STORING VEGETABLES FOR WINTER USE
DIG FOR VICTORY LEAFLET No. 3 (Page 4 of 4)
JERUSALEM OR CHINESE ARTICHOKES
These tubers are hardy and although susceptible to damage by severe frost are seldom damaged during a normal winter. If left in the ground they can be protected with strawy litter, leaves, etc., at the outset of severe weather. In February, the remainder should be lifted and stored in damp sand for use until May. They quickly shrivel if left exposed to the air.
Autumn cauliflowers are the most susceptible to frost but any surplus may be stored for several weeks. Slightly before the curd reaches maturity, each plant should be lifted with the roots attached and plunged so as to cover the roots in moist sand or soil on the floor of a cool shed or cellar. The leaves should be tied up over the. head. A temperature between 33° F. and 40° F. has been found the most suitable.
Another old but effective method with cauliflowers was to pull them whole. Trim off the roots and outside leaves, leaving enough leaves to cover the head. Then tie a string around the stem and hang the cauliflower upside-down from a hook in the ceiling.
Celery normally winters quite satisfactorily in the ground provided some strawy litter is strewn over the rows during severe weather. It is possible, however, to store heads of celery by lifting the plants with the roots intact, removing spare outside leaves and bedding them upright in boxes containing several inches of moistened sand, which should be re-moistened at intervals. The temperature best suited to storage is between 33° F. and 38° F.
When picking and handling tomatoes, great care should be taken not to bruise them : upon this will largely depend the keeping quality of the fruit. The surface of the fruit, particularly around the calyx, should be allowed to become quite dry before the fruit is stored.
Thereafter, the fruit should be stored in the dark, but if it is desired to hasten the ripening of some of the fruit, these should he exposed to the light, at a temperature of 60—65° F. Storage in the dark tends to prolong the period of storing. Thus the period during which tomatoes are available may be extended appreciably.
An old chest of drawers in a cool, dry spare bedroom can make a great tomato store. Put the tomatoes in individual wraps of tissue paper or even the bottoms of egg boxes so they don’t roll and touch each other during storage.
When required ripe, take into a farm, light room and put into a bowl with a ripe banana – unavailable during the war, of course. The banana gives off ethylene gas which promotes ripening in tomatoes.
The fruits should be examined from time to time to remove any that have ripened or any that begin to show signs of decay.
Storing the fruits in peat or sawdust is not recommended, as the latter sometimes imparts an unpleasant flavour and both are difficult to maintain at the right degree of dryness. It should be remembered that though very dry conditions may induce shrivelling of the fruit, appreciable moisture favours the growth of moulds which will develop quickly under the slight warmth otherwise conducive to the keeping of tomatoes. For this reason, storage in the moist warmth of a kitchen is inadvisable.
Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hotel Lindum — St. Annes-on- Sea — Lancashire.