If you’re considering a garden this year, you’re probably thinking about what types of fruits and veggies you want to grow. Unfortunately, fresh produce generally has a much shorter shelf life than most other foods, which means it can go bad quickly. That means you may not get to enjoy all of the fruits and veggies of your labor, and you’ll end up throwing or giving it away.
However, not all produce is created equal. Some types of produce actually last much longer than others! These are the types of fruits and veggies you want growing in your garden!
Here’s a quick guide to some of the different types of long lasting produce…
Whatever types of onions you plan to grow, you can rest assured that they’re a great long lasting produce item to have on hand. They can be eaten fresh on a salad, sliced on a burger, cooked in a dish, or deep-fried for crispy onion rings. The typical shelf life for onions is at least a few weeks, however some can last up to a year in the right conditions! Always store onions in a cool dry place. Your refrigerator is ideal, but you can also store them in a garage, basement, or cool pantry.
We can’t have a list of long lasting produce without potatoes, now can we? Under ideal conditions, potatoes can last for several months. Keep them away from light, onions, and apples, and store them in a cool place, like your refrigerator or root cellar. Potatoes with “eyes” or sprouts are still safe to eat (just cut them off before cooking), but you should toss potatoes that are soft or green.
One of our favorite things to grow in the garden is winter squash, not just because it’s tasty, but also because it’s some long lasting produce! Winter squash can last for several months, through an entire winter. Just keep it in a single layer in a dark, dry place, like a cabinet. Some varieties of winter squash to grow include butternut, acorn, buttercup, hubbard, and spaghetti squash.
Carrots can last up to a month or longer in your refrigerator! Remove the leaves and store them wrapped in paper towels if you’ll be using them within a month. For more long-term carrot storage, you can store them in sand or between layers of newspaper in a cool place.
Stored properly, cabbage can last for weeks or even months, and it’s definitely one of the best long lasting produce items you want in your garden! Your best bet for keeping cabbage fresh is wrapping it in plastic and storing it in your refrigerator. If some of the outer leaves look wilted by the time you’re ready to use the cabbage, they can usually be removed to reveal crisp leaves underneath.
Like other types of long-lasting produce, beets can last a surprisingly long time. If you store them in your refrigerator, they should be good for at least a couple of months, if not longer. For optimal results, trim the leaves away and store them—unwashed—in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper drawer.