Winter Storage Veggies: it's easier than you think + formula for how much to buy

A friend of mine came home from one of our previous veggie sales so excited that she had gotten four heads of garlic, and that the price was amazing!

When she told me about it, my first thought was: why didn’t you buy more?

What I found was, she had no idea how long those cured heads of garlic and many of their thick-skinned friends last. Which is MONTHS! They keep for months! Ideally in a cool basement or garage, but anywhere dark cool-ish will do.

The other thing she didn’t know is that for many of these winter veggie treasures, there is no up till 2 am canning, blanching, freezing nonsense.

You put them in a box or bin that lets airflow through.

You maybe add some cardboard dividers, maybe some damp sawdust.

And you’re done.

This means you can eat local year round. Which is a great feeling. To have a stockpile of carrots and potatoes and onions at your fingertips is so freeing! It makes dinner at home so much simpler.

Molly Bradford invited me to her house so that we could talk winter veggie storage in detail. So much fun! And so much great info. The video above is all about her tips and tricks to keeping veggies for the winter. Watch and learn.

Each Veggie Sale I take home several boxes bound for my basement.

And here’s how I calculate what to buy:

I think about what I generally use in a week.

For example, garlic:

I use about 1 garlic head/week, and there are around 35 weeks until CSA farm shares start again. So I get around 35 garlic cloves.

I do the same for onions, squash, peppers, beets, carrots, celeric, potatoes, shallots, and winter squash. And I slowly build my list.

Google is great at helping you convert numbers of heads of garlic into approximate poundage. But you will also be able to eyeball it on the spot.

And if I’m honest, I approximate, and then I do a lot of eyeballing.

And then when I bring my haul home, and do much of what Molly recommends in the video above. The veggies should keep until March or April. Make sure to check in with The Real Dirt around then for tips on how to extend life on your goods til the beginning of CSA farm shares (AKA through May).

And listen to Molly — try, experiment, don’t be afraid!

Buying in bulk at our Veggie Sale is a great way to try a few of these things out. You can also get food from many other local farmers through the Farmers’ Markets or individual sellers. We of course want you to come to us on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, but also want the local food economy here in Missoula to keep thriving. So wherever you go, have fun and experiment.