Monday, May 6, 2013

The Best Time to Pick Vegetables

Picture by: harry22

Everyone wants their vegetables to be full of flavor and bursting with juicy goodness, when they harvest them. When you pick the vegetables is just as important as how you store them after harvesting. This article will give you some helpful tips on picking and storage.  

Sweet Corn
Pick sweet corn when you have the water almost at a boil on the stove. Only harvest the ears of corn when the husk is green, but the silk is dry and brown. You can test the corn for maturity by pulling the husk down to reveal the kernels. Press your fingernail into the kernel. If the kernel squirts juice when you puncture it with your fingernail, then it is ready to pick. 

The key to sweet corn is to only harvest as much corn as you want for your meal. Clean the corn by removing the husk and silk. The best place for this chore is outside where you can toss the husks and silk straight into the compost pile. Once you have the ears cleaned, they are ready to go straight into the pot of boiling water. Sweet corn is naturally sweet, but if you add a teaspoon of sugar into the water, the corn will be even better. The corn loses its natural sweetness and flavor ten minutes after you pick it. This is why the corn you buy at the store never tastes as good as fresh picked. 

Early Morning Harvesting
The best time to harvest the other vegetables, like peas, broccoli, radishes, cabbage, and leafy greens is early in the morning. It is during the cool part of the day that your vegetables will be full of juice. They will stay crisp longer and their storage time increases. This is especially good for people who sell their produce at the market, or those who want to can during the day.  

Afternoon Harvesting

Vegetables harvested during the heat of the day or early evening, are under stress from the day. The sun removes vitamins and minerals out of the plant’s leaves. So if you pick them during that time, they will quickly wilt and become limp. Sometimes we can’t pick things early in the morning. If this is the case, wait until the evening, when the temperatures cool down. This gives your plants time to replenish what the sun took away.

If you are picking vegetables for canning, you need to pick the produce and store them correctly. Harvest early in the morning. If you cannot take them into the house right away, store them in the cool shade as you pick more. 

Prepare and use the vegetables as soon as possible. Keeping the vegetables for later use is possible if you store them in the dark place  like a root cellar, or basement where it stays cool. You can also place the vegetables in a paper bag. Close the bag and store it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Harvest tomatoes early in the morning, but store them differently. Line some flat boxes, (the kind that beer or pop comes in) with newspapers. Place the tomatoes in a single layer and store them in a cool location until you can use them.

 Harvest onions any time of year. Dig them out of the ground, and brush off the excess soil. Lay them on a screen in the sun to air dry. Do not leave them out if it is raining or they will mold and rot.

No comments:

Post a Comment