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Storing Fresh Produce

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July 12, 2022
Brandi Silver

This is Brandi Silver, FCS agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. Today our program is about harvesting and storing your bountiful garden produce.

One of the joys of summer is homegrown sweet corn, started from seed, nurtured to perfection, picked from your home garden and enjoyed with family. Having a home garden allows you to pick and savor your vegetables when they are at their optimal flavor.

To be sure you are getting all of the nutrients provided by your garden vegetables, you need to harvest them at peak maturity, handle them properly, and store them under proper conditions. Remember these three keys to preserving quality.

Temperature: Starchy vegetables should be cooled immediately.

Moisture: The proper humidity level for storage varies by commodity.

Ventilation: Minimize wilting and tissue breakdown by ensuring that air can circulate properly.

Vegetables continue their life processes even after they are picked. Mature vegetables need to be chilled after harvesting to slow this process. Immature vegetables need to be stored at room temperature to enhance the ripening process.

It is also important to discard any vegetables with signs of decay or rot to prevent them from affecting the good produce. Some vegetables should be washed in cold running water immediately after they are harvested to remove any soil, dust, or other contaminants and to help lower their temperature. You can find specific information on our website.

This has been Brandi Silver with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. Call our office at 764-9480 to register for our upcoming Healthy Harvest Cooking classes.