Fresh carrots are every gardener’s delight, and who can resist munching on whole carrots after a trip to the farmer’s market? Unfortunately, carrots do not come with an easy expiration date. Eating fresh veggies every day is a great way to boost your health, but how long do carrots last and how do you store them?
Carrots are a root vegetable that is typically orange in color, but these crunchy veggies also come in shades of purple, yellow, red, white, and black. They have a wide range of health benefits and are rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, and potassium.
This versatile vegetable tastes great as a crunchy snack or cooked in a wide range of dishes, but raw carrots quickly turn to rotten carrots if you do not take the right steps to keep them fresh. A carrot’s shelf life ranges from one week to a year or more, depending on how you store them.
Storing Fresh Carrots Short and Long Term
Whether you buy carrots from the farmer’s market or store or are harvesting carrots of your own, you need to know how to preserve the extras. How long do carrots last in the fridge, and can they be frozen? These are common questions when it comes to storing vegetables.
While it’s easy to store fresh carrots in both of these ways, it’s essential to take specific steps before storing them to ensure that you do not end up with bad carrots after all of your efforts.
The shelf life of carrots diminishes if you store them improperly. When carrots begin to go bad, their surface gets white dots or white blush, and slimy carrots with a mushy consistency mean that there is excess moisture. Limp carrots are another sign that they are on their way to spoiling.
We’ll show you how to keep carrots fresh in the root cellar, fridge, and freezer, as well as a technique for extending their shelf life with canning.
Selecting the Best Carrots for Optimal Storage
Carrots are crunchy, sweet, and tasty, whether you enjoy them as a healthy snack or to add flavor and color to meals. But, they only go so far during the storing process if you choose unhealthy or overripe roots.
There are several things to check when choosing healthy carrots from the green top and tapered end to the protective skin texture and color.
Whether you buy carrots from the store or are growing carrots from seeds yourself, when you pick them, select medium-sized carrots that have tapered ends, rather than thick roots that tend to be tough. Make sure that they are firm and bright orange with smooth skin. Bright green leaves are an indication that the carrots are fresh.
Carrots that are black near the top or limp are not fresh and are not suitable for storing. If you prefer a sweet carrot, consider picking larger ones. The size signifies that they had a longer growing period, causing it to develop more sugar.
However, these types tend to have a woody core that requires removal before eating. The color of a healthy carrot is uniform from top to bottom.
Select carrots that have an overall smooth surface and avoid them if they are distorted or twisted. Check for cracks or splits in the skin, which means that the carrot is drying out.
These cracks are the result of absorbing too much water during the growing process. Run your hands over the carrot surface and check for soft spots.
How to Keep Carrots Fresh in the Root Cellar
One of the best ways to keep carrots fresh without refrigeration is to store them in a root cellar. If you do not have a cellar, storing radish or carrots in the basement, garage, or other cool and dark location is ideal, as long as the temperature is between 32 and 38°F. Storing them in a cool and moist place keeps them fresh for four to six months.
Fill a wooden box or bucket with enough damp sand, peat moss, or sawdust to cover the carrots. Place the veggies in the material so that they are covered and insulated without touching each other.
Do not cover the container to allow for air circulation. Check the carrots periodically for spoilage, and remove any bad carrots.
How Long do Carrots Last in the Fridge?
While carrots last for a couple of days at room temperature, it’s best to keep them in the fridge to retain their freshness. How long do carrots last in the refrigerator, and how long are onions good for before they spoil?
These are very common questions, and the answer depends on how you prepare the veggie before storing them in the fridge.
Unpeeled, whole, and raw carrots last three to four weeks, while chopped and sliced carrots last approximately two to three weeks in the crisper.
How long does cauliflower last in the fridge? A whole head lasts a couple of weeks. Cooked carrots and cauliflower only last about three to five days in the fridge.
Remove the green tops off of fresh carrots to prevent the greens from pulling moisture from the roots and causing the carrots to wilt. Place whole carrots in a storage container and cover them completely with cold water.
Cover the food storage container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator. Do not store the carrots next to fruits that release ethylene, such as pears and apples.
Wrap cut carrots in a damp paper towel and place them into a plastic bag. Store the carrots in the vegetable drawer of the fridge and check them periodically for spoilage.
Place cooked carrots in an airtight container or storage bag and put them in the refrigerator for short term storage.
How Long Do Carrots Last in the Freezer?
If you have a large number of carrots that require storage but do not have a root cellar, the freezer is great for keeping your veggies from spoiling for an extended period.
How long do carrots last in the freezer? Frozen carrots last up to one year, but it’s important to blanch the veggies first to stop enzymes from maturing and preserve color, texture, flavor, and nutrients.
Remove the green tops and wash the carrots thoroughly under running water. Cut them into a consistent size, whether they are in rounds or quarters. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set it aside.
Place a stock pot filled with water on the stove over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the carrot pieces to the boiling water and bring it back to a boil for three minutes if julienned or sliced and five minutes for baby carrots.
After blanching them, scoop the carrots out of the hot water with a slotted spoon and place them promptly into the ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
Drain the carrots and portion them into freezer bags. Press as much air out as possible, seal, and label each bag with the contents and date.
Canning Carrots for Longer Shelf Life
Keeping carrots fresh in the root cellar or refrigerator is ideal, but sometimes there are so many veggies from a bountiful harvest that canning is required to ensure that none of your carrots go to waste. Canned carrots have a long shelf life and last three to five years in the pantry.
No matter which carrot types you are working with, cut off the tiny taproot and carrot top of each carrot and wash them under running water. Use a veggie peeler to peel the vegetables and slice them into half-inch pieces. Put the carrot slices into a stockpot and cover with water.
Bring the sliced carrots to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Pack the carrots into a hot Mason jar, leaving an inch of headspace. Add a teaspoon of canning salt, and pour the hot water over the veggies to cover them, making sure to still leave about an inch of headspace.
Use a knife to remove air bubbles and secure the lid in place until it is finger tight. Repeat with as many jars as necessary. Place the canning jars into the pressure canner and put the lid in place. Turn the heat to high and vent steam for three to five minutes.
Bring the pressure to ten pounds, and pressure the jars for 30 minutes. Cool the canner to zero pressure, remove the jars, and place them on a kitchen towel to cool for 24 hours.
Not only can you can carrots, did you know that you can find the perfect pickled carrot recipe? Pickled carrots have just the right amount of zing for a nice side dish or as a snack on their own.
Reaching into the refrigerator for a handful of baby carrots only to discover that they are mushy or rotten is disappointing. Storing unpeeled long carrots in the fridge provides you with fresh veggies for up to a month, but that isn’t the only way to keep your vegetables.
Long term storage methods such as freezing or canning ensure that you have tasty and healthy carrots for a year or more.
Now that we’ve answered the question of how long do carrots last, why not share the answer and our carrot storage techniques with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?