Guide to Storing Root Vegetables

Guide to Storing Root Vegetables

Welcome to the first blog in our series on fruit and vegetable storage. Our aim is to give you a really great idea on how to maximise the freshness of your fruit and veg so that you can make the most of what you have in the fridge. The goal of course being to reduce waste and keep costs down to help both the planet and your wallet.

How you store your fruits and veggies has an enormous impact on their longevity and how tasty they are when you use them. The first step in veg freshness is actually the selection process. You want to ensure your fruit and veg are fresh to begin with and haven’t been sitting for months in refrigerated storage. This usually means shopping seasonally, which is actually better for you, your budget and the planet. You also want to look for signs of aging in your veggies and fruits; mould, soft spots and sprouting in root vegetables.

Of course, if you’re getting your fruits and veggies from us, then you don’t have to worry about the selection process because we’re doing it for you! Our fruit and veggie boxes are sourced from local producers and we try to keep it as seasonal as possible, so you’re automatically getting freshness and quality.

carrots and beets

In this first blog we’re talking all things root vegetable, including pumpkin, turnips, potatoes, onions, carrots and more – basically anything that could belong in a deliciously warming winter stew.

There are no general rules when it comes to storage for these veggies unfortunately. Some like the fridge and others like a cool, dark place outside the fridge. Let’s start there.

A Cool, Dark, Dry Spot (outside of the fridge)

Quite a few of your classic root veggies love a dark spot outside of the fridge, which is cool or room temperature. This is where they will stay fresh for the longest time, some up to a couple of months in ideal conditions.

First and foremost though, here’s a quick reference guide for your cool, dark, dry spot loving veggies:


How long does it keep

(Ideal conditions)



(1–2 months)

Don’t store near potatoes. Store in a mesh bag.


3 weeks

(Several months)

Store in a mesh bag

All pumpkin varieties, including butternut

2+ weeks

(2–4 months)

Once cut, wrap in food wrap and store in the fridge. Cooked pumpkin can be frozen for up to 10 months.

All types of potatoes including sweet potato

3+ weeks

(4–6 months)

Potatoes shouldn’t be kept in the fridge (see below)


2–3 weeks

Also very happy in the fridge


You can see the huge difference depending on whether conditions are ideal or not. Temperature, moisture and airflow are the biggest factors here. Ideally, you would keep your veggies at 10-15 degrees Celsius, which means they’ll do much better in winter than in summer depending on conditions in your house.

So what are the ideal conditions?

The space has to be:

  • Dark – the absence of light means your veg won’t sprout
  • Cool but not damp – these veggies will rot with moisture
  • Have some airflow – a cupboard isn’t ideal, but since we don’t have access to a cool cupboard or root cellar, it will have to do if you don’t have a pantry. Just ensure it’s not too full so your veg have a better chance of ventilation.

You also want to keep these veggies out of plastic, which will increase the moisture and hasten rotting. You’re much better to use a fabric string, paper, hessian or mesh bag to store them. An added bonus here is that these can double as shopping bags when it’s time to go to the market. If you don’t have any, we like these ones from Seed & Sprout or these ones from the Fregie Sack.

You also don’t want to wash any of these veggies before storage.

So now we know the ideal conditions, let’s talk through some of our fussier veg that prefer even more specific conditions.

Potatoes should never be in the fridge or next to onions

potatoes image

Who knew the humble potato could be such a troublemaker! Keeping potatoes seems easy, but spud storage can actually have some potentially serious health implications. Storing your potatoes in the fridge can increase the amount of sugar they contain, which can lead to higher levels of a chemical called acrylamide.

While this chemical is naturally occurring, it’s considered to be a potential carcinogen in humans at increased levels, so keeping your spuds out of the fridge, will decrease the risk of ingesting higher levels of it and be generally better for your health. Don’t panic though – it’s naturally occurring, so it’s perfectly safe to have your potatoes, just keep them out of the fridge.

You also want to keep your potatoes separate from your onions. Onions are a bad influence on potatoes, which sprout faster when there are onions around.

