Carrots are great additions to any meal and have many health benefits, from improving eye-health to lowering cholesterol. If you harvest carrots or purchase them in bulk from your local grocery store, your kitchen table is probably full of carrots waiting for proper storage. We’ll show you how to store carrots the right way, whether you want them for short or long term storage.
Carrots are incredibly versatile when it comes to food preparation in any course of a meal. Enjoy baby carrots with dip as an appetizer, slivered and added to a salad, julienned and glazed as a side dish, cut and cooked in an entree, and grated and baked into a cake.
Not only are carrots delicious, but they are also highly nutritious. These sweet and crispy veggies are high in beta carotene, fiber, and antioxidants, and are a great way to boost weight loss. Storing carrots properly to prevent spoilage provides you with a healthy boost of goodness all year-round.
- Store Carrots The Right Way
- What to Know Before Storing Carrots
- The Best Way to Store Carrots
- Storing Carrots in the Refrigerator
- Freezing Carrots for Long Term Storage
- How to Pressure Can Carrots
- Preserve Carrots by Pickling
- Dehydrated Carrots for Convenient Storage
- Making Spicy Mexican-Style Pickled Carrots
- What Can You Do with Dehydrated Carrots?
Store Carrots The Right Way
Have you ever opened the crisper drawer of your fridge to grab a couple of crunchy carrots, only to discover them limp and faded? Learn how to keep fresh carrots crisp and how to prepare them for long term storage.
What to Know Before Storing Carrots
Storing fresh carrots, whether you store them in a root cellar, refrigerator, freezer, or in jars, is a great way to enjoy their health benefits both short term and long term. However, storing carrots that are beginning to spoil or are unhealthy is just a waste of time. Here are a few things to check for before storing carrots.
Choosing and Preparing Carrots
Carrots should be firm and smooth. If they are limp and flexible, then they have begun to age. If the green tops are still attached, make sure that they are brightly colored and not wilted. Avoid carrots that are cracked or forked.
The color of the carrots should be a healthy, bright orange. The deeper the color, the more beta carotene that carrots contain. The core of the carrot contains sugars, so the larger the diameter of the carrot, the sweeter the flavor.
The Best Way to Store Carrots
The best way to store carrots for long term storage is to save them in the root cellar covered in sand or left in the ground. Stored in this manner, they stay fresh for up to six months. The root cellar is also where to store potatoes for optimal freshness.
There are a few steps to take to store carrots fresh in the cellar or another dark place in your home. Pour a couple of inches of damp sand or sawdust into the bottom of a bucket or box and set the unwashed, whole carrots in a layer on the sand. Make sure that the carrots do not touch each other. Continue layering the moist sand and carrots until the bucket or box is full.
If you live in a cool growing zone, leave the carrots in the ground. Before a hard frost, place a one-foot layer of mulch or straw over the top of the carrot bed. Do this to prevent the soil and carrots from freezing. Pull away the mulch and harvest the carrots as needed.
Storing Carrots in the Refrigerator
Store baby carrots and regular carrots for up to one month in the refrigerator. The critical thing to remember when storing them with this method is to keep the carrots and other veggies such as turnips and parsnips separate from fruits like apples and pears.
These fruits release ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process of different vegetables and fruits. Here is how to store carrots in the fridge for the short term.
When trying to decide where to store carrots in the fridge, we recommend placing them in the vegetable drawer for prolonged freshness. Cut the green tops off carrot roots before storing to prevent them from wilting prematurely. The greens draw moisture from the root, so separate them first.
Wrap the carrot tops in a damp paper towel and use them as soon as possible. Place trimmed and unpeeled carrots in a plastic bag and store in the drawer for up to two weeks. For more extended storage, place carrots in a large container, fill with cold water, and cover with a lid.
Refrigerate them and change the water every few days. Do this to keep the carrots fresh for up to one month.
Freezing Carrots for Long Term Storage
Carrots that are frozen last for up to one year. The freezer is great for long term storage, but you must blanch them first to stop enzymes and preserve their color and texture. Here is how to store carrots in the freezer.
