Easy ways to store and preserve fruit and vegetables
Store and preserve fruit and vegetables from your garden, to use in months when there isn’t as much growing.
Storing your harvest is a great way to deal with surplus vegetables, for use in the months when there isn’t so much growing in the garden. You can store homegrown fruit and vegetables, or shop bought produce too.
There are a number of ways to store your fruit and vegetables, include drying or dehydrating, freezing and preserving.
Ways to store and preserve fruit and vegetables
Some fruits and vegetables keep for months if they are stored in the right conditions.
Choosing fruit that is not blemished is crucial for successful storage. Cutting out the bad parts if you are processing fruit and vegetables for storage is also successful, so you don’t need to waste the produce if there are a few marks or blemished areas.
Storing fruit and vegetables in wooden or cardboard boxes in a dry and airy place will stop them from rotting.
There are also many ways to process the fruit and vegetables so that they can be dried, frozen or preserved in Agee jars (also called ‘canning’ in some countries).
Types of fruit and vegetables and how to store them
- Apples and pears store well wrapped in newspaper and placed in a single layer in a box. Or you can stew them, then either freeze or preserve in jars. See this link for how to bottle fruit like apples and peaches in jars. Preserved apples are great in pies, puddings and other baking.
- Peaches tend to go mushy in storage, so it’s best to cut them up and freeze or bottle them too.
- Berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries freeze really well, and are great for use in baking or smoothies.
- Citrus fruit can be preserved in many ways, to make use of the zest, peel, juice and the actual fruit. This is a useful post about preserving citrus.
- Root vegetables such as carrots, beetroots and potatoes store well. Cut the leafy tops off of beetroot and carrots and put them in a single layer in a box without wrapping them. Covering them with a layer of sand will stop them from turning rubbery. Store potatoes in paper sacks. Dig them up them on a sunny day and leave out in the sun to dry. Remove any mud from the potatoes to stop them going moudy. Store them in a dark place.
- Onions, garlic and shallots can be harvested with the tops still on, and when they have dried out, you can plait / braid them in the traditional French style. I also cut the tops off garlic and shallots, and store them in a ceramic lidded bowl in my pantry, where they last for months. You can also chop or mince garlic and it in vinegar, for a ready made garlic mince for meals.
- Pumpkins and zucchini can last for up to three months, depending on the type. Check them to make sure they are in good condition and store them in a cool, dry place. Zucchini can kept in the fridge for a maximum of three weeks. You can also chop them and freeze them, to use later in sauce-based dishes such as chilli or curry (as they become a little watery after freezing).
- Capsicums and other peppers freeze well. Chop them and store them in bags or containers that are a useful portion size to add to a dish like curry, chilli or stir fry.
- Leafy crops like lettuce and spinach keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Spinach and silverbeet freeze well.
- Peas and beans freeze well, or you can dry them to use in stews.
More resources to help you store and preserve fruit and vegetables
- Check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for more food storage ideas
- And see my posts on what to grow in Spring and Winter in your garden.
Do you have tips you can store for ways to store and preserve fruit and vegetables? Please leave a comment below.