Inside the Fridge

It might seem like we’ve come to the easy part, but storing veggies in the fridge is more complicated than you may think. Your fridge will likely have a crisper, or vegetable compartment, but did you know that some fridges allow you to control the humidity on those compartments? Have a look in your fridge and if your veggie drawers have air vents which you can open and close, then you can control your humidity - yay!

While most fruits like low humidity, most veggies like high humidity, so it’s best to close those vents. You can also influence humidity by storing your veggies in reusable veggie bags – we like these ones from the Swag or these ones from flora & fauna. Fortunately, we like to keep our veggies away from our fruits (see below), so you can just have one high and one low humidity veggie compartment in the fridge.

Before we get any further, let’s have a look at our fridge loving veggies:


How long does it keep?



3–4 weeks

Keep in a container or reusable veggie bag to avoid them drying out

Spring onion

2–3 weeks

Alternative storage in a glass – see below

Parsnips, turnips

2–3 weeks

Keep in a container or reusable veggie bag to avoid them drying out. Remove turnip tops


2–3 weeks

Remove the tops (and use them) and pop them in a reusable veggie bag or airtight container

Radishes (including daikon)

2–3 weeks

Remove their tops (and use them!) and pop them in slightly damp paper towel or reusable veggie bag in a container.


1–2 weeks in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer (but it will lose some flavour towards the end of the 6 months)

Store in an airtight container. You can also freeze it whole or sliced in an airtight container to prolong it’s life


Spring onions

Spring onions will last pretty well for a couple of weeks in the fridge if you follow the below instructions, however, you can also prolong their life in a clean jar.

First the fridge instructions. Remove the rubber band holding the spring onion bunch together and wash them thoroughly. Pat them mostly dry and then store them in the fridge wrapped in damp (not wet!) paper towel and in a veggie bag or just in a damp reusable cloth veggie bag (see the end of this article for recommendations). They’ll happily keep for around two weeks. Just dampen the cloth or paper towel if it dries out

To prolong their life even further, after washing and drying the spring onions, pop them in a tall clean jar standing up and fill up the jar with enough water to cover the white part. Next, pop a reusable cloth bag or plastic bag over the green tops and use a rubber band to secure the bag against the jar (without pulling down the green ends). Now place the jar in the fridge and go about your day!

Your final option is to place them in a jar as above, with a little water to cover the white part and pop them on a sunny window. With this method, they’ll keep growing. Just change the water every couple of days.

Carrot, Beet, Turnip & Radish Tops

You want to remove the leafy parts of these veggies before you store them in the fridge because they draw moisture from the veggies, but don’t throw them out! Carrot and radish tops can be used in pesto and beet leaves can be roasted or thrown in salads. Beet and turnip leaves are delicious in soups or stir-fries. Store them as you would other leafy greens and they’ll keep for about a week.

Keep your fruits and veggies separate

Just like with potatoes and onions, we want to separate our fruit and veggies both in and out of the fridge. The reason is fruits like apples and pears produce a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process in other veggies and fruits if they’re nearby. It’s the reason why when you spend $2 on a rock hard avocado, you can ripen it by putting it next to the bananas in the fruit bowl.

Some fruits produce more ethylene than others and some vegetables ripen faster than others as a result. Choice has a handy table showing which fruits and vegetables are the highest producers and which are the most sensitive. You can find it here.

When in doubt, freeze!

If you have some beautiful produce that you know you won’t be using soon, you can always freeze it, and the sooner the better to preserve nutrients and taste. For most veggies you’ll want to blanch them before freezing, but some, like ginger, can be frozen whole. For blanching, just pop them in boiling water for a minute or two and then immediately refresh in cold water. They’ll keep for up to a year.

Unfortunately you can’t use the freezing method for eggplant, artichoke, lettuce or other greens, potato (although you can mashed), radishes or sweet potato.

We’re rooting for you!

So that’s it from us on root veggie storage. Let us know what you think and if you have other methods that have worked well. Of course, if you want to get practising, head on over to our store and grab yourself a FarmBOX containing fresh and premium quality veg from our sensational local farmers and enjoy getting those veggies to stretch out a little longer in freshness.

Back to blog