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Squirrel away your summer surplus

5 September 2014
Squirrel away your summer surplus

Squirrel away your summer surplus for the cold winter months to come and you can still enjoy the delights of home-grown produce even when there's snow on the ground outside.

Always choose your very best veg for storing: never put damaged fruit and veg to store as even the smallest hole starts rotting in storage and will rapidly infect its neighbour. Some veg also store better than others. Early varieties of apple, like 'Discovery', won't keep long, so only store late varieties like 'James Grieve' and 'Cox's Orange Pippin'. Hardneck garlic should also be eaten fresh – softnecks like 'Solent Wight' are best for winter use.

Veg stay fresh far longer if you dry the skins well before storing. Ripen squash and marrows in the sun for a few weeks before removing from the plant, and leave onions to dry for a fortnight after digging. Maincrop spuds also store better if they're left outside for a couple of hours in the sunshine (or in the shelter of a greenhouse if it's wet) before putting them away.

Store your veg somewhere cool, dark and dry and check every few weeks, removing any which show signs of rotting. Well-stored fruit and veg last through till the new season starts again.