How to Store Carrots

Who here hates limpy carrots? *raises hand*

I spent years storing carrots the wrong way…sad to admit it.

But now I’ve learned the tricks to storing carrots for maximum shelf life, and I want to share them with you today.

Up first…

Should You Wash Carrots Before Storing? + Other Pre-Storage Prep Tips

No, you should only wash carrots right before using them. This prevents the addition of unnecessary moisture that may cause spoilage, and ensures that your carrots stay fresh and crisp. 

Before using or consuming carrots, you can either clean them by scrubbing the dirt off or peel them if you want. However, it is best to resist doing the latter since much of the goodness is in, or near, the skin.

When storing carrots, it is crucial to keep the roots cool and dry. Hence, immediately after harvesting your carrots or getting them from the market, you should remove the greens (leaves and stems) as they take away the moisture from the root. Then, seal the unwashed carrots in a zip top bag, and place them in the vegetable crisper or in the coolest part of the fridge. 

And don’t forget, in order to prevent your carrots from becoming bitter, you must remember to store them away from fruits and vegetables that release ethylene gas such as apples, avocados, pears, and potatoes; the gas makes the carrots go bad quickly.

Tips for Short-Term Storage 

When storing carrots, it is best to choose those with roots that are fairly straight, brightly-colored, firm, and smooth. 

Avoid buying carrots that are limp or rubbery, or those with excessive cracks. Furthermore, if the carrots have their green tops attached, you should cut them off before storing to prevent the carrots from wilting prematurely. 

On the other hand, if the tops are no longer attached, make sure that the stem is not dark in color since this indicates that the carrot is already old.

Proper storage of carrots will help them last up to a month. 

To do this, first, cut the greens off to prevent moisture loss from the roots. 

Then, put the carrots in a container and submerge them in clean water. Secure the lid on the container, and place it in the refrigerator. 

When storing your carrots in water, always remember to change the water every 4 to 5 days to prevent bacteria growth and spoilage.

How to Keep Carrots Fresh After Cutting

You can prevent your cut carrots from becoming excessively dry by either wrapping them up in damp kitchen paper, or storing them in cold water. 

The latter method requires a loosely-covered container to prevent contamination, but not an airtight container.

How to Store Peeled and Cut Carrots

Fresh peeled and cut carrots can be stored to last you two to three weeks by storing them in a closed container, completely covered in water. 

Another method is to keep them dry in a closed container or sealed plastic bag, or wrap them with plastic wrap or foil.

Do Carrots Need to Be Kept in the Fridge?

It is not necessary to keep carrots in the fridge but as this further increases their shelf life, it is not surprising that this is a common storage method for these root vegetables. 

With that said, here are some tips if you choose to store them in the refrigerator:

For whole and unpeeled carrots, do not wash them until you use them to prevent them from drying out. Remove any leaves or green stubble from the carrot to guarantee longer storage. Seal the carrots in a plastic bag, and make sure to remove any excess air inside it. Place it in the coolest part of the fridge. This will make your carrots last for up to 3 months.

For peeled carrots, wash and rinse them first to remove any germs or dirt. Then, keep them in a container filled with water, and place them in a cold area in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that the water needs changing every 4 to 5 days. 

With this method, your carrots will last for about a month. If you prefer a different method, you can choose to wrap the dry and clean carrots in plastic wrap or foil, and then place them in a plastic bag or dry container. This will keep your carrots fresh for around 2 to 3 weeks.

For cut carrots, wrap them in moist kitchen paper or submerge them in cold water in a covered, but not airtight, container. Storing cut carrots in the fridge this way will make them last for about a month.

How long will carrots keep in refrigerator?

If stored in the fridge, carrots will last for about 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on the method used as mentioned above.

How long do carrots last once outside the fridge?

When not refrigerated, yet still in a cool dry place, carrots can only last for about 3 to 5 days. 

How to Store Carrots Without Refrigeration 

Despite the increased shelf life that comes with storing your carrots in the refrigerator, there is also the danger of them drying out and rotting quickly. To prevent this and to be able to store carrots even without a fridge, here are some techniques you can use.

You can keep carrots fresh and crisp for more than a month with the use of plastic bags. To do this, cut off the greens first, and wash the carrots thoroughly.

Then, dry them by wiping them with a cloth or by simply air-drying them. Once they’re completely dry, store the carrots in a closed plastic bag. Be careful not to seal it too tight to allow moisture to escape.

Another option is to wrap the clean and dry carrots in aluminum foil. When doing this, make sure to leave extra space inside the foil to prevent moisture from accumulating.

