Soon it will be time to harvest the last of the garden veggies, the underground crops.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, beets, and parsnips are full of fiber and nutrients galore! MyPlate encourages people to fill half their dinner plates with fruit and vegetables. Root vegetables can round out a menu with warm colors and flavors.
These vegetables can usually withstand light frost, but must be harvested before a heavy frost. What next?
Carrots and turnips can be stored together. Trim the tops to one-inch. Layer the unwashed carrots and turnips in a container of moist sand. Store the container in a cool place, 35-40 degrees for 4-5 months. As the sand dries out, sprinkle the box with a little water to keep the environment moist. When it is time to use them in recipes, scrub-scrub-scrub with warm water to wash off the dirt.
Carrots and turnips complement each other very well. Try a "Carrot-Turnip Medley". Cut your carrots and turnips into large pieces. Boil them together until they are soft. Mash them with a light olive oil and 2% milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and or garlic powder. Carrots and turnips are good sources of Vitamins A and C. (see recipes links below)
Garlic and onions, should be harvested earlier in the season. After they have dried out for at least 2-3 weeks, store them in a mesh bag in a cool, dry location (35-40 degrees). Old stockings can be used in place of a mesh bag and can be easily hung to save space. Your garage is an ideal location for storage. The flavors of onions and garlic can be a wonderful substitute for salt. It is important that after removing the outside skin to rinse these vegetables. Onions and garlic sautéed in olive oil will make any vegetable dish more elegant.
Potatoes require a two-step process for storage. After you dig out your potatoes, let them sit in a dark, dry location at 50-60 degrees for one to two weeks. This is called curing. After this, store them in a dark place at 34-40 degrees for four to six months. Sweet potatoes require curing at 80-85 degrees for 10 days, then storage at 50-60 degrees for four to six months.
Potatoes can be used in so many ways. Try some of these ideas: potato soup made with carrots and onions, oven-roasted potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic, mashed potatoes flavored with garlic and olive oil, and potatoes in vegetable soup. Potatoes are a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. Potato skins also are a good source of fiber.
Enjoy your root vegetables!