Did you know carrots can make you see better in the dark?
Nah, we’re kidding! However, there is some truth to this popular old wives’ tale. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is a key source of vitamin A. This particular vitamin is essential for healthy skin and eyesight. That’s why our grandmas always insisted that we eat this crunchy, orange veggie.
There are many more reasons why you should stock up on carrots. Their firm texture and the mildly sweet flavor is a great addition to both sweet and savory dishes. You can cook them in a stock or eat them raw as a crudité. Carrots are also one of the best snacks to munch on, especially when you are trying to shed extra pounds.
However, keeping a bag of carrots fresh can be a big challenge. They can easily lose their moisture and turn rubbery in less than 1 week.
To make them last longer, the first step is to chop off the leafy part as soon as you bring them home. The leaves continue to draw water from the root and dry them out. If you wish to use the leaves, you can store them separately in a ziplock baggie.
That being done, the next step is to preserve the root. For this, we bring you two methods to store carrots for a short-term (1 to 2 weeks) and two methods for a longer duration (up to 1 year).
Choose the method that serves your need, and pat yourself on the back for not wasting food.
- # Short-Term Storage
- Method 1: Refrigerate in Water
- Method 2: Refrigerate in Paper Towels
- # Long-Term Storage
- Method 1: Blanching
- Method 2: Pickling
# Short-Term Storage
Method 1: Refrigerate in Water
Carrots can be peeled and stored in water in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. If you’ve used what you need for cooking and want to save up your extra stock for a healthy munching snack, this is the easiest way to preserve carrots for a short duration.
The water helps carrots maintain their moisture and crunchy texture. You just have to change the water regularly. Leaving them longer in the same water can turn them slimy or cause them to spoil or develop mold growth.
Things you’ll need:
- Carrots, peeled
- Airtight container
- Distilled water
Single-Step Method: Place the peeled carrots in a container, add water and refrigerate
- Wash your carrots thoroughly and scrape off their skin.
- Place the carrots in an airtight container.
- Fill up the container with distilled water. The carrots should be completely submerged in the water.
- Put the lid on the container and pop it into the refrigerator.
Note: It is preferable to use distilled water, as normal water may contain impurities that can lead to spoilage.
The carrots will stay good for 1 to 2 weeks, provided that you change the water every 4 or 5 days.
Method 2: Refrigerate in Paper Towels
Another way to keep your carrots fresh is to wrap them in damp paper towels and refrigerate them in a ziplock bag. The damp paper towel will provide just the right amount of water to the carrots to retain their flavor and texture for 1 to 2 weeks.
Things you’ll need:
- Ziplock bag
- Paper towel
- Water in a spray bottle
Single-Step Method: Wrap the carrots in a paper towel & dampen before refrigeration
- Snip off any leafy part of the carrots. You need not peel off the skin.
- Make sure your carrots are completely dry.
- Wrap 3 or 4 carrots in a paper towel. If you have more carrots, prepare several batches.
- Spray 1 or 2 squirts of water on the wrapped paper towel. It should be barely damp, not wet. Do this for all the batches.
- Place each batch in a ziplock bag.
- Squeeze out all the air and seal the bag.
- Place the bag in the crisper of your refrigerator until needed to store carrots.
- Check the paper towel every other day. If it feels too damp, replace it with a fresh paper towel.
Your carrots should stay good for 1 to 2 weeks using this method.
# Long-Term Storage
Method 1: Blanching
If you have a surplus growth of carrots in your kitchen garden and you’re wondering what to do with all of them, you can preserve them for up to 1 year using the blanching technique. Blanching helps kill the enzymes responsible for decaying the veggies. Young and tender carrots serve best for the blanching method, as the mature ones can become woody.
Things you’ll need:
- Carrots, sliced
- Ice cubes
Step 1. Cook sliced carrots in boiling water
- Fill a large saucepan with filtered water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then add the sliced carrots.
- Let it simmer on high for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Let the carrots stay in the warm water until you prepare your ice water bath.
Step 2. Transfer the carrots to ice water
- Put a handful of ice cubes in a large bowl.
- Add chilled water. The water should be enough to submerge the carrot slices completely.
- Strain out the sliced carrots in a colander.
- Immediately transfer the carrots to the ice water.
- Let them sit for 1 to 2 minutes in the cool water. This will stop the cooking process and prepare your carrots for freezing.
Step 3. Store the carrots in an airtight container in the freezer
- Strain out the carrot slices from the cold water.
- Place the slices in an airtight container and pop it into your freezer until needed.
- You can add the slices directly to your soups and stir-fries. You need not thaw them first, as this will cause the carrots to become soft and rubbery.
Your carrots should stay fresh for up to 1 year using this method. In fact, you can also use this method to blanch and freeze celery for preservation.
Method 2: Pickling
Pickling is another great way to store carrots for up to 1 year or even longer. Pickled carrots are super tangy and tasty, and serve well as a condiment with curries.
Pickling involves preserving the vegetable in salt and an acidic base, commonly vinegar, to curb any bacterial or fungal growth and keep your veggies good for a really long time.
Things you’ll need:
- Carrots, sliced (2-inch long pieces) – 1 cup
- Coarse salt – 1 tablespoon
- Rice wine vinegar – 1 cup
- Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Chili pepper flakes – ½ teaspoon
Step 1. Coat the sliced carrots with salt
- Put 1 cup of carrot slices in a large bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of coarse salt.
- Toss them so that all the carrot pieces are well-coated with the salt.
- Set it aside for 1 hour. The salt will make the carrot slices lose their water content.
Step 2. Prepare the preserving mixture
- Pour 1 cup of rice wine vinegar into a saucepan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to it.
- Add ½ a teaspoon of chili pepper flakes as well. You can add more to suit your taste.
- Keep stirring while you cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
Step 3. Add the mixture to the carrots & store them in a jar
- Use a pair of tongs to transfer the carrot slices to a glass jar. Ensure that the jar is properly sterilized to prevent mold growth. Discard the water left behind in the bowl.
- Pour the prepared vinegar mix over the carrot slices.
- Seal the jar shut and let it marinade for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
- Store the pickled carrots at room temperature or in your refrigerator.
With this method, your pickled carrots will stay good for 1 year or more. Just keep an eye on them. If you notice a white layer forming on the carrots, discard them immediately.
- If you live in a cold climate, you can store the carrots underground in the soil. However, do this for the tender ones only, as fully matured carrots will continue to grow and turn woody.
- You can also store carrots under the sand for 5 to 7 months.
- If you want to learn how to preserve other kitchen ingredients including how to store fresh herbs like mint for up to 3 months or preserve garlic for up to 6 months. You can also learn how to store everyday kitchen ingredients like potatoes for up to 1 year and how to preserve onions in a variety of ways.