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TOPIC: How to keep your roots fresh for months

How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30770

I've had a lot of diggers ask me how to keep roots fresh recently, so I thought I'd post my response here.

Some dealers want all the dirt left on and some want a slight rinse off. You're best bet is to go somewhere in between until you know what your dealer wants. For roots that I dig, I put them in a bucket of water, move them around a little bit, then take them out. Right after I pull them out of the water, I pack them in tupperware with a layer of moist paper towels on the bottom and top, then straight to the fridge.

The goal when keeping roots fresh is to trick them into thinking they're still in the ground, dormant for winter. So to best mimic winter conditions, you must consider temperature and moisture content.

Temperature is probably the most important. The temp should be kept between 34o-39oF. Too cold will freeze the roots, too warm and they will either start to dry out, or start to sprout. Most peoples refrigerators are set around 35o-38oF. If you notice some ice crystals in your milk or water, then your fridge is set too low for ginseng. If you keep your fridge on the warm side(+40oF), they should still be ok, but they’re more likely to dry out, or rot if the moisture level is off.

Moisture content is also very important when keeping roots fresh. There are several different ways to keep your roots from drying out in the fridge, but fresh moss is the probably the preferred method. If you use moss try to get good clean rock moss. Moss from logs is alright, just clean off all the peices of wood and debris. I personally use moist paper towels. Some people use peat moss or sifted soil from a ginseng patch. If you plan on keeping the roots fresh for over a month, I would recommend using peat moss or sifter forest soil. Regardless of the medium you use, you must make sure the moisture content is correct. If the medium is to dry, the roots will start to dry out, though be it, slowly. If the medium is too wet, the roots will start to rot. It's better to be a little on the dry side, than wet. If they start to dry out, you can just continue to dry them, if they rot, they're ruined. Whatever medium you are using you can check the moisture content by squeezing it firmly in your hand. There should be a steady dripping of water when squeezed firmly. If you get a stream of water, its too wet. If you only get a few drips, its too dry.

Once you have the temp and moisture level right, you can keep roots fresh for months. You should still check the moisture content once a week. I almost always give the roots a light misting when I check them each week. This is more of a theory, but I believe letting some fresh air in the container inhibits bacteria and mold growth as well.

This is just how I learned to keep roots fresh, there are several different methods. As long as you are keeping them moist and cold, they should be fine. Once you get it down though, you can keep roots in the fridge for months, and shop around for the best price.

Good luck out there everyone!

John

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30799

One thing I forgot to mention, that's very important, is to always remove any piece of stem that may still be attached to the root. For some reason the stem always rots, and starts to rot anything it's touching. To remove the stem, hold the very end of the neck in one hand, just below where it attaches to the stem. Now grip the stem firmly, and twist. If you twist one way and it doesn't break, try the other way.

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30837

Thanks for the info, very well written and explained.

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30874

Experience shows this is solid information John
may I point out a typo C(Celsius) instead of F (Fahrenheit)
I believe you meant to reference degrees in \"F\"
Thanks again for sharing your professional wisdom and common sense

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30879

Herbuyer wrote:

Experience shows this is solid information John
may I point out a typo C(Celsius) instead of F (Fahrenheit)
I believe you meant to reference degrees in \"F\"
Thanks again for sharing your professional wisdom and common sense


Thank you herbuyer, I certainly did mean Fahrenheit. 35oC would be a high temp if you were trying to dry them lol. Thank you for your kind words also.

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30880

Deleted.

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30903

Oh right, thank you Frank. That's definitely a nice feature, I just corrected it.

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Re:How to keep your roots fresh for months 3 years 2 months ago #30938

Nice post Vtseng!

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