This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
While asparagus cannot be "stored" in the ordinary sense of the word, the roots may be stored and the plants started into growth indoors in a light warm cellar, or in a frame, giving tender shoots during the early spring months. The roots should be dug up with a good ball of earth just before freezing weather, and allowed to remain where they are until the balls of earth have frozen, when they can be put in a shed or cold cellar until they are wanted for forcing.
Any surplus of pole beans, Lima beans or even of most of the dwarf or string bush beans, which get too large, should be allowed to mature on the vines until the pods have become quite dry, and then picked and stored in a dry place in the sun. In the fall they should be shelled by thrashing or breaking up the pods and the dry beans put in tin pails or other suitable containers and kept in a dry warm place.
These may be stored in a cool cellar or storeroom or outdoors in a pit or trench. They will keep better if covered with soil or with moss or leaf mold. The latter materials are very light and spongy and will retain enough moisture to keep the roots plump, and are much more convenient to handle than soil or sand where they can readily be obtained.
These may be stored in doors either by hanging up the plants by the roots, or, as is done with cabbage (see below), better still by covering the roots with moist soil, packing the plants in quite close together. Part of the crop may be left where it grows as it will remain in good condition until after the holidays, the flavor being rather improved by freezing.
Handle these the same way as beets. They should be taken up late in the fall before there is danger of heavy frost that will kill the tops. The tops should not be cut off too close: leave an inch or so of the leaf stem and allow to dry off for a few hours before storing. They may be left out, to keep for a few days, if covered up to protect from frost at night.
This delicious vegetable is not as easy to keep as cabbage. If brought in from the field and stored in a cold place just before danger of injury from a heavy frost, the heads will, however, remain in good condition for some time. It may readily be kept longer, however, by placing it in a frame or in a cool cellar, covering the roots of the plants with moist soil so that growth will continue. In this way, small immature heads may be saved, and will develop to a surprising extent after they are taken up and put. away.
While sweet or sugar corn is not stored, nevertheless the ears that are in condition to eat when the first killing frost strikes them may be saved for some time by cutting and shocking the corn in the same way that field corn is handled. The immature ears will remain in their eating condition for some time; of course they gradually shrivel and become tough.
Part of the crop-say, one-half or two-thirds-should be taken up for storing in the cellar, or in a pit or frame out of doors, and the remainder left in the ground. In the cellar the roots should be covered with soil or moss to retain the moisture and keep them plump.
These also require dry, warm storage. They should be gathered before danger of hard frost and stored, if possible, temporarily in an open shed or other airy place where they will be protected from freezing weather. Leave the stems on when gathering. The greatest trouble in keeping pumpkins and squash arises from bruises made when they are being gathered and taken in. In spite of their apparently hard shells they should be handled like eggs. They may be put in the cellar near the heater or in the attic. Each one should be examined carefully as they are stored away, and those which show the slightest sign of decayed spots should be put to one side for immediate use or for drying or canning.
While this cannot be stored, it can be kept for winter forcing in the same manner as asparagus.
This delicious vegetable is handled and kept in the same way as parsnips.
This may be stored and kept as pumpkins are, taking even more care in handling them when taking them from the field and putting them away.
These keep very easily and readily, either in the cellar or in houses or pits. Handle in the same way as beets or carrots.