Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600025


Root crops may be stored in the garden or the root
cellar. If left in the garden, they should be covered with
1 1/2 - 2 inches of insulating material. Parsnips, salsify
and horseradish are particularly sensitive to alternate
freezing and thawing so keep them covered until outside
temperatures are consistently low, then remove the mulch to
permit thorough freezing. After they have frozen, mulch them
deep enough to keep them frozen.

Before storing root crops in the cellar, wait until the
storage area is cool. The plants may be left in the garden
until then (late fall). Dig up the root when the soil is dry
so less soil will cling to the roots. Cut off the root
crop tops about 1/2 inch above the root. They may be
washed, but should be allowed to dry before being stored.
Temperature of the storage area should be between 32 and 40
degrees Fahrenheit and very humid. Temperatures above
45 degrees Fahrenheit will encourage woodiness and
sprouting. Pack the root crops in bins or crates between
layers of moist sand, sawdust, sphagnum or peat moss.
Containers should be lined with a perforated plastic

If the humidity is not high enough in the storage area,
place the roots in plastic bags in which at least 4, 1/4
inch holes have been cut. Store only healthy root crops. If
storage conditions are right, the root crops should keep 3
to 5 months, except for kohlrabi, which keeps for only a few

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