Have you ever gone into grandma’s basement and seen a few pairs of stockings hanging from the rafters? This trick goes back decades, but many people have never heard of it before. Preserving your food in pantyhose—sometimes called stockings—is a great trick that doesn’t cost a lot and can increase the shelf life of your garden produce.
Using pantyhose for food preservation works well for plants that need room to breathe and tend to rot when left in buckets. Anything that you would typically store in the basement like onions, garlic, and potatoes can all benefit from pantyhose storage.
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Learn more about how to preserve food in pantyhose with these tips.
Many homesteaders know that leaving ripe produce together in the same area tends to make neighboring fruit ripen as well. Bananas are commonly sold in a bunch, but it can be difficult to eat all of the bananas before they go bad at the same time.
If you only have a little piece of pantyhose, you can use it to wrap the stems of the bunch to decrease the ethylene gas, which causes the bananas to ripen.
The pantyhose trick is commonly used to preserve onions. These vegetables do well in dark and dry storage, but the key to long-lasting preservation is to keep them apart. Many homesteaders store their onions in large bins that can get overcrowded. The best way to store onions is to allow them space to breathe, which will cut down on the chances of rot.
Use pantyhose to keep onions apart as much as possible. Pick up a cheap pair at the store or consider buying a box if you have lots of onions to preserve. After the onions have dried a few weeks after harvest, you can start to put them away. Cut off any roots on the bottom of the onion and leave the stem about one inch long.
Place one onion in the bottom of the hose and then tie a knot in the pantyhose. This knot keeps the next onion from touching the onions underneath. Continue putting onions in the pantyhose and tying knots until you’ve reached the top. Do the same on the other leg of the pantyhose and then use the hose’s bodice part to hang up on a hook.
When you need to use an onion, simply snip below the top knot of the lowest onion, and the rest of the onions will stay in place.
Storing garlic in pantyhose is another option that helps keep the garlic fresh. Garlic can benefit from being stored in a perforated bag that allows air circulation. Pantyhose is an excellent option for this as they are breathable and lightweight.
To keep garlic in pantyhose, simply follow the same directions for the onions. You’ll be able to store much more garlic in a pair of pantyhose than onions as well.
Clean off the garlic after allowing it to dry for a few weeks after harvesting. Trim the top and the roots so that the pantyhose doesn’t snag. Drop one bulb into the bottom of the pantyhose and tie a knot.
Continue with the rest of the garlic and then hang the entire piece from a hook in a dry and dark place of the home. To use a bulb, simply cut it from the strand, making sure to keep that bottom knot in place.
Another garden jewel that many people grow is potatoes. This food is packed with nutrition and is an everyday staple in many homes. Storing potatoes can be tricky, though, as any dampness will cause them to rot. Keeping your potatoes in pantyhose allows air circulation and helps prolong the shelf life.
To store potatoes in pantyhose, wipe them with a dry cloth to remove any extra dirt. Snip off any eyes that have grown as well. Follow the same steps to store potatoes by dropping them into the bottom of the leg and tying a knot at the top.
If you have multiple kinds of potatoes to store, like russet, red, or yellow, consider putting all of the same kind of potatoes into one pair of pantyhose to make it easy to use.
For those who make their own cheese, consider storing the cheese in pantyhose instead of using more expensive cheesecloth. The savings are great, and using pantyhose in a pinch can help extend the amount of cheese you can preserve for the future.
If you have an orchard, you’ll likely have a bunch of pears, peaches, or plums that need to be processed all at the same time. Stone fruits should last a good amount of time if stored correctly and in a cool and dry place.
Use pantyhose to store these delicious fruits by placing them stem side down into the pantyhose. Tie a knot at the top and store them on a hook where you can keep an eye on them.
While storing meat in pantyhose isn’t going to preserve them for an extended amount of time, doing so can help with freezer burn. Wrapping meat in pantyhose provides a barrier between the meat and the air in the storage bag. While pantyhose does stretch, be careful not to rip the hose if trying to store a large roast.
Preserving food in pantyhose may sound funny, but it’s a great way to keep your produce from spoiling and prolonging the shelf life. Try storing all of these items, plus anything else in the garden that requires dry cold storage. Most produce that requires air circulation can benefit from pantyhose storage.
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