You can also store your carrots by burying them in sawdust. First, make sure to remove all the greens from the carrot, and prepare a box or bucket with a layer of sawdust inside. Add the carrots on top, leaving enough space between them, then cover it with sawdust. 

With this method, you can store a lot of carrots depending on the depth of the box or bucket as you can just add a layer of carrots and a layer of sawdust every time until all your carrots are buried. Lastly, keep them in a cold place.

If you’re looking for longer term storage without refrigeration, consider dehydrating them (here’s how!).

Dried carrots are really good in soups and stews. You can also grind dehydrated carrots to form carrot powder, which has even more uses and mixes easily into most recipes.

Can You Store Carrots in the Sand? 

Yes, you can actually! Storing carrots in the sand is quite similar to burying them in sawdust.

Simply prepare a box or tub with a sand or compost covering the bottom layer. Then, place a layer of carrots on top of the sand, crown-to-tail, making sure that they do not touch. 

Cover the carrots with a layer of sand and repeat the steps until you’ve maximized the space of the box or tub. Place another layer of sand on top, and secure the lids. 

When kept in a location that is not damp, and with right temperatures, carrots stored in the sand can last until 3 weeks.

How to Store Carrots in the Freezer 

When storing carrots in the freezer, it is imperative to blanch them first. Blanching restricts the enzymes causing carrots to ripen and decay, ensuring that they preserve their flavor, color, and nutritional value. 

Blanching and freezing carrots is the best way to keep them for long-term storage as it allows the root vegetables to last up to a year. If you have a freezer and if you don’t expect to use your carrots anytime soon, you can use this method.

First, cut off the greens of the carrots and wash them well. Peeling is not necessary but you may do it if you like. Then, cut the carrots in the size you prefer—make sure that they are cut in nearly the same sizes for even cooking. 

Next, prepare a large pot about 2/3 full of water and set it to boil. Put carrots in the boiling water, and allow them to boil briefly. For sliced or julienned carrots, cook them for 2 to 3 minutes. For whole baby carrots, blanch them for 5 minutes.

After blanching the carrots, transfer them into a bowl (ideally with the same size as the large pot) filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them soak in the ice water for the same amount of time they were boiled. Then, drain the carrots well. 

For the final step, you may choose to pre-freeze them first or go right ahead to storing them in freezer bags. Pre-freezing is recommended when you are storing a large batch, and you don’t plan on using them at once. 

To do this, place the carrots in a baking sheet, making sure that they are not touching or overlapping to prevent them from sticking together. Then, keep the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. 

Once they’re done pre-freezing, remove the carrots from the baking sheet and store them in a resealable freezer bag or freezer-safe plastic container. If you choose to skip the pre-freezing process, which is an optional step, you can immediately transfer meal-sized portions in a resealable freezer bag, preferably vacuum sealed.

Best Way to Store Carrots from the Garden 

Garden carrots can be stored straight after harvest. When doing this, remove the greens and simply brush off the dirt from the roots. 

Then, place them under the sun for half a day to air dry, eliminating surface moisture. 

Finally, refrigerate them in a perforated plastic bag, or keep them in a cool, dry place with temperature ranging from 39°F to 46°F (4–8°C). Check the carrots every now and then for moisture buildup; if there is moisture inside the bag, consume or use the carrots immediately, or dry them with an absorbent towel.

Best Storage Carrot Variety 

There are many varieties of carrots that are great for storage. One of these is the Amarillo Yellow carrots which are easily distinguished for its bright neon yellow skin and inside, and grow to 7 to 8 inches long.  

This variety is perfect for eating right after harvest or baked in carrot cakes. Another good storage carrot is Kuroda carrots which are considered one of the sweetest carrots found in the market. Its high level of sweetness makes it best for juicing or consuming raw.

Red cored Chantenay carrots is a particularly excellent storage carrot. It has a smooth, bright orange skin and a deep or reddish orange core, and it grows to about 5 to 6 inches long. It can be eaten raw or grated in salads, and it becomes sweeter with time.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best way to store carrots for winter?

In areas with moderate temperatures or well above freezing, it is best to store them under cooler storage conditions (32–38°F or 0–3°C). 

How do I store baby carrots?

To store baby carrots, place them in a sealed container or re-sealable plastic bag, and store them in the fridge. You can also choose to wrap them with plastic wrap or foil.

Why do carrots go soft and how to make them crispy again? 

Carrots go soft when they lose moisture or if they’re starting to rot. To make them crispy again, simply peel them and let them sit in cold water in the fridge for roughly 8 hours.

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