Protect Your Harvest and Make it Last
When the abundant carrot harvest rolls in, it’s time to plan for storing them to last as long as possible. Proper carrot storage through the winter months will help them last and keep them from rotting.
The first step in storing carrots actually begins with your planting plan.
So plan for when you can harvest so that you have a steady supply of fresh carrots throughout the growing season. Then for the last winter crops, you’ll plant your largest batch of carrots.
We enjoyed reading Lorraine’s take in this article shared from her site: VegetableGardeningWithLorraine.com.1)http://www.vegetable-gardening-with-lorraine.com/storing-carrots.html
by Lorraine Ayre, Vegetable Gardening with Lorraine
Number one rule: store only perfect, undamaged carrots. Eat the weird or damaged ones fresh.
Store only perfect undamaged carrots.
I like to grow multiple, sequential plantings of carrots so that I have plenty to eat fresh throughout the growing season, plus have a large final crop to store over the winter.
I plant the final crop for storage in mid-summer. To know exactly when to plant 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.
Who Knew? Storing Carrots in the Garden Itself
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 is an excellent solution if you have too many carrots to store in the fridge and don’t have a cold root cellar.
This only works where the winters are cold enough to stop the carrots from growing. If winters are very mild, carrots will keep trying to grow beyond maturity, and will become woody and tough.
To “store” carrots in place in the garden over the winter, you must mulch them deeply.
A good foot or two of nice fluffy deciduous leaves works great. The leaves will pack down considerably over the winter, especially if you have a lot of snow, but they still make surprisingly good insulation.
You want to keep the ground from freezing, so you can dig down under the snow and leaves once a month or so to dig up part of a row. Make sure to mark where the row is, with deep enough stakes to be able to find it when the garden is under a blanket of snow.
Mid-winter harvest is a feel-good activity, that helps me make it through what sometimes feels like the bleakness of winter. (Of course, it’s only “bleak” if I forget to get outside and really see what is going on in nature.)
Editor’s Note: This can be a lot of extra work to cover the beds and then to move enough off at a time to dig down and harvest some. So if you do have another storage option, you might do that first.
Storing Carrots in the Fridge
Carrots store the longest if kept at just above 32°F and about 95% humidity. Most refrigerators are warmer and drier than this, but still do a fair job of storing carrots for 2-3 months if you prep the carrots correctly and provide humidity to keep the carrots from drying out.
Carrots store the longest if kept at just above 32°F and about 95% humidity.
To prep carrots for longest fridge life, take care when harvesting to do the following:
How to Prepare Carrots for Fridge Storage
- Brush off most of the soil
- Do not wash the carrots. A bit of soil helps carrots resist decay
- Let the carrots dry for a few hours in the sun. No more than half a day, just enough to “seal” the skin
- Cut the tops off, close to the root
How to Store in the Refrigerator
- Make sure the carrots are dry
- Place in a plastic bag with some holes punched in it
- Line produce drawer with lightly moistened paper towel, lay carrot bag on top of it
The paper towel acts as a humidor. Keep an eye on the carrots in the bag to make sure that none of them get wet, or the whole batch can spoil in a hurry.
Next up, the popular root cellar option.
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 VegetableGardeningWithLorraine.com.2)http://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.
Now, for carrot recipes…
Recipes from Backyard-Vegetable-Gardening.com3)http://www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com/carrot-recipes.html
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 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
Here are some favorite carrot recipes:
Classic Carrot Cake with Bourbon Orange Cream Cheese Frosting –
This carrot recipe makes a moist and delicious cake, one of our favorite desserts of all time.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 (15 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white 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 Bourbon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon orange zest
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.
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 and then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Fold in orange zest.
After the cakes have cooled completely, place 1 cake on a cake plate and spread a layer of frosting on top. Place another cake on top of the frosting layer. Add another layer of frosting. Place the 3rd cake on top and then frost the top and sides of the whole cake, covering it completely. Store in the refrigerator.
Editor’s Note: Yum! We’re trying this one next:
Curry Carrot Soup
This carrot recipe makes a delicious spicy soup with complex flavors, good as a first course or main course.
2 tablespoons olive, sunflower or coconut oil
1 1/2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and cut into bite sized chunks
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons curry powder
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy cream (or omit and double the milk)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add carrots and onion. Saute over medium heat for about 7 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown.
Reduce heat to medium low and stir in butter and garlic. Cook another 10 minutes or until vegetables start to brown.
Add curry powder and stir well to combine. Cook 1 minute.
Pour broth into pot and turn up heat to medium high until it simmers. Add in salt, black pepper, cumin and cinnamon and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Using a blender, puree the contents of the pot in batches until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Pour in cream and milk and cook another 2 minutes over low heat until soup is heated through.
Editor’s Note: If you prefer some chunks in your soup, then reserve a portion that does not get blended, or, use a handy hand blender. That’s what we usually use. It’s simpler and less messy than a blender: just make sure it stays submerged, else it will splatter).
Serve immediately, garnishing with roasted cashews and parsley.
To roast nuts, the tastiest way is to shake over flame in an iron skillet with a tad of olive or sunflower oil. For a shortcut, we just place them on parchment paper in our toaster oven and toast them.
For more yummy recipes visit Backyard Vegetable Gardening4)http://www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com/carrot-recipes.html
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