Storing Your Vegetables and Fruits In Your Wooden Garage
Wooden garages are not just for storing a car. More and more people are choosing to convert their garage into a more functional space and use it for many different reasons, sometimes in addition to storing a vehicle. With the accessibility of double width or larger wooden garages, this is a trend that is sure to continue.
One way to use your wooden garage is as storage space, especially for your yard. While tools are an item to store there, why not store your surplus produce from your garden too? A bountiful harvest from a mature garden can produce hundreds of fruits and vegetables per season. The average family can’t eat that much, so having a place for everything is important.
Here are some things you need to know about storing produce in a wooden garage.
Fruits and vegetables that can be stored in your wooden garage
Some products are tougher than others and more resistant to decay. This means it can be stored like this for long periods of time, although eventually you will either have to eat it or prepare it for longer storage.
Root vegetables are an option. This includes potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, ginger roots…anything that grows underground. Potatoes, pumpkins and other pumpkins can also be stored very well. They can last for months in dry, cool conditions. While a root cellar is often preferable, you can achieve the same effect by placing them in a breathable container like a wooden box and covering them with a heavy fabric to keep out light.
Fruit is harder, but apples in particular can keep for several weeks in the same way.
Make sure you do a few things first when storing your products this way:
Don’t wash your products. Dirt actually helps keep it looking good longer.
Look for signs of rot or damage. This causes one to decay, which spreads to others in the batch.
Check regularly for signs of rot, dents or pests and remove them quickly.
Separate your products by type. Some products can produce certain gases that make others rot faster. So keep each vegetable or fruit in its own container.
Consider buying a hygrometer. This measures the humidity in your wooden garage. The higher the humidity, the faster the decay.
Fruits and vegetables that can be preserved and stored in your wooden garage
For those who are not so well suited to dry storage, there is the option of preservation. This is when you pickle or store a fruit or vegetable in a liquid or process it into other foods such as jams or soups. The easiest way to can is to use a pressure cooker, which seals mason jar lids tightly to prevent bacteria from entering the cans and spoiling the food inside.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’s still possible to seal jars properly. All you need is a grate and a large pot. Place the rack in the pot, place the jars with the lids tightly closed, and fill with water until the jars are two inches under water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for ten to fifteen minutes. Carefully remove them and place them on a towel and leave them alone for twenty-four hours. If the jar has a dent in the lid, you know it’s sealed.
Once you’ve canned your produce, you can place it on a shelf in your wooden garage. It should last up to eighteen months, but make sure you check the lids for indentation before use. No indentation means the seal has been broken and it is not safe to eat.
Fruits and vegetables that can be stored in a freezer in your wooden garage
Canning not your thing? Your wooden garage is a great place for a freezer that can be used for a number of different foods. Vegetables and fruits are great for freezing because they can then be accessed and used for a meal at any time, no matter how busy you are. Or they can be thawed later for a snack, thrown into a smoothie… all you need.
Fruits and vegetables retain their nutritional value when frozen just as well as when fresh. But to get the most out of them, consider freezing them at their peak. Sort out rotten or damaged products and wash them thoroughly. Blanching them with salt water helps them better retain their flavor and texture when thawed. You might also want to store something sugar-based, like berries and apples.
Once frozen, products can last up to eighteen months before losing their flavor or texture. But fruit in particular is so soft that it’s best eaten before it’s fully thawed so it doesn’t lose some of its firmness.
Wood garages hold their temperature better than other styles due to the breathability of the wood’s natural qualities. So it’s a great place to store a freezer or even two without over freezing.
For this purpose, consider purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances that will save you money on your energy bills and be better for the environment.
Preparing your wooden garage
Some other ways to prepare your wooden garage for storing produce from your garden:
Make sure it’s free of any pests that might threaten your veggies and fruits. Get rid of spiders, mites, flies, rodents, etc.
Clean every corner. You don’t want nets, dirt or dust so keep your wooden garage nice and clean.
Install plenty of shelf space. Shelves are awesome for canned goods. Make sure you have enough shelving to keep your groceries separate from your non-food items.
Check for damage to your garage regularly. Warps in the wood, cracks, holes and broken seals can cause problems, including hazards to your products.
Thanks to Goda Mackeviciute