is only the last step to having successful cold storage and fresh vegetables in the winter. The first step begins with the seed catalog; it is extremely important to choose cultivars which store well. For example, not every type of carrot will still be edible the following May. Most seed catalogs are good at telling us which ones have good storage qualities. I have relied on their recommendations and have found particular cultivars of a number of vegetables that store very well for me.

Planting time and harvest time also affect the success of storage. Many storage vegetables are planted later and harvested after frost. In the following discussion, I will note what works best for me as I deal with a fairly short growing season and cool nights.

-snip- --- FULL article can be found at link, above ---


I hadn’t even considered storing beets until a few that I had just thrown in a plastic bag in the refrigerator were in pretty good shape a couple of months later. Upon investigation, I discovered that, although the common Detroit Dark Red that I was planting can be stored if done properly, there are specific beets for winter storage. I purchased some Lutz Greenleaf seed and sowed it in the spring along with my other spring beets. It took a long time to germinate and then grew slowly, but in October, I dug some softball sized beets to store. Unless you are using a long season beet like Lutz, the seed should be sown in June or July for late harvest.

Beets tend to be more susceptible to frost damage (their shoulders often stick out of the ground), so they should be harvested before a killing frost. Harvest only mature beets and cut off the tops, leaving an inch of stem. Do not remove any of the root tip. Brush off the dirt and pack in layers in damp sawdust, sand, or moss. Keep cold (near 32° F) and very moist at 90 to 85% humidity. As mentioned before, unwashed beets keep quite a while in bags in a refrigerator. Depending upon storage conditions, beets can last anywhere from two to five months in storage.

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