Original site in English

Ask a Specialist Answer


What should I add to my water to help keep my vegetables for storage?


There are three common wash water addi­tives used for washing organic vegetables. One is food-grade hydrogen peroxide, 35%. This should be diluted down to 3% in the wash water. That would be one part 35% H2O2, to 11 parts water. This product is corrosive, so handle it at full strength only when wearing long rubber gloves and goggles. H2O2 can degrade organic materi­als, bacteria, and organically approved or non-acceptable pesticide residues.

Another product is peroxyacetic acid, with Tsunami, a brand name for this blended product. Use this at dilution noted in the instructions. It is advisable that a final clean water rinse be done after the use of hydrogen peroxide or peroxyacetic acid before putting into long-term storage.

Let the root vegetables mostly dry before put­ting into storage. Some producers put these in large food-grade plastic bags in open-top totes to retain some moisture. Periodically check to make sure the roots are not too moist and getting moldy. For very long storage, you want some moisture so the roots do not dry out. Packing root vegetables in clean, slightly damp sand also works.

Chlorine also can be used, but only in fairly low concentrations. The organic regulations require that the effluent after washing contain no more than 4 PPM chlorine, which is the level allowed in drinking water. You can have your concentrations higher when washing the produce, but the chlorine must basically all be consumed and volatilized by the action the chlo­rine has on the bacteria and organic matter in the water. This makes the use of chlorine on a small-scale farm more problematic, since you will need to test the waste water to verify you meet the regulatory requirements.

Posted: Feb 2015
Answer By: Harriet Behar