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What Are The Most Suitable Horticultural Crops And Plants For Storage Life?

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Proper storage can result in improved quality and usability of food products. Controlling the respiration rate and insect invasion are the key objectives behind storage. Want to extend the storage life? There are several ways, such as disease control, refrigeration, and chemical treatment. The other ways include atmospheric regulation, irradiation, and many others.

For ages, our ancestors did not have access to these contemporary techniques of storing fruits and vegetables. But, they knew some foodstuffs could last for months if stored properly. Let us see what are most horticultural plants and crops suitable for storage life.

What Are Horticultural Crops?

Horticultural crops are fruits, vegetables, or ornamental plants. These include plantation and medicinal plants, too. Horticultural crops play a crucial part in the agriculture industry and the nation’s economy. The fruits and vegetables that belong to horticulture are rich sources of diet and nutrition.

Since these crops have distinctive varieties, they vary in growth habits. A farmer must ponder environmental conditions and consumer choices while deciding which crop to grow in which season.

Best Crops To Store For Long-Term

We have listed some of the best storage crops to give you the most nutrition and caloric energy:

Dry Beans

Dry beans are an excellent source of protein to have during the winter. Since these beans are protein-rich, they are a staple in many diets worldwide. The harvesting and shelling process of the beans with hands is quite tiresome. However, it can give the cultivators a new appreciation for this storage crop than other harvesting and shelling techniques.

As the bean pods have dried on the vein, you can harvest and shell them. If there is still some moisture in the bean pods, you must let them dry before you shell them. Take out the sprouted beans, if any. The shelled beans can be put in air-tight mason jars or buckets afterward for storage.

The beans can remain fresh for many months and even years. Keep them in a cool, dark place.

Apples

Apple is another delight for the winter. You can get up to 800 pounds of fruit from a single apple tree. So, it can be worthwhile to grow a tree near your farm. This is undeniably a well-liked fruit due to its versatility. You can have them raw or baked and can add them to other dishes.

Fuji, black Oxford, and goldrush are the best storage varieties of apple. The most preferable ways to store apples are applesauce and cider.

For storing whole apples, simple refrigeration is a great way. The storage apple varieties will likely be fresh in the fridge for over six months.

Onions

Another great storage crop is onion. People often keep onions for months. Onions grown at a home farm are delicious and have an unmatched flavor.

Some cultivators do not prefer growing onions as they occupy a large garden area. But, one can grow them in small areas, as well.

If you wish to store them, let them cure for some weeks or until the tops are fully dried. After curing them, cut the top to 1 inch and keep them loose in baskets or mesh bags.

Make sure that you keep the onions in a cool or dark place. Most varieties of onions can last up to 6 to 8 months.

Also Read: Horticulture Vs. Botany: The Major Differences

Carrots

Carrot varieties like imperator, danvers, and catenary are best for long-term storage. Do you want to cultivate carrots to store them during the winter months? Then, start the seeds later in the season and let the crop ripe by frost.

During light frosts, you can leave the crops in the ground. But, you must make sure to dig them up before the freezing of the ground.

Temperatures between 32 to 35 Degrees Fahrenheit are perfect for storing carrots. Also, most carrots in storage can last about 4 to 6 months.

Corn

Corn is a great source of caloric energy that has been in use for years. You can come across a wide variety of corns, from yellow dent corns to many colorful ones. Some of the best varieties include parching red supai, Oaxacan green dent, and magic manna. The crop has several culinary uses and is the key ingredient in tortillas. You can also use corn in porridge and polenta.

This is also a great crop for stocking up. It can stay sustainable for a long time when properly dried and stored. 

Sweet Potatoes

Like potatoes, sweet potatoes are also one of the best storage crops. Sweet potatoes bought from stores are good. But home-grown ones are also no less and can last all through the winters without much hassle.

You must keep sweet potatoes in a cool and dry place. People also like to keep them at the bottom of their panties. This can let them last for around 4 to 6 months. But this depends on the humidity and temperature.

Garlic

Garlic comes in two varieties: softneck and hardneck garlic. You must choose the variety that is most suitable in your region. If you have heard of softneck garlic, you may be aware that this variety is well-suited for mild climates. Hardneck garlic, on the contrary, is best for growing in hard and chilly winters.

Farmers often grow garlic during the fall season and harvest them in the summer months. Afterward, they cure them for storage. Curing lets all the layers dry and builds a protective layer on the garlic bulb.

Cabbage

Homesteaders have been cultivating storage-type cabbage heads for the cold season. But, not every cabbage variety is suitable for storing. So, it is important to research and seek the best variety.

When we talk about storing ability, it means you want solid cabbage heads. Compared to green cabbages, red ones have better storage abilities. Late flat Dutch, red acre, and Brunswick are some of the best varieties of cabbage you can consider.

Keep the crop in an outdoor storage spit or a separate container. This is because the smell from storing cabbage will spread in your storage area. Due to this smell, there can be a change in the flavor of apples, pears, and celery stored in the same location.

Conclusion

Long-term storing of fruits and vegetables is quite beneficial to farmers. It can offer lasting freshness and minimal wastage of food. The other advantage of storage is that it lets you slow down microbe growth and lessen transpiration loss.

When you think of storing crops like potatoes, carrots, or onions, you must remember a few important things. These can be the crop varieties suitable for storage and the availability of the ideal storage facilities.

Want to learn more about horticultural crops and their storage methods? Then, stay connected and listen to Fall & Fallow’s latest podcast. The fanatics of Mother Nature are most welcome to join our community.

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