No need to feel overwhelmed by an abundant harvest. Use our vegetable storage advice for maximizing your bounty’s shelf life

How to Store Your Garden Harvest
Thomas J. Story


For the last of your tomato harvest, the question is always whether to store in the fridge or on the counter. Actually, fully ripe tomatoes can deal with refrigeration; just be sure to account for some room temperature recovery time to ensure fuller flavor.


Store onions in open baskets or mesh bags in a cool place.


Some greens like collards and kale surprisingly get sweeter after a little kiss of frost. After harvesting these green beauties, the key is avoiding excess moisture; wrap the leaves in paper towels, put the collection into a plastic bag, and store in the fridge. Lettuce can’t take the chill, so harvest as soon as it’s ready and follow the same procedure you would for winter greens.

Apples & Asian Pears

Store apples in a dark, cool basement or garage. The key is to isolate them because they give off ethylene gas that makes other nearby vegetables sprout and rot.

Asian pears should be placed in sealed bags in the refrigerator to keep them from dehydrating.

Cruciferous Vegetables

For cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, harvest mature heads–roots and all–then hang upside down in a garage or basement where it doesn’t freeze. The veggies will keep for a month.

Root Vegetables

Certain crops like carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips can remain in the ground after a few frosts hit (this can actually make them sweeter). Just remove these crops before the ground freezes.

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place in paper bags with holes punched for proper ventilation. Tip: Avoid storing potatoes near onions, which also give off ethylene gas and will cause your spuds to sprout. Also avoid putting potatoes near light or in the fridge, as cold destroys their flavor.