Buy fall produce and save it through winter

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - November 2, 2009

We asked Mandel Smith, an educator and food and nutrition specialist with the Penn State Extension Service in Montgomery County.

"If you store them correctly, you can hold onto them for several months," Smith says."Iif you just make sure that you're storing them in the right way."

The first step to storing apples is making sure they don't have bruises or cuts.

"Separate your apples by sizes, the larger ones, you want to make sure that you eat those first," Smith says. "Because large apples just don't store as well. So separate them, small, medium and large. "

Once they're sorted, they can be stored in a basket or box, between 30 and 32 degrees.

You also need to check potatoes for bruises or sprouts. And don't wash them. They can be stored in a carboard box, mesh or paper bag, at 40 to 50 degrees.

Carrots are best stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.

And winter squash and pumpkins will keep up to two months in a cool dry space.

"If you harvest your own pumpkins, you want to make sure that you leave about two inches of stem and they will last longer if you do that," Smith says.

To store onions, make sure the outside skin is papery. Then, drop each onion into the leg of a pair of panthose, and tie a knot above the onion. Drop in the next onion and tie another knot, until you have a string of onions that you can hang in a cool, dry spot. When you need an onion, you just slit the pantyhose and pull one out.

For more information on seasonal produce and storage, clik on the extension service's webpage.

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