Cut the green stems off the carrots and wash them thoroughly. Cut each carrot into equal slices and place them into a stockpot of boiling water. Boil whole baby carrots for five minutes and julienned or sliced carrots for three minutes.
After blanching, place the carrots into a large pot of ice water, and then strain into a colander. Place the blanched carrots in freezer bags and label each one with the contents and date before freezing.
How to Pressure Can Carrots
Canning carrots in a water bath with lemon juice is a great way to keep them edible for up to five years. Canned carrots are convenient for adding to stews, soups, or for making glazed carrots. Here is how to preserve carrots without lemon juice by using a pressure canner.
Place the jars into the canner and heat the water to a simmer while you prepare the carrots and bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Peel, wash, and cut the carrots into desired sizes. Slice them into bite-sized pieces or leave them the length of the jar.
Pack the carrots into the hot jars, leaving an inch of headspace, and add half a teaspoon of salt to each one. Ladle the boiled water into each jar until the carrots are just covered. Push out any air bubbles with a knife, and place the rims and lids onto the jars until finger tight.
Process the jars in the canner at ten pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool the canner to zero pressure before removing the lid. Allow the canning jars to cool for about ten minutes before removing. Check the caps after 24 hours.
Preserve Carrots by Pickling
Pickling carrots is not only a great way to preserve them, but they taste great, as well. These tangy treats are a tasty addition to spicy chicken wings or on a hummus sandwich.
Combine the white vinegar, water, salt, pepper, and sugar in the pot, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and cool slightly. Pack the jars with the diced carrots, leaving a half-inch of headspace.
Pour the brine solution over the carrots until covered and seal the jars with lids. Refrigerate 12 hours before enjoying them. Pickled carrots last up to a month in the fridge.
Dehydrated Carrots for Convenient Storage
Another handy way to preserve and store carrots is to dry them. Dried carrots last up to ten years when stored correctly. Add them to soups, stews, or rehydrate them as a side dish.
Blanch carrots before dehydrating them. Begin by peeling, washing, and slicing the carrots into thin slices. Use a mandolin slicer for even pieces.
Bring a pan of water to a rapid boil and add the carrots. Blanch them for about four minutes before putting them into an ice bath. Strain the cooled carrots and spread them in single layers onto the dehydrator trays.
Set the dehydrator to 125°F and dry them until they are crispy. Place the dried carrots into an airtight container and label it with the date.
Making Spicy Mexican-Style Pickled Carrots
Once you have mastered the simple carrot pickling recipe, why not try something with a little more zing? These tangy and crunchy pickled carrots add zest to any dish that enjoys spice. Add them to tacos, over the top of enchiladas, or as a relish on hamburgers.
Peel and slice the carrots and peppers into quarter-inch rounds. Peel and thinly slice the onion and toss all veggies in a large bowl. Pack the carrots, peppers, and onions into the Mason jars, leaving half an inch of headspace. Add a clove of garlic, one bay leaf, and thyme sprig to each jar.
Add all remaining ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the veggies until covered. Tap the jar lightly to remove any air bubbles and secure them with lids. Refrigerate up to one month.
What Can You Do with Dehydrated Carrots?
You have all of those dried carrots, but what can you do with them? How about making homemade soup mixes that are ready to cook on a cold winter day? These handy soup jars also make great gifts for the holidays.
Add the ingredients to a Mason jar. If you are giving this soup jar as a gift, it’s visually pleasing to add each ingredient one at a time to create colorful, textured layers. If you do not have a jar, store the soup mix in a sealable container or ziplock bag.
Storing carrots the wrong way can ruin a year’s worth of harvest. While these root vegetables may appear hardy, they can quickly spoil when stored under unsuitable conditions.
Storing carrots in the root cellar, fridge, or freezer to prevent spoilage provides you with fresh carrots for months to come. Canning and drying carrots gives you even more time to enjoy their goodness.
We’re happy we could show you how to store carrots the right way, and we hope that you’ll share our carrot storage tips with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.