Protect Your Harvest and Make it Last
When the abundant carrot harvest rolls in, it’s time to process them. But how to store carrots to last as long as possible? With proper preparation and storage your carrots can last for months and see you to the next harvest if you’re planting two crops per year.
The first step in storing carrots actually begins with planning when to plant your carrots.
When to Plant Carrots
Many gardeners plant carrots in spring for fall harvest and plant again in fall for spring harvest. When you plant, and how well your carrots do will depend on your growing zone as well as the soil conditions.
Some gardeners plant their largest carrot crop in autumn. This is especially important if you have limited garden space like we do. Some folks grow multiple, sequential plantings for year round carrot production. That’s great if your climate and growing space will allow it.
How Long Does it Take Carrots to Grow?
Average Time for Carrots to Grow
- 18 days from Seeds to Sprout
- 75 days to harvest
To plan for your fall harvest, take the “days to maturity” date from the seed packet, and count backwards on your calendar from the first fall frost date in your region. To plan your spring harvest, do the same, except counting backwards from the last frost of spring, will get you your optimal planting date. You’ll need to further refine that base on your particular growing zone.
So plan your plantings and crops accordingly. This may also help as you’re deciding what to grow.
Carrots grow best in well aerated, loose soil and full sun.
Here’s the quick summary on how to store carrots for best results.
- Store the best looking and healthiest, undamaged carrots.
- Use the “ugly” carrots first as they may not have the cellular fortitude to last as long.
Store the best, undamaged carrots. Eat the weird ones first.
Carrot Storage in the Ground in Colder Climates for ~3 months
Unless you live in high latitudes (or altitudes) with severe, prolonged subzero weather, in many US climates you can actually leave carrots in the ground through the winter.
This won’t work in regions that are above freezing more often than below it during winter. If you have too many warmer days, the carrots will continue growing which will make the tough and woody.
Blanket Your Beds With Mulch
For wintery regions, this is free, protected, refrigerated storage space. To help keep the carrots from freezing, mulch the carrot beds thickly. Snow will also serve as insulation. However, in really cold regions, best to get them out of the ground by November according to Canadian writer, Jim Hole in the Edmonton Journal.
If you’re surrounded by trees as we are, this is where you can put your leaf mulch to good use. If you don’t have much free leaf mulch, we also free wood chip mulch.
There’s something special about a mid-winter garden harvest. It feels good to be out and active in the garden, connecting with the soil and fresh grown produce. If you’re in an area with a lot of snow, you may decide you’ve done enough snow shoveling of sidewalks and driveway. and that it’s more work than it’s worth for harvesting a few carrots. Fortunately, there are other options.
To “store” carrots in the ground in the garden over the winter, you must mulch them deeply.
Storing Carrots in the Fridge
Optimal storage temperatures for carrots is just above 32°F with 95% humidity. Most refrigerators are warmer and drier than this. However you can still store carrots for up to 3 months if you prep the carrots correctly and provide humidity to keep the carrots from drying out.
How to Prepare Carrots for Fridge Storage
To prep carrots for longest fridge life, take care when harvesting to do the following:
- Brush off most of the soil
- No need to wash the carrots, as soil residue helps carrots resist decay
- Let the carrots dry for a few hours in the sun, if possible. This helps to cure and protect them from getting bad spots.
- Cut of the tops to ~1 inch.
How to Store in the Refrigerator
- DRY CARROTS: Place dry carrots in a plastic bag, wet spots can quickly go bad and turn black and moldy
- PLASTIC BAG: We use a zipper bag that’s not zipped to allow air flow
- HUMIDIFY: Lining produce drawer or bin with lightly moistened paper towel helps boost humidify level
Next up, the popular root cellar option.
Carrots store the longest if kept at just above 32°F and about 95% humidity.
Storing Carrots in a Root Cellar
Not many people are blessed with a root cellar these days it’s on our long list :-)), but if you are, you can store carrots for many months.
How to Store Carrots in to Last in Your Root Cellar
Pack your carrots in slightly damp sand or sawdust in Rubbermaid tubs, plastic food buckets or other large containers.
Drill some holes in the lid for ventilation, and check the containers once in awhile to make sure that your carrots are okay. The closer you can come to just-above 32°F and 95% humidity, the longer your carrots will store, up to 6 months.
Do not store carrots near fruit.
Do not store carrots near any fruits. Fruit gives off a ethylene oxide, a gas that speeds ripening of adjacent fruit. It will cause rotting of carrots and other root crops in storage.
Other Methods of Storing Carrots
For more methods of storing carrots, you may enjoy visiting Vegetable-Gardening-With-Lorraine.com.1)https://www.vegetable-gardening-with-lorraine.com/storing-carrots.html
For some yummy carrot recipes, but first, some useful, fun and interesting carrot things on Amazon that you may enjoy. We especially like the How Carrots Won the Trojan War book.
Most folks think of carrot recipes as making side dishes or raw vegetable trays. Carrots can be eaten raw or steamed, boiled, sauteed, roasted, juiced or made into bread, cakes and cookies. Because carrots have a fairly high sugar content, they are a great addition to any salty or spicy dish. Before we get to some of our favorite carrot recipes, here’s some nutrient information:
Nutrition in One Ounce of Carrot
- 10 calories
- 2 carbs
- 9 mg calcium
- 3 mg magnesium
- 66 mg potassium
- 22 mg sodium
A medium sized carrot weighs approximately 3 oz., so for one carrot, you have triple that above nutrition:
Nutrition in 1 Medium Carrot
- 30 calories
- 6 carbs
- 27 mg calcium
- 9 mg magnesium
- 198 mg potassium
- 66 mg sodium
- 2.9 g sugar
- Vitamin A – 203% RDA
- Vitamin C – 6% RDA
- Vitamin B6 5% RDA
Now, for scrumptious, yet simple recipes…
Carrot cake is one of our family favorites and this carrot cake recipe is a moist and delicious and takes the typical carrot cake to gourmet status that’s great for holidays or any celebration.
Classic Carrot Cake with Cointreau Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
We’ve altered this carrot cake recipe some, including adding nut flour and substituting healthier sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey instead of confectioners and cane sugar. Adapted from Backyard-Vegetable-Gardening.com, where you can find the original.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute with Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for GF)
- 1/4 cup chestnut flour (sub. with almond or other nut flour, or just add 1/4 cup more of all-purpose)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups grated carrots (approx. 2 medium)
- 1 (15 oz) can crushed pineapple
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups maple sugar, (powdered of granules)(sub. with cane sugar)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Bourbon Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau liquor (sub. w/orange brandy or other favorite)
- 1 cup honey (sub. with confectioners sugar for more traditional recipe and stiffer frosting)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
Instructions – Cake:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans.
- Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots, pineapple, oil and sugar.
- Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- Stir gently to combine.
- Add flour mixture to the bowl and stir well until combined.
- Stir in walnuts.
- Pour mixture into prepared pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and then remove from pans.
Instructions – Frosting:
- While cakes are cooling, make the frosting
- In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until well combined and creamy
- Mix in the bourbon
- Gradually stir in the powdered sugar
- Fold in orange zest
- Place 1 cake on a cake plate and spread a layer of frosting on top
- Place another cake on top of the first frosted cake and frost the middle layer of cake
- Place the 3rd cake on top and frost the top and sides of the whole cake, covering it completely.
- Store in the refrigerator.
We LOVE this super simple, delightfully delicious Creamy Carrot Curry Soup.
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