Once you take your carrots out of the ground, they must be stored appropriately. Now, I’m not saying you have to race against time, but the sooner you store them, the longer they will last. With that said, what exactly is the best way to store carrots once you have harvested them from your veggie garden?
Carrots are best stored in glass or plastic containers in the fridge. Remember to remove the greens before you put the carrots in the fridge, and try to avoid having them touch other vegetables. Do not use an airtight container if you keep them out of the fridge.
There are different ways of storing your carrots. My end goal is to help you feel less overwhelmed if it is your first time harvesting carrots. Plus, if you have just returned from the store with a bunch, this article will also help you. With that said, let’s jump into it.
Should You Remove The Greens When Storing Carrots?
Many people eat carrot greens. Whether or not eating the greens is a good idea is a topic for another article. However, it might leave you wondering whether or not you should remove the greens before you store your carrots.
It is always a great idea to remove carrot greens before storing them. The best time to cut the greens off is as soon as you have harvested the carrots from the veggie garden. It is best to cut the greens a few millimeters above the top of the carrot.
If you follow this advice, your carrots will last longer because carrot greens will continue to remove nutrients from the carrot as well as moisture, making the carrots dry up and spoil faster.
How Long Can Carrots Last?
How long your carrots will last depends on a few factors, so let’s break it down into scenarios. Remember, I’m assuming that you are immediately storing them after harvesting them:
- Raw carrots stored in the fridge will last up to four weeks.
- Raw carrots stored in the freezer will last up to one year.
- Cooked carrots will last for two to three days in the fridge. I do not recommend keeping them on the counter. I also do not recommend storing cooked carrots in the freezer.
- Raw Carrots stored at room temperature will last up to five days.
- Carrots that have been peeled and cut will last up to three weeks in the fridge. I do not recommend storing peeled and cut carrots at room temperature.
The Best Way To Store Carrots In The Fridge: 6 Easy Steps
If you store your carrots in the fridge, they can last up to four weeks, giving you ample time to decide precisely what you want to do with the carrots if you know you aren’t going to finish them. If something is preventing you from following one or more of these steps, you can improvise; don’t be afraid to use your imagination.
- Using scissors or a knife, cut the greens off the carrots. Remember to leave a few millimeters of the stem attached to the carrot.
- I like rinsing my carrots. Doing this gets rid of any dirt that may be left from when I took the carrots out of the ground.
- Make sure you pat the carrots dry. You don’t want them to have too much excess water before placing them in the fridge. It is best not to rub them dry as you might end up scraping some of the skin off.
- You can place the carrots in an airtight container, a sandwich bag, or even a glass jar. I find that the bag works the best because if you find a buildup of condensation, you can poke a few small holes in the bag.
- Place your carrots in the fridge. If you have a vegetable draw, that is perfect. If you do not, you want to find a spot at the back of the refrigerator, don’t forget about them, though.
- Over the 1st 24 hours in the fridge, you want to keep checking up on the carrots. I know it may seem silly, but if there is a buildup of condensation, you want to catch it early and see if you can make a plan to avoid it.
- Some carrots may go off before others. Be sure to remove any carrots as soon as they start growing mold.
If you have to store the carrots loose, you can do so, but it might affect how long they last. As an absolute last resort, you can tie the carrots together with a piece of string if you do not want to use plastic.
Should You Cut Carrots Before Storing Them?
When storing carrots in the freezer, it is always recommended that you cut them first; however, it is best to keep the skin on and leave the carrot whole when storing them in the fridge. It’s not necessary, but it does help increase the longevity of the carrots.
If you plan to use the carrots sooner rather than later, I see no harm in cutting them before storing them. It may even be more convenient.
Can You Store Carrots At Room Temperature?
If you want to store carrots outside the fridge, you need to consume them within five days. After three to five days, the carrots will start to go off. There are a few other essential things you need to remember when storing your carrots outside of the fridge:
- Do not store carrots in a sealed bag: If you try and store carrots in an airtight container or plastic bag, moisture will start to collect. The moisture will speed up the development of bacteria and mold, which causes the carrots to go off faster.
- Try not to let the carrots touch other fruits and vegetables. If your other vegetables and fruits start to spoil and cross-contaminate with the carrots, you could be left with moldy carrots.
- Store in a cool area: It is best if you try and avoid storing your carrots on the counter. Instead, you want to find a cool, dark, dry cupboard or vegetable rack.
If you are harvesting your own carrots, chances are you will have more than you need. You should store the carrots in the fridge, but there is nothing wrong with storing them outside of the refrigerator if you only have a limited amount.
