If you’re a home gardener who loves growing your own vegetables, you may have found that it’s hard to use up all of the products of your harvest.
Sometimes it feels like you’ve grown enough carrots, for example, to feed a small village, and letting your hard work go to waste can be heartbreaking.
If all of this sounds like you, keep reading and learn how to store and keep your newly harvested carrots fresh.
How Long They’ll Last
The length of freshness depends not only on where you store carrots but also in what form. For example, raw carrots can stay fresh for up to four weeks in the fridge when stored properly.
Sliced or chopped carrots can also be stored in the fridge for about two to three weeks.
How to Store Carrots in the Freezer
One great way to prolong freshness and avoid waste is by freezing carrots. This is also a great option as it makes their cooking time quicker.
Remove the tops, and wash and peel the carrots. You can leave small carrots whole but cut the larger ones into thin slices, strips, or quarter-inch cubes.
The best way to store carrots in the freezer is by blanching them. This method of scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a few minutes is usually necessary for freezing any vegetable.
Without getting too technical, blanching helps prevent loss of flavor, color, and texture by stopping enzymatic activity.
After boiling or steaming your carrots, make sure to let them cool. Next, drain the water and package them into a tightly sealed container or bag. Now, your carrots are ready for freezer-fresh long-term carrot storage!
How to Store Carrots in the Refrigerator
There are a few ways to store carrots in the fridge to optimize their freshness. If you have a few extra minutes, taking the time to store them properly will help you prolong the life of your crop.
First, you should always cut off the greens of the carrot. Skipping this step allows the greens to soak up the moisture from the root (or part of the carrot we eat) and causes wilting.
Storing carrots in water has been found to improve their storage significantly. If you’re using peeled carrots, fill an airtight jar with cold water and place your carrot peels fully submerged. Seal the jar and store it in the fridge, making sure to rinse and replace the water every 4-5 days.
Rather than fully submerging them, you can wrap whole carrots in a wet paper towel and then in an airtight container.
Make sure you’re storing carrots in the coolest part of the fridge.
Pro tip: keeping your carrots away from fruits that produce ethylene gas (like apples) also helps prevent spoiling.
How to Store Carrots on the Counter
Storing carrots on the counter should be a last-resort option, as it’s really hard to prolong their freshness outside of cold temperatures. However, we know that fridge/freezer space can be hard to come by, so here are a few tips for counter storage.
If placed far away from other fruits and vegetables in a cool, dry area, carrots can last for up to five days unrefrigerated.
Do not place your carrots in a plastic bag, as it this causes increased moisture retention and therefore increased chances of mold growth.
Again, make sure that the green parts are cut off from the carrots, and make sure not to wash them before storing them (instead, wash them right before use).
Store carrots in an airtight container, and keep an eye on their color and texture to ensure they have not gone bad before enjoying them.
How to Make Pickled Carrots
Pickling is an excellent method for long-term carrot storage. Once pickled, jarred, and stored in the fridge, your carrots can last up to a few months.
Using apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and some mustard seeds, you can make Quick-Pickled Carrots. All you need to do is combine and boil these ingredients and pour the mixture over the carrots into a resealable container/jar. Once cooled, refrigerate and let soak for at least two hours or up to one month.
If you want to use a pickling kit for your carrots or other veggies, check out our blog post for rankings and information on The 4 Best Pickling Kits.
How to Know If Your Carrots Have Gone Bad
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our vegetables don’t make it as long as we hope. Here are some ways to know if your carrots have gone bad:
You can often tell your carrots are no longer good just by looking at them. Black/dark spots throughout the root can indicate that they’re starting to lose their freshness.
However, these dark spots can sometimes be cut off before using the carrots, as they may not have started to rot yet.
If you see any green spots or fuzzy-looking mold growing on your carrots, do not eat them! This is a sign that they’ve definitely gone bad and should be thrown away. Mold can penetrate deep into your vegetable, so don’t try to cut around it.
You can also physically feel your carrots to know if they’ve gone bad. Softening of the carrot is the first sign that they’re losing its freshness. They’ll soon become floppy (but still usable) and, eventually, turn slimy. Once slimy, they should be thrown away.
Another easy way to know if your carrots are bad is their smell. Fresh, whole carrots should have no odor at all. However, rotting carrots are pungent and give off a powerful smell.
How to Use Stored Carrots
Whether you’ve frozen, refrigerated, or pickled your carrots, there are various exciting and delicious ways to use your fresh vegetable.
Frozen Carrot Recipes
One way to use frozen carrots is to make these Crinkle Cut Carrot Bites. Besides the sweet and salty deliciousness, the best part about them is that there’s no need to thaw your carrots! With only five minutes of prep, and 30 minutes of oven caramelization, you can easily make and enjoy this flavorful and delicious dish.
If you have a bit more time to let your carrots thaw, another great way to use this frozen vegetable is by making a nutritious Carrot Juice. Using thawed frozen veggies gives a better juicing extraction than fresh vegetables, making this a great choice! Add your favorite herbs, fruits, or other vegetables to customize your juice to your taste and nutrition needs.
Fresh/Refrigerated Carrot Recipes
The recipes you can make using your refrigerated carrots are endless. If you’re into a classic savory side dish, try these Garlic Parmesan Roasted Carrots. Using the classic combination of garlic and parmesan for some salty dimension, this recipe adds a twist by using Panko breadcrumbs for an additional crunch.
Whether enjoyed as a side dish for your dinner party or as a flavorful afternoon snack, this recipe will surely be a hit.
For the one with a sweet tooth, using your fresh carrots is perfect for creating a Homemade Carrot Cake. Avid baker or not, this recipe is quick and easy to do.
Without the need for fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients, creating this carrot cake is basically a no-brainer. (Not to mention, it’s finished with a rich and decadent cream cheese frosting, YUM!)
Pickled Carrot Recipe
If you pickle your carrots for storage, you may wonder what to do with them now.
Shredded and pickled carrots add a zesty topping to your favorite salad, tacos, sandwiches, or charcuterie board.
You can also use them as the base ingredient, as in this Spicy Pickled Carrot Salad recipe. You can also mix pickled carrots with chile-garlic paste, lime juice, chopped peanuts, and scallions for a light, tangy, and unique appetizer or snack.
Time to Start Storing!
Now that you know how to store carrots and keep them fresh, it’s time for storing carrots! Whether you’ve just completed a harvest, or are about to start your carrot gardening journey, hopefully, these tips will help you get the most out of your crop.
If you want to learn more about carrot varieties or how to plant your own, visit our Carrots page on the website. With tips, tricks, and even more recipes, you’re sure to be on your way to becoming a carrot expert.