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Main Content
carrots

How to Save Four Common Vegetables for the Winter

Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac

While the harvest may be bountiful now, cravings for fresh vegetables start to hit around January. Be ready for those cravings by preparing and saving your vegetables to be enjoyed on a cold winter night.

Why Save Vegetables for Winter?

Saving vegetables from the garden helps to save money on fresh vegetables, reduce the amount of food wasted during the harvest season, and connect us with our ancestors’ through this time-honored tradition.

Carrots

Sand bin: Harvest carrots on a dry day before the first frost of the fall. Cut off the green shoots of each carrot to within 1/2 inch of the root, but do not wash the carrots. In a plastic bin or wooden box, add 1/2-inch layer of slightly damp sand across the bottom. Lay a thick layer of carrots on top of the sand, and then alternate layers of sand and carrots until the bin is full or you run out of carrots. End with a layer of sand on top. Store the bin in a cool (45° to 55°F), dark, and dry place such as a shed, garage, or cellar. The carrots will last until early spring.

Blanch and freeze: Cut off the green shoots and then wash the carrots with cold water. Chop them into chunks or slices and set aside. In a cooking pot, bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil. Carefully dump the carrot chunks into the water and continue to boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain the carrot chunks out of the water and place them in a colander in the sink. Rinse the chunks with cold water and then gently squeeze them, by hand, to remove excess water. Place handfuls of the carrot chunks into quart- or gallon-size sealable bags. When the bags are full, compress any extra air out and seal. Label the bags with the date using a permanent marker. Place the full bags in the freezer on a flat surface. The carrots will last for up to 1 year.     

Potatoes

Newspaper bin: Harvest potatoes from when the plants start to die back until the first frost. Set any potatoes with broken skin aside to be eaten right away. In a plastic bin or wood box, lay down several sheets of black-and-white newspaper. Spread a layer of unwashed potatoes on the newspaper, and then alternate layers of potatoes and newspaper until the bin is full or you run out of potatoes. End with a layer of newspaper on top. Store the bin in a cool (45° to 55°F), dark, and dry place such as a shed, garage, or cellar. The potatoes will last until early spring.

Tomatoes

Blanch and freeze: Wash the tomatoes with cold water and chop them into small chunks or slices and set aside. In a cooking pot, bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil. Carefully dump the tomato chunks into the water and continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the tomato chunks out of the water and place them in a colander in the sink. Rinse the chunks with cold water and then gently squeeze them, by hand, to remove excess water. Place handfuls of the tomato chunks into quart- or gallon-size sealable bags. When the bags are full, compress any extra air out and seal. Label the bags with the date using a permanent marker. Place the full bags in the freezer on a flat surface. The tomatoes will last for up to 1 year.     

Spinach

Wash the spinach leaves with cold water and then chop them into 1- to 2-inch-wide strips and set aside. In a cooking pot, bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil. Carefully dump the spinach strips into the water and continue to boil for 1 to 3 minutes. Strain the spinach strips out of the water and place them in a colander in the sink. Rinse the strips with cold water and then gently squeeze bunches of them, by hand, to remove excess water. Spread handfuls of the spinach strips onto cookie sheets and place in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the spinach is frozen. Scrape the frozen spinach off of the cookie sheets and place handfuls into quart- or gallon-size sealable bags. When the bags are full, compress any extra air out and seal. Label the bags with the date using a permanent marker. Place the full bags in the freezer on a flat surface. The spinach will last for up to 1 year.  

Old Farmer's Almanac