Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

The Weekend Gardener (Part 17)

It’s lucky that I'm not as picky as some of our supermarkets when it comes to the shapes and sizes of the vegetables that we eat. I was busy harvesting this weekend and all vegetables, both large and small passed my less than rigorous inspections.

Weekend Gardener

This is lucky for me because it seems that regardless of the vegetable’s shape or size they are all equally delicious when picked fresh and cooked on the same day. This week I harvested a lot of courgettes and carrots. The biggest problem now to what to do with them. Most home grown vegetables are notoriously bad at staying fresh in the fridge.

So generally if you can’t eat them within 3 of 4 days of harvest then they start to shrivel up and turn a little odd. Waste in itself is a bad thing but there is nothing worse than throwing vegetables that you grew yourself in the bin.

This is probably one of the best lessons that you can learn from growing your own – that is, throwing food away is a real waste of money, time and effort. So to avoid throwing away food we need to learn the best ways to store our fresh vegetables.

How to store courgettes Courgettes need to be picked regularly from the stalks of their plant and before the flower ends start to rot. This means that you are going to have fresh courgettes at times that you may not need or want to eat them.

You can store them in the fridge but they need to be kept covered and will only stay fresh for about 2 days. For long term storage you can freeze them. To freeze courgettes, first blanch the courgettes, to do this...

  • Cut into slices
  • Place into boiling water for 2 minutes
  • Place into ice cold water for 3 minutes
  • Now you can freeze them for up to 12 months

Carrots are quite different from courgettes. Firstly carrots can be left in the ground until you need them. They are happy in the ground until mid-October. Unless they are getting attacked by carrot fly and need to be lifted to prevent further damage.

To store carrots, you should remove all the green leaves & growth from the top. Make sure they are dry – leaving them out in the sun for two days before storing. They can be placed in a bucket or box of dry sand. They need to be kept cool and dry and they will remain fresh for up to 12 months.

For short term storage again clean and dry the carrots and place in the fridge on dry kitchen roll.

Of course, carrots can be frozen too. See our our tutorial on how to freeze carrots

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