Alan Titchmarsh: Gardening expert shares how to store veg if you’re low on fridge space

Alan Titchmarsh gives advice on storing vegetables in 2013

Alan Titchmarsh often shares handy tips with viewers who are keen to keep their gardens in shape. The gardening expert has appeared on a plethora of TV shows over the years which where he has shared tips on pruning, planting and Christmas trees among other things. In 2013, for Waitroise & Partners, Alan explained how to store fruit and vegetables in the winter if you have run out of space in the fridge.

The nifty trick is the perfect way to store some of your food if Christmas shopping has left your chiller stacked full.

The old-fashioned but effective method involves sand and hay.

Alan explained: “In the olden days when they didn’t have fridges to store their fruit and veg in, they had to use different techniques.

“Out in the garden, the problem with leaving a lot of vegetables in the ground during the winter and harvesting them as they came was slugs and snails got them.”

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Alan said there are some vegetables that are better if they’re kept in the ground for longer.

“Now with parsnips they can be left outdoors in the ground because they always say frost improves a parsnip.”

He explained further that parsnips, which are often included on our Christmas Day menus, don’t tend to get eaten by much in the ground.

Sometimes they can suffer from a little bit of slug damage but this is usually around the top which can be cut out.

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However, potatoes, carrots and beetroots all need to be removed from the ground pretty sharpish.

He continued: “Now you know you can wash them put them in a cooler or a larder.

“But in the old days they used to make what was called a clamp, and that was a pile of sand on which you arranged vegetables.”

Alan showed viewers with carrots how to pile up carrots in a circle with layers of sand between each layer.

In the middle of the circle is a hole which needs to be filled with “a kind of flue” or “chimney” made of straw.

“That was to allow a little bit of ventilation in,” he added.

With the straw in the centre, Alan said to keep layering your sand and carrots until you ended up with a little “chimney of straw” coming out the top.

“As you want them, you can go and get them and you’ll find they haven’t been attacked by slugs but that they stayed cool and they’ve not gone wrinkled or dried out.

“It’s a wonderful technique if you’ve got a bit of time and you don’t want a fridge full of vegetables.”

Alan told viewers that they can also try this in their gardens with potatoes and beetroots if they want to.

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs on ITV1 on December 20 at 10am.

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