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Wooden garages are good for more than just storing a car. An increasing number of people are choosing to take their garage and turn it into a more functional space, using it for many different reasons, sometimes in addition to storing a vehicle. With the accessibility of double-width or larger log garages, this is a trend that is sure to continue.

One way you can use your wooden garage is as a storage area, especially for your garden. While tools are an item to store there, why not store your excess garden produce as well? A fruitful harvest from a mature garden can produce hundreds of fruits and vegetables per season. The average family can’t eat that much, so it’s crucial to have a place to put it all.

Here are some things you need to know about storing produce in a wood garage.

Fruits and vegetables that can be stored as they are in your wooden garage

Some products are harder than others and more resistant to rot. That means they can be kept as is for long periods of time, although you’ll eventually need to eat them or prepare them for longer storage.

Tubers are an option. This includes potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, ginger root…anything that grows underground. Potatoes, squash, and other squash are also very easy to store. They can last for months in dry and cool conditions. While a basement is often preferable, you can achieve the same effect by placing them in a breathable container like a wooden box and covering them with a thick cloth to keep out light.

Fruits are harder, but apples in particular can last for several weeks just as well.

When you first store your produce this way, be sure to do a few things first:

  • Do not wash your products. Dirt actually helps keep it looking good longer.

  • Watch for any signs of rot or damage. This causes one to break down, which will spread to others in the batch.

  • Regularly monitor for signs of rot, bruises, or blight and remove them promptly.

  • Separate your products by type. Some products can cause certain gases that will rot others more quickly. So keep each type of vegetable or fruit in its own container.

  • Consider buying a hygrometer. This will measure the humidity in your wooden garage. The higher the humidity, the faster it will rot.

Fruits and vegetables that can be canned and stored in your wooden garage

For those who are not so suitable for dry storage, there is the option of canning. This is when you pickle or store a fruit or vegetable in a liquid, or make it into other foods like jams or soups. The easiest way to can is by using a pressure cooker, which seals the mason jar lids tight to prevent bacteria from entering the cans while they are being stored and spoiling the food inside.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’s still possible to seal the jars properly. You only need a rack and a large pot. Place the rack in the pot, place the jars with their lids tightly closed, and fill with water until all two inches of the jars are submerged. Bring to a boil and allow to continue boiling for ten to fifteen minutes. Carefully remove them and place them on a towel, leaving them alone for twenty-four hours. When the jar has a slit in the lid, you know it has been sealed.

Once you’ve canned your produce, you can place it on a shelf in your wooden garage. It should be good for up to eighteen months, but be sure to check the lids for nicks before using. No indentation means the seal has been broken and it is not safe to eat.

Fruits and vegetables that can be stored in a freezer in your wooden garage

Canning not your thing? Your wooden garage is a great place for a freezer, which can be used for a number of different foods. Vegetables and fruits are great to freeze because they are then ready to grab and use for a meal at any time, no matter how busy you are. Or they can be thawed for a later snack, added to a smoothie… whatever you need.

Fruits and vegetables maintain their nutritional value just as well frozen as fresh. But to get the most out of them you need to freeze them at their peak. Sort out any rotten or bruised produce and wash it well. Blanching them with salt water will help them keep their flavor and texture better when thawed. You can also store some in a sugar base, like berries and apples.

Once frozen, the products can last up to eighteen months before they start to lose their flavor or texture. But fruit in particular is soft enough that it’s best eaten before it’s fully thawed, which will prevent it from losing some of its firmness.

Wood garages maintain their temperature better than other styles due to the breathability of wood’s natural qualities. So it’s an amazing place to keep a freezer or even two, without it over freezing.

Consider buying Energy Star rated appliances for this purpose, which will save you money on your energy bill and is better for the environment.

Preparing your wooden garage

Some other ways to prepare your wooden garage to store your garden products:

  • Make sure it is free from all pests that can threaten your vegetables and fruits. Get rid of spiders, moths, flies, rodents, etc.

  • Clean every corner. You don’t want cobwebs, dirt or dust, so keep your wooden garage neat and clean.

  • Install plenty of shelf space. The shelves are amazing for canned goods. Make sure you have enough shelves to keep food separate from non-food.

  • Check your garage for damage regularly. Warps in the wood, cracks, holes and breaks in the seal can lead to problems, including threats to your products.

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