How to store your apples and pears.
The ideal storage method is to wrap each apple in oiled-paper of 25 cm. squares of newspaper. Do not make an airtight seal - just fold one corner of the paper over the fruit, overlap this with the opposite corner, then fold over the other two corners.
Stand wrapped apples, folds underneath, in a single layer on a slatted shelf, apple rack
or two or three layers deep in a well- ventilated box. Regularly remove any rotting apples. Apples can also be stored without wrapping, but there is a danger of rot spreading, as well as undue moisture loss apples and pears will last for
many weeks, depending on the variety, if laid out in wooden boxes stored in a cool place - though not so cool that they are in danger of freezing. Wrapping apples individually in newspaper helps prevent the spread of disease. Choose a storage area away from anything strong smelling, such as paraffin or creosote, which could spoil their flavour, and keep apples and pears separate. Inspect the fruit regularly, picking out and discarding any that are starting to decay before they ruin the rest of the box.
Root vegetables will keep for a few months if stored correctly. Beetroot, carrots, parsnips, salsify, scorzonera, swedes, winter radishes and turnips can all be left in the ground until frost threatens, then lifted and placed in boxes of damp sand and put in a cool place. Potatoes can be stored in thick paper sacks, well sealed to exclude all light.
While freshly picked fruit, vegetables and herbs have an unequalled flavour, with careful preparation and storage there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to
enjoy the results of your labours out of season. The key to success is to select the best of your crop - the younger and more tender the better. Never keep anything that is damaged, and always freeze or prepare for storage immediately after picking as any delay allows decay to set in.
While our forebears would have relied mainly on bottling to preserve their produce, we have the advantage of the deep freezer, which has made the whole process relatively painless - we need only collect, bag and freeze. The success of your freezing will depend on the varieties you grow. Certain cultivars have been specially bred for this purpose, so bear this in mind when buying seed. Pick your crop at a young age when the crops are still tender and bursting with flavour. There is no point in putting effort into preserving crops that are past their best and have become tasteless and tough.
Vegetables can be tray dried - that is, cut out and spread on a tray so that they do not touch, then frozen - before being packed in bags for l
Vegetables for freezing
Sweet corn: choose young, tender cobs Remove husks and tassels then blanch.
Jerusalem artichokes: scrub, chop and puree.
Broccoli and calabrese: divide into even-sized florets, wash, steam blanch and bag up.
French beans: choose young, small beans, blanch and freeze whole.
Kohl rabi: choose small roots, scrub and freeze whole or puree.
Cabbage: remove the outer leaves and stems, wash and shred, then blanch before sealing in polythene bags.
Turnips: best frozen as a puree.
Asparagus: sort into similar-sized bundles, remove any imperfections, steam blanch then seal in polythene bags.
onger term freezing. However, most vegetables need to be blanched before freezing, as they are low in acid and contain high numbers of enzymes, which the blanching kills off and would otherwise cause them to deteriorate.