How to Store Fresh Carrots
Learn ways to store fresh carrots whether they're from your garden or the grocery store.
Packed with nutrients, carrot tops bring an earthy, carrot-y flavor to dishes. The stems tend to be tough, so stick with the ferny leaves. If those are tough to your palate, blanch them before using. Try carrot tops tossed in salads, cooked in stock, pureed into pesto or mixed with cilantro and pepper into chimichurri.
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Fresh carrots can last for quite a long time when stored properly. For instance, if you have harvested all the carrots from your garden and don’t have enough room in your refrigerator to store them using the freezer or your basement for storage is another alternative. Here are some brief instructions for storing fresh carrots:
Place carrots in the coolest place in your refrigerator. Remove the tops, which can be also used for salads or as an herb component to other dishes, but only last up to a week similar to arugula. Once you have cleaned the carrots, wrap them in damp paper towels. Storing fresh carrots this way can last for a month.
Another method is to prepare the carrots for how they are going to be used for that week’s recipes. When buying fresh carrots, I prefer to cut them into sticks and place them in a plastic container that is specifically made for vegetables then putting them at eye level in the refrigerator. This way, I am reminded they are there and it makes for a simple snack during the week when they are already prepared and ready to go. Then if you are making a soup and need diced carrots, just take those that are cut into sticks and chop in the food processor or by hand to add. However, this method will only keep carrots for a week or two.
For long term use, freezing is probably the easiest way and doesn’t require any equipment that you might not already have in your kitchen. Basically, you prepare your carrots like above by washing, cleaning, peeling and cutting. The carrots are blanched and cooled to retain their flavor and color in the freezer. Once the carrots have air-dried and cooled, they are placed in freezer bags (either resealable or vacuum-sealed).
Basement storage (root cellar):
It is possible that you don’t have much room in your freezer or refrigerator, an alternative for keeping fresh carrots is storing them in your basement or root cellar. The carrots would need similar preparation as for the refrigerator or freezer. The tops would be removed, but the carrots would not need to be peeled or cut. A large container and sand would be needed for this carrot storage option. The carrots would then be placed in the large container and sand would be layered – so that none of the carrots are visible. The sand would need to be kept moist throughout the months. For this storage, the carrots would stay fresh for several months.
Another option for long-term use during the fall/winter months would be canning. Canning can be easy, but special equipment is needed for carrots as they are a low-acid vegetable. Whether it is refrigerator, freezer, root cellar or canning, carrots have a great shelf life when it comes to vegetables and are extremely simple to grow in your own backyard.
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