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Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:26 am
by Weedo
Any tips on storage of vegetables? I am OK with with sundried tomato, capsicum etc stored in oil as well as
"dry bottling" but wonder of there is anything else out there in the dried veggie arena?
One of my problems is that our cool season is short and sub-10 degree C winter daytime temps are rare so the traditional methods for keeping roots and bulbs don't work well. Freezing is OK(ish) but I wonder if, with ample hot, dry days around harvest, drying may be an option

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:13 am
by Green Aura
Dehydrating is probably your best bet. Over here, we use a commercial one, but I've seen loads of plans online for making solar dehydrators, which might suit your conditions and you could make it big, or small, enough to suit your needs. They're basically just wooden structures with mesh shelves to allow free air movement.

And there's no need to rub it in - this year we've been lucky to get above 10C! (I am in the north of Scotland though). :lol:

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:19 am
by ina
Green Aura wrote:
And there's no need to rub it in - this year we've been lucky to get above 10C! (I am in the north of Scotland though). :lol:


It was pretty close to freezing just a few mornings ago - and that's supposed to be the height of summer...

But it never gets to below -10C here in winter, either - so we have that in common! :mrgreen:

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:23 am
by Odsox
Dried onions are useful. I have trouble keeping them from sprouting (or rotting) over winter and have dried them occasionally to save the entire crop.
Very useful in casseroles and stews as you can just throw them in and they rehydrate during cooking. Not so useful if you want fried onions though, although it's probably possible if you rehydrate in water and pat dry.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:41 pm
by Green Aura
ina wrote:
Green Aura wrote:
And there's no need to rub it in - this year we've been lucky to get above 10C! (I am in the north of Scotland though). :lol:


It was pretty close to freezing just a few mornings ago - and that's supposed to be the height of summer...

But it never gets to below -10C here in winter, either - so we have that in common! :mrgreen:


In Carrbridge it was -3.4C one morning last week. I think that's about half way between us?

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:31 pm
by Odsox
ina wrote:But it never gets to below -10C here in winter, either - so we have that in common!

Umm, I took that to be a hyphen rather than a minus sign Ina, so sub +10 C, which I'm sure is a tad different to your winter temperatures.

Just looked up Wagga Wagga on Wiki, and they are reporting the winter record low of -6.3 C (minus 6.3) with average lows of +2.7 C
Sounds just like my winter temperatures, but not their summer temperatures which are up in the 30's, which would be the end of me, unless I moved in with GreenAura.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:49 pm
by Green Aura
Any time you like. We've got a spare bedroom - nearly. :lol:

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:19 pm
by diggernotdreamer
I keep all my onions and garlic hanging up in the boiler house, it has a pilot light and it warms up if the temps go to zero, they keep really well right into May and some of my last years garlic is still being used, so even a dark cupboard under the stairs or even a loft or attic would work as long as it is frost free

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:05 am
by Weedo
Green Aura wrote:Dehydrating is probably your best bet. Over here, we use a commercial one, but I've seen loads of plans online for making solar dehydrators, which might suit your conditions and you could make it big, or small, enough to suit your needs. They're basically just wooden structures with mesh shelves to allow free air movement.

And there's no need to rub it in - this year we've been lucky to get above 10C! (I am in the north of Scotland though). :lol:


No Apologies needed- Nth Scotland is #1 on my "bucket List", preferably a combination of walking and boat (but I am very bad sailor)

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:13 am
by Weedo
Don't know where the minus 6.3 c was recorded! My records show only 3 sub-zero days for the winter and the lowest was minus 1.6. second week of spring ranged between 14c and 20 c daytime maximum. I will let folks know when we get our first plus 40 c, probably around the time you get a minus 10 C.

Anyway, my key problem with drying is not the drying process, sun and Nth wind will take care of that, it is in the storage when it doesn't really get cold.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:09 am
by Green Aura
Kilner jars. All my dried stuff is in them. They're not temperature dependent. No leaching from plastics, the rings are replaceable when needed. I've had some of mine for forty years or more. And they come in loads of different sizes.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:27 pm
by ina
Never had minus 10 here, either - not since I moved here, anyway; I think the coldest it got was around minus 3. Because we are on the coast, the temperatures are quite even over the year... Rarely gets above 20 in summer, either.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:52 am
by Odsox
Weedo wrote:Anyway, my key problem with drying is not the drying process, sun and Nth wind will take care of that, it is in the storage when it doesn't really get cold.

I wouldn't have thought that would be a problem. Once veggies are dried it doesn't matter what temperature they are stored in. Sealed in an airtight container is what is needed and only then really important in high humidity areas, and I don't think that would be the case where you live, otherwise just a container with a close fitting lid.

Stuff going mouldy is very often a case that it wasn't dried enough to start with. A tip I learnt is to put some of the veggies in a polythene bag whilst still hot, seal the top and leave in a cool place for an hour or so. If there's condensation in the bag they need drying further.

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:12 am
by Weedo
Guess I got my question wrong. Drying most vegies is not an issue, although I haven't tried onions yet. Storing dried things in sterilised jars is what I term "dry bottling". What I cant seem to do is store things like carrots (I can dried) potatoes, pumpkin, onions etc. They just start growing again within a short time. When living much further south this was possible; even to the point of simply mowing the tops off the carrots and spuds and leaving them in the ground until needed.

There are chemical solutions to stop them sprouting but I have no intention of using these. Perhaps I need to build some form of insulated & ventilated storage unit like a passive cool-room?

Re: Storing - drying vegetables

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:27 am
by Green Aura
I'm not sure, then, to be honest. I'm sure someone will put me straight but I'm fairly certain that unless you use some sort of temperature control i.e. refrigeration, your cool room will fairly quickly become the same temp as the outside even if insulated.

It may be too small for your needs but one thing I've seen is a chest freezer with the thermo-regulator altered to make it into a fridge. The problem would be lack of ventilation though.

If the weather/light allows can't you grow small and often, rather than bulk for storing?