Thursday, July 18, 2013

Something Lurks or Storage Crops

Onions on the living room floor
Yesterday I brought the onions inside to finish drying as it's been so humid I was afraid they would rot.  This year I had the idea of drying them under the shed using a wire cage.  This worked fabulously, the tops of the onions strung through the wire to hang down the middle with the onion bulbs outside to cure.  
The drying rack
Some years I have braided them for storage, but the tops seemed too mildewy from the recent moisture so I opted to cut them off and will store the onions in net bags once they dry a little more in the living room.  It will be a miracle if we eat all of these before they start to sprout, but we will give it our best try.  This years haul was about 60 pounds.

The down side to growing a surplus of veggies, even those that store well such as onions, is not really having a very good place to keep them.  I long for a root cellar or something like it where crops would be safe from critters, cool and dark enough to prevent sprouting or rotting, just moist enough to keep things fresh.  Alas, we have no such place in our house.  There is a crawl space underneath, but the mustiness and presence of crickets and mice make me leery of putting anything down there for long.  So we just try to grow enough, but not too much, and eat things up while they are fresh.

But we often face this sort of situation:
 Last years sweet potatoes; the too big, too small, too ugly 
These never got cooked and are sprouting in the closet.  I will see if they are still worth eating in the next week or so, but they might end up on the compost pile, all their goodness gone into those two foot tall sprouts. And there are more in the ground now, growing for the fall harvest.
 In the bedroom
Always looking for a good spot to store things or at least get them cured, I've discovered under the bed is a good spot for the taters, dry but dark.  I still have one of those beautiful Long Island Cheese squashes from last fall sitting in the kitchen, it seems to be holding up well, but I'm sure its lost its goodness from sitting in the house for 8 months.  They are so big each one made lots of cooked squash and confession- there is still cooked pureed squash in the freezer too. As I've mentioned in a previous post, won't grow that one again, we are back to butternuts, sweeter and smaller.

I hate to waste things and have started making a regular donation to our local women's shelter from our surplus, but I get greedy, so much effort in the growing that I want to eat everything up or preserve it some how.  So I inevitably end up with things like those crazy sweet potatoes, too far gone to give away.  It's a constant crap shoot trying to figure how much of everything to plant, some years the harvest is poor so you plant more, then you get a whopper harvest and can't eat it all.  Ah well, such is life.  

The freezer is groaning, its 25 years old and needs to be replaced with a larger model, I hope we organize that before the old one dies...

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