How To Store carrots In The Freezer: 5 easy Steps
Freezing the carrots is a great idea if you think you won’t finish all of the carrots you harvested from your veggie garden within three or four weeks. However, it would be best to never place them directly in the freezer. Instead, follow my five easy steps:
Peel The Carrots
Once you take the frozen carrots out of the freezer and they start to thaw out, peeling them can become extremely tricky. Remember, placing your carrots in the freezer will affect their texture, and most of the time, carrots become softer. There is a good reason for this.
When something freezes, any liquid inside it will freeze, creating ice crystals. These crystals will cut the carrot from the inside. If you freeze them correctly, this process will be subtle, and you will barely notice it, but it will still happen.
Cut The Carrots
You can freeze whole carrots, but this will increase the time that it takes for them to thaw. Also, when you try and cook whole carrots while they are still frozen, it will take longer for the inside of the carrot to cook, while the outside might become too soft and overcooked.
I find that cutting carrots into one-inch-thick pieces is the best way to go about it. If you cut them any thinner, they might struggle to maintain their structural integrity during freezing and thawing.
Blanch The Carrots
Blanching may seem like a tedious process, but once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively simple. It is a necessary part of freezing carrots and almost any other vegetable. So, let’s look at how to blanch carrots before freezing them.
- Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil.
- While that is happening, fill a bowl with water and ice. The water should be cold.
- Once you see the water is boiling, throw your chopped-up carrots in.
- Let them boil for three minutes.
- Remove all of the carrots from the boiling water.
- Place them directly into the ice water.
- The carrots need to sit in the cold water for three minutes as well.
- Remove the carrots from the cold water and place them on a tray layered with paper towels.
- Pat the carrots until they are dry.
- Remove the paper towels, space all the carrots out evenly on the tray, and move on to the next step.
Pre-freeze The Carrots
Suppose you have been following the previous step; your carrots should be evenly placed on an oven tray or even a cookie tray. They should have no excess water on them as well.
Simply place the tray of carrots into the freezer. I recommend giving it at least three hours, but it depends on how thick you cut them.
You want to pre-freeze your carrots in a tray so that they freeze on their own. Placing them directly in a freezer bag and throwing them in the freezer will make them stick together. The carrots could also get freezer burn. Trust me; you want to avoid this.
Transfer The Carrots To A Freezer Bag
Once you have taken the tray of carrots out of the freezer, you need to transfer them into a freezer-friendly bag. I personally like to use zip-lock bags as it makes dealing with the carrots much easier whenever I need to use them.
I also like to label my carrots so that I know precisely when I froze them because, in a year, you might have forgotten when you froze them. Oh, I almost forgot, you can store carrots for up to a year in the freezer.
What Not To Do When Storing Carrots
So many people can tell you how to properly store your carrots, whether you bought them from a store or harvested them from your veggie garden. However, not many people will tell you what not to do as it is something that is easily overlooked.
I don’t want to do that, so here are my top tips on what not to do when storing your carrots.
Do Not Use An Airtight Container Out Of The Fridge
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use an airtight glass jar, plastic container, or even an airtight plastic bag. Using these is great for storing them in the fridge, but you need to worry about humidity and condensation if you store them on the counter or in your vegetable rack.
A buildup of condensation increases the speed at which bacteria grows, which can cause mold and a whole heap of other problems. Instead of your carrots lasting around a week, they might only last a day or two. Yes, mold can be that bad.
Do Not Leave Them Outside
Let’s say you are having a hectic day. Not only do you have to harvest your carrots from your veggie garden, but you have a lot of other responsibilities that you need to attend to.
Sometimes you can’t control that, but if you have to step away for an hour or two, try not to leave your carrot outside once they’ve been harvested. You will have a bunch of critters trying to score some free food. You will also have the sun beating down on the carrots.
Know When To Peel The Carrots
If you are freezing your carrots, you should peel them first. However, you should avoid peeling your carrots if you are storing them on the counter or if you’re storing them in the fridge. Remember, you want the protective layer that the skin offers.
Never Store Wet Carrots
As I’ve mentioned, you do want to rinse your carrots before storing them, but it is crucial to remove any excess water. If you do not remove the water, the carrots can become a breeding ground for bacteria, accelerating the deterioration of enzymes; thus, the carrots will go off.
Learn more about Storing Carrots
If you’re reading this after harvesting your carrots, I just want to say well done because it means you’ve got past the hard part. With that said, storing the carrots appropriately means you did not waste all of your time growing the carrots in the first place.
And for more on growing carrots in your veggie garden, check out these articles next: