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Accidental freezing of root crops - what to do?

Sue Jones

Joined: Nov 02, 2011
Posts: 13
I am in a new homestead, still trying to get things set up and I got behind on my root storage plans and had many of my root crops (turnips, celeriac, beets, rutabagas, carrots) freeze. They were in buckets, not in the ground, and some appear to be frozen all the way through. Wondering if anyone has experience with this. Will they still store ok and be edible, or are they definitely going to be worthless?

Thank you for any ideas.


Raven Sutherland

Joined: Nov 09, 2010
Posts: 128
Location: Massachusetts
not sure why they were in buckets?

best to place them in the ground tight to one another in a wide row
and cover them with bales of hay for insulation which you should cover
with a plastic tarp during periods of freezing rain

or you put them in a cellar transporting sand to their buckets
but you'll have to experiment to see what works best.

Digging around on a piece of ground in my home town
waiting for someone or something to show me the way.
Sue Jones

Joined: Nov 02, 2011
Posts: 13
They were in buckets after harvest, and I got distracted by other things and did not store them properly. Just a mistake.

My real question has to do with the quality of the roots after freezing, in terms of their ability to store well, and edibility.

As of this morning, I have moved some roots to the refrigerator, and the rest to a make shift outdoor clamp-like set up. I am using a very large styrofoam cooler, placed next to basement wall, packed with the roots and sawdust inside, and then covered on the exterior with leaves and cardboard.
Raven Sutherland

Joined: Nov 09, 2010
Posts: 128
Location: Massachusetts
well how cold did it get up there in Vermont?
the roots do have a good deal of moisture and
once it freezes can rupture cells as the ice crystals form.

Maybe take a sampling and try to cook them and see how the texture is.
Vegetables are frozen for eating later...so, perhaps they have only a little frost burn
and once thawed you could peel that away if needed and "maybe" you did
yourself a favor. Sometimes there are good accidents.
Sue Jones

Joined: Nov 02, 2011
Posts: 13
It went down into the low teens a couple of nights in a row.

Thanks for your input Raven.

I will try cooking a few and see what they are like.
Eric Thompson

Joined: Apr 23, 2011
Posts: 204
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
As for storage, they will have basically no storage capacity left. Freezing breaks down the cell membranes and removes natural barriers and protections -- on a micro level it becomes more like a big canal system than a group of tiny lakes. That's also why it becomes discolored and mushy after freezing. Anything with a "soft" spot won't store at all.
If you have some freezer space, stick them in and take some out every time you want to make soup or some boiled veggies. They will be edible for a while, and even if some lose all firmness, a nice soup forgives all...
Sue Jones

Joined: Nov 02, 2011
Posts: 13
Thank you so much for this information. It is very helpful.
subject: Accidental freezing of root crops - what to do?
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