Simple steps on how to store carrots to make them last for months. The key to prevent soft carrots is to remove the greens and store them in water! Also includes tips on how to long term storage in cellar, and freezing them.
Did you know that all parts of a carrot are edible? It’s true! And as hardy as these root vegetables are, if they are not stored properly they can get soggy, wilt, and go bad. Technically, soft carrots are not bad, although once they turn slimy, it is time to toss them.
There are certain tips and tricks that will help your carrots stay crisp and fresh. So, learn the best ways you can store carrots so you never have to deal with slimy carrots again.
What’s the best way to store fresh carrots?
The first thing you need to do when preparing to store carrots is cut off the green tops if your carrots still have those. The greens will continue to pull moisture out of the root until they are separated. If this happens, the carrots will be left dried out and limp. Yuck.
You do not have to throw away the greens though! Use them in a variety of tasty recipes, my favorite way to use them is for homemade vegetable broth using carrot tops.
Fresh, unpeeled carrots need to stay moist, so the best way to store them is to place the carrots with water in the refrigerator.
Place carrots is in a sealed bag or large container and then cover them completely with water. Close the container with lid or plastic wrap. Once the water starts looking cloudy (about every 4-5 days), simply dump it, refill the container, and put it back in the refrigerator.
Even store-bought baby carrots can be stored this way and stay fresh for the same amount of time.
How long can you keep carrots in the fridge?
If you use the method above, by storing the carrots in a container in water with a lid, fresh carrots will stay good for around a month.
I find that even a glass pitcher works great for storing carrots if you want something more vertical friendly in your fridge! Plus it looks pretty gorgeous!
Do not store carrots next to ethylene gas producing fruits, such as apples and pears. Like with storing bananas the ethylene gas they release speeds up the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables and can lead them to rot prematurely.
Do carrots need to be stored in the refrigerator?
For most people, this is the most practical option. But much like many other root vegetables like potatoes, and even like apples, carrots can be stored in a cool dark place, like a root cellar.
Do not wash your carrots before storing them. This will only invite mold growth. Makes sure you remove the stems and leaves so they don’t pull all the moisture from the root.
Then pack the carrots in leaves, sawdust, or moist sand in a bucket with a lid. Doing this, you can store carrots for months at a time and have them remain fresh and crisp for five to six months. This is how many people store large bulk carrots throughout the winter months.
Should I wash carrots before storing them?
I recommend washing carrots before you peel and use them, not before you store them. The only exception is if they’re absolutely covered in dirt because you just pulled them from your garden and they’re going to make a mess in your fridge. Even sitting in water the accumulations in that water can settle on the surface of the carrot. So always plan on washing any produce right before you use it.
If you are planning on long-term storage for your carrots do not wash them. That extra moisture will become trapped directly around the root and start to grow mold and cause it to rot. Leave the carrots as is, with the tops removed, and stored well-packed in sawdust or damp sand. This will keep them in a moist environment while preventing moisture to directly accumulate on the roots.
Again, once you are ready to use some, pull them out of storage, and then wash them off immediately before eating them or using them.
Why do my carrots get soft in the fridge?
The ultimate culprit behind carrots going soft is moisture loss. When a carrot’s cells lose their moisture they become less rigid and thus soften the entire root structure. So step one to prevent this is to remove anything that will suck away the moisture from the root. I.e. the greens. This is why garden-grown carrots often “go bad” quicker than store-bought carrots. Most store-bought carrots have already removed the tops for you.
The second step is to store them properly. It’s easy to think you can just toss a root vegetable in the crisper drawer and it’ll be fine, but carrots don’t like this. They need a moist environment. This is why for long-term storage you store them in damp sand, keeping them dark and enclosed.
And for short-term storage of up to one month, they can freely swim in a cold water bath in a sealed container in the fridge. Doing this should keep them fresh and crisp for up to a month in the fridge and up to 6 months in long-term storage.
Can I eat soft carrots?
Yes, soft carrots are still good to eat. If they are soft, but not rotten and slimy, they are perfect for anything that needs cooked carrots. When carrots are cooked, they soften anyway, and many times it is difficult to get them soft enough. Start with soft carrots and your cooked carrots will come out perfectly.
Also, carrots that have just started to go soft can possibly be resurrected by soaking them in a cold water bath. So it’s worth a shot if you’re using them in a fresh dish instead of cooking them.
Can I freeze raw carrots?
Freezing vegetables when they are at the peak of freshness can preserve nutrients lost when produce sits on store shelves or in your fridge past their prime.
If you want to just toss your carrots in the freezer, it’s best to vacuum-seal them or use a heavy-duty freezer ziplock bag with as much air removed as possible. Most people do not like to do this, however. Even while frozen, the natural enzymes in the carrots can still continue to degrade, reducing the pleasant flavors and changing the color.
The best way to freeze carrots is to blanch them first. Blanching is a fairly simple method of reducing the enzyme reactions in the root so once it is frozen it retains its nutritious flavors and colors.
Start by boiling a pot of water. Toss the peeled carrots into the boiling water for a couple of minutes. Then immediately remove them and fully submerge them in an ice-water bath. You can then place them in a freezer-safe container whole or chopped up and store them in the freezer until you need them.
Frozen carrots will stay good for up to one year, but as always the sooner you use them the better.
What can I do with carrot greens?
If you have carrots with greens that you cut off, wrap the greens in a damp paper towel and keep them in the fridge. They will have to be used quickly though, as they will wilt and turn bad after only about a week.
Besides vegetable broth, carrot greens can be used fresh in salads and a variety of fun recipes. They also make a great pesto! Carrot greens carry a considerable amount of nutrition in them that you do not want to go to waste.
They have six times the vitamin C that the roots have. They have a high amount of Vitamin A, and even have Vitamin K which the root does not have. You can also use them as a great source of calcium, potassium, fiber, and iron.
I hope these tips help you on storing your carrots and making them last a long time!
More Tips on How to Store Vegetables
How to Store Garlic For a Long Time
How to Store and Freeze Strawberries
How to Freeze Broccoli for Long-Term Use
Freezing Tomatoes for Year-Round Use
Store Potatoes Perfectly for a Long Time
How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month
How to Freeze Zucchini Without Blanching
How to Freeze Peaches
How To Store Onions Using Pantyhose
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