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Do not wash root vegetables before putting them into store, keep the soil on! This applies to all root vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips & swedes.
Researchers, working on behalf of ASDA, looking into the shelf-life of vegetables have found those covered in soil lasted twice as long as those that had been washed.
They believe mud acts as a preservative because it blocks the light and helps to keep the temperature down.(FarmBusiness,19th Jan2007,p4)
The soil around root vegetables should be dry before they are put into store. So it is best to lift the roots:
- when the soil is dry, before it becomes waterlogged
- on a dry day – rain will wet the roots & they will not store
If the soil is wet when the root vegetables are lifted, leave the vegetables on the surface of the soil, so the mud can dry off before putting into store; washing will reduce their “shelf life”.