If you’ve just come back from the farmer’s market with a score of yummy carrots, you’re probably thinking two things: what am I going to make, and what am I going to do with the rest of these carrots? What you should be asking is, how long are carrots good for?
Knowing the answer to that seemingly simple question could mean the difference between whether your carrots ever make it into that mouthwatering stew you have in mind. Carrots are delicious root vegetables that offer a bounty of health benefits to consumers all across the United States.
Their beautiful, bright orange color comes from beta-carotene, which is a type of antioxidant our body uses to convert into the much needed Vitamin A. These antioxidants are the same nutrients essential to reducing the risks of particular health concerns like cancer.
To reap the rewards of such a healthy veggie, you need to know the window of time you have to eat it. When do carrots go bad, and what are the warning signs a carrot is about to bite the big one? In this article, we delve into all those questions and more!
When Do Carrots Go Bad?
Knowing how long carrots last in short-term and long-term storage options is an excellent way for you to plan how to preserve them. If you shelled out the money for organic carrots, strive to get the most out of what you bought before they begin to deteriorate. The information here shows you just how long carrots last under each circumstance.
If you don’t use them right away, you may wonder when different types of produce spoil. Do onions go bad without proper storage? When do cucumbers go bad? Just like with any fruit or vegetable, correct preservation methods are key to ensure that your food doesn’t rot before you use it.
It’s easy to tell if your produce is spoiled. Mushy, smelly, wrinkly, moldy fruits and vegetables should be tossed immediately. There’s no point in cutting off salvageable pieces, either.
How Long are Carrots Good for Short Term?
The answer to how long carrots last depends on how you intend to store the carrots. Carrots last only about three to five days at room temperature and put off a gas known as ethylene that quickly causes it to deteriorate.
Placing it in a plastic bag also speeds up this process of rotting, as the airtight seal traps excess moisture within the container and causes mold and mildew to grow on the carrot.
If storing them outside of the refrigerator, place them in a root cellar, or an area of the home that remains below 40°F to make them last longer. How long do carrots last in the refrigerator? If kept inside the fridge, however, the shelf life of these veggies increases to three to four weeks.
In this case, storing it inside a bag in the refrigerator is perfectly fine, as long as you poke holes in the plastic to increase air circulation. Cooked carrots also belong in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container. These don’t last as long as unpeeled, fresh carrots, however, and only stay edible for up to five days.
To help your carrots last longer, if they still have their bright green tops, remove them as soon as you bring them home. The greens often cause the vegetables to lose moisture and dry out faster.
The shelf life of food in the refrigerator depends on what edibles you are talking about. How long are boiled eggs good for? Boiled eggs last for a few days in the fridge. What about sour cream or potatoes? Examine each type of food individually to determine optimal storage time in the fridge.
How Long Do Carrots Last in the Freezer?
If you don’t plan on using your carrots right away, then a long-term storage solution is the best option for you. The first method is freezing, which requires minimal prep work compared to canning and provides a longer shelf life than storing them in the fridge.
Freezing fresh carrots increases the vegetable’s longevity for up to one year. To use this food storage strategy, peel and cut the carrots how you intend to use them. Slice them or shred them however you like.
There’s no need to freeze whole carrots unless planning to freeze baby carrots. After you finish preparing them, place them in boiling water for approximately two minutes to blanch them.
Once the two minutes are up, toss them into the bowl of cold water. Remove them from the bowl after another minute, then dry them off with a paper towel. Place them inside a Ziploc bag or airtight container with the expiration date on them and store them in the freezer.
What about ginger? How long is ginger good for in the freezer? You don’t even have to blanch ginger for freezer storage. Either freeze pieces whole or peel and slice it for easier access when you need it.
How Long Do Carrots Last When Canned?
Another way to store carrots long term is by canning them. This preservation method is the best way to store carrots for the long-term. There are two ways to can carrots, using either the hot pack or raw pack techniques.
If you intend on canning raw carrots, then blanching them first is not necessary. For the hot pack option, blanch them ahead of time for optimal storage.
According to the USDA, canning carrots fresh requires the use of a pressure canner. The processing time for this procedure generally takes anywhere from 25-30 minutes. Once completed, your carrots last three to five years in the pantry.
You can also learn how to pickle carrots for long-term preservation, too. Pickling adds unique character to carrots and other vegetables and they can last for years.
How to Tell if a Carrot is Bad
So, now you know how long carrots are suitable for, but how do you know when carrots go bad? The critical characteristics to pay attention to are how the carrot looks, feels and smells. Any foul odors indicate bad carrots, which means tossing them out immediately.
Soft carrots are still salvageable, though slimy carrots require throwing away.When it comes to the appearance of the carrots, there is some wiggle room in terms of abnormalities. The protective skin on the outside of the carrot may sometimes develop black spots.
Scraping these away solves the problem quickly, while the rest of the carrot is safe to eat. Black mold spots, though, are never safe to eat. Even scraping off a small piece won’t save the carrot.
The whole thing needs tossing out. A white blush is another common occurrence on the outside of the carrots. These blots indicate that the veggie is dehydrated and drying out, but is still safe to consume.
Now you know how to tell if a carrot is bad by using these simple strategies. With these early warning signs of deterioration, there’s far less of a chance of you pulling out slimy carrots from your vegetable drawer. The best practice for keeping your carrots fresh and crisp is by storing them how you intend to use them.
If you found these food storage tips for when do carrots go bad useful, then please remember to pass along the information of how long are carrots good for to all the veggies lovers in your life on Facebook and Pinterest.