Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Carrot Solution

I'd really love to hear if any of you have good luck storing carrots.  We've failed every time we've tried.  Next year, I'm counting on my future pressure canner to give me another option.  I've read that you can just leave the carrots in the ground over winter (mulching thickly) and dig them up as you need them.  I take issue with this method.

1) I don't want to have to bundle up, head out in the cold, wield a shovel, and wash off muddy carrots each time I need a few for supper.  I'm a bit lazy.

2) I'm not good at wielding a shovel and would be even less good at it if the ground is almost frozen.  I'm a weakling.

3) I don't think that most of our carrots would last that long.  Many of them are perfect (without worm holes or blemishes), but a lot of them aren't, so I imagine that much of what we'd dig up wouldn't be very good any way come January or February.  I'm no dummy.

So, in spite of all this we continue to grow carrots because we use tons of them in our tomato sauce, we like to eat them raw and we like carrot soup.  This past weekend, Jamey dug up most of our remaining carrots for me and I sat outside with the muddy lot of them peeling and cutting out the bad spots while trying not to get grossed out by the worms and grubs and their combined poop.  Then I washed them well and made enough soup to freeze some for later use this fall and winter.

It took a good part of my afternoon but was way better than wielding a shovel in the dead of winter. Pin It

14 comments:

  1. You are SO not lazy!! Trust me, I've seen your pantry. :-)

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  2. You could roast an oven load and then freeze them for winter stews, perhaps?

    My dad digs a hole in the garden and buries the beets and carrots with sawdust and such, covers it with a board and then tops it off with dirt, straw, etc. Kind of like a makeshift root cellar. I think he says it works.

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  3. Here are three ways that I have stored carrots. The last one is my favorite!
    Your carrot's enemy is dirt. That's where the "bad" stuff is that makes them rot (unless you keep the carrots "alive" all winter (option 3).
    1. Wash them in your washing machine on a full load setting with 1/4 cup bleach. The bleach neutralizes the bacteria. You still have to get most of the dirt off first. This way is good for massive amounts of carrots, but still needs cold storage (fridge) for best results and I don't like using bleach.
    2. Remove top 1/2 inch of carrot, peel, and store in lightweight plastic bags in fridge crisper drawer. If you have the fridge space, this is foolproof. All the bad spots and dirt can be removed and carrots keep for months, but it's a lot of hands-on work.
    3. Brush off as much dirt as you can with out washing (helps if your carrot bed is a little on the dry side). Get some sand and some 5 gallon buckets. Layer the carrots and sand, beginning and ending with sand. Basically try to keep the carrots separated from each other with thin layers of sand. Store the buckets in a place that is cold, but will never freeze. The carrots will start to grow again by spring, but if you peel off the hairs that grow back, they're just fine! This was very successful for me last year. I even replanted one and grew carrot seeds. If you're using a heritage variety, you can save your own seeds this way!
    Well that was long, but I too have been searching for the best and QUICKEST way to deal with all those carrots at the end of the summer!

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  4. How tasty Jane-grub poop!I wish I had a solution,but since I DON'T GARDEN LIKE THE REST OF YOU I'M A DUD THERE.I'M SRE SOMEONE LIKE MOMMA PEA WILL KNOW AND SPEAKING OF I HOPE THERE NO WHERE NEAR THOSE FIRES UP BY ELY MN AND THATS WHY SHE HASN'T BEEN BUSY ON HER BLOG. SHE IS PROBABLY JUST BUSY WITH THE HOUSE.
    I DON'T EVEN KNOW ALL THE DETAILS OF THE FIRE SO I probably should not have said ant thing I'm gonna goggle it and see how bad the fire is. I just heard about as passing my hubby;s bedroom-he watches fox all day!

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  5. I haven't done this for ages, but I remember my Dad storing carrots when I was a kid. He had a small root cellar (he built it with the house) and he stored carrots by putting them in layers separated by sand. He used bushel baskets, but I imagine you could use any kind of container that can breathe a bit - maybe plastic bins with drainage holes? You don't want them completely enclosed or the moisture will cause them to rot. I also remember he didn't wash them, just dug them, let them lie on the ground for a bit to sort of dry the dirt, then brushed them off a bit with his hands and put them in the sand. Boy does that bring back some memories! Lost my dad in 2000 when he was 96-1/2 years old - I miss the heck out of him and nearly every day there is a question I would ask him because he seemed to know everything!
    Hope this helps.
    Chris S.

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  6. ours overwinter just fine but my climate is a far cry from yours. The pressure canner is most likely your best option. Robin in SoCal

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  7. I like to freeze carrots or pressure can them. The frozen carrots are good in soup and pressure canned they are good also. I will be trying to freeze shredded carrots this year as well.

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  8. I have heard that some people store them in sand in a container such as a rubbermaid, in a cool dark place, over the winter. Once you get your pressure canner, you will have the ultimate solution !

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  9. I freeze some carrots, but I also dehydrate some to add to stews, roasts, etc. I've never canned any though.

    My grandfather did a make shift root cellar pretty much the same as described (here in NC) and kept veggies in it. I don't know if they lasted all winter or not though.

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  10. I'm planning to shred and freeze carrots this year to see how it works. Then next year, I'm thinking that I'll get some storage bins filled with sand and do the carrots and potatoes that way... I've always failed in the past... so if you find a solution, I'd love to hear about it!

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  11. My book "Preserve It" describes a method to layer with clean dirt in a cardboard box in your garage...seems rather intensive for a shelf life it describes as 2 months. I don't grow carrots, but I have purchased dehydrated carrots from my local "Amish" store and used in soups and stews successfully. I would probably slice and freeze them if we grew them (I don't have a pressure canner either)Have you thought about freezing cream of carrot soup now for use this winter?

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  12. We just freeze ours every year. After washing and peeling, I chop them up for soups. Then I store them in ziplocs in 1 c. portions, bc a lot of recipes call for that amount. Then come winter, I just dump them in. Hasn't failed us yet.
    Bec

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  13. Tupperware makes these containers that have little air vents that you set according to what produce you are storing. They developed them with a university and they do extend the life of my veggies. I store carrots in them all winter. I just trim the tops and toss them in, bits of dirt and all. The Tupperware stuff is expensive, and I usually avoid plastic as much as possible, but these produce storage things have been well worth it.

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