Preserve carrots from your garden harvest and you’ll enjoy them for months past their season. There are several ways you can store and preserve carrots and I have a few to share with you today.
There is nothing like a home grown carrot! They have a flavor that in incomparable to their store bought counterparts. Sweet, fresh and fairly easy to grow – I seem to grow more carrots every year! My first thought is always to eat fresh carrots before preserving them for something more long term. They are one of my favorite snacks, right out of the fridge. But sometimes the harvest is bigger and the fridge space gets limited…so we preserve carrots to keep them around for future enjoyment.
First off we should talk about how to keep your fresh carrots, well fresh.
In The Ground – Firstly, you can keep them in the ground, just make sure the carrot portion is covered and only the greens are above ground. I don’t do this because space is limited in my backyard garden and I am always looking to plant something somewhere.
Root Cellar – You can cellar them like any root vegetable but that can be an issue if you don’t have a root cellar.
In the Refrigerator – I have found that my fresh carrots keep best in the refrigerator. I brush off the soil, cut off the tops (so energy doesn’t keep leaving the carrot to keep the greens alive) and put them in a gallon sized zip bag with a paper towel. I change the paper towel once a week or every other week; and the carrots stay fresh for months this way.
But what if you don’t have space to store fresh carrots in a garden, cellar fridge? Well then you need to look at other ways to preserve carrots long term.
How to Preserve Carrots from Your Garden
- Dehydrate Carrots
A great option to preserve carrots is to dehydrate them for later use. You can slice them thin and use a dehydrator to dry them until they are practically crispy. Keep them stored in a cool dry place (airtight); and use your dehydrated carrots in soups, stews and even stir-fries. Dehydrated carrots can last up to a year in your pantry. Truth be told most recipes call for you to blanch your carrots before dehydrating them…but I never have. Be sure to follow your dehydrator’s instructions for vegetable dehydration. This is the dehydrator that I’ve been using the last 3 years.
- Canning Carrots
Another great option to preserve carrots is to can them. Because carrots are a low acid food you’ll definitely want to pressure can them. We love cooked carrots for a fast side dish with just a bit of butter on them. Delish! Check out Simply Canning’s instructions for canning carrots.
- Ferment Carrots
Fermented foods have wonderful health benefits, especially for your digestion. Fermented carrots are tasty – I love them as snacks. Fermented carrots will not last as long as dehydrated or canned carrots but I think they benefits for you health are good reason to make some. Cultures for Health has easy directions for fermented carrots.
- Pickled Carrots
Pickling is similar to fermentation but always done with an acid base; fermenting isn’t always. Pickled carrots are often canned in addition to pickling but do not have to be. Again, when not canned they don’t have the same time frame as a canned variety but they do seem to last a lot longer than fermented carrots. I especially like the spicy Mexican version of pickled carrots.
- Freeze Carrots
Probably one of the fastest methods to preserve carrots is to simply freeze them. I usually cut them in slices but you can freeze them whole. I recommend you make sure they are good and dry before putting them in a bag. My preference is to use a Food Saver – this seems to prevent freezer burn the best and I’ve used frozen carrots this way after a year. Considering freezing them with your peas and making your own veggie mix.
- Juice Your Carrots
Adding juiced carrots to your morning smoothie is wonderful. The juice is sweet and packed with vitamins like A, C, D. You can juice your carrots and then freeze them in ice cube trays (I like these) and then store the frozen cubes in plastic bags or Food Saver bags like your frozen carrots. They help thicken up a smoothie too!
So many choices…you’ll probably want to grow more carrots now! The Scarlet Nantes has become my favorite variety because it does so well here in Phoenix.