Carrots – root cellar style (with or without an actual root cellar)
Benefits: Excellent source of Vitamin A. Very good source of biotin, vitamin K, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, Vitamin C.
What you need: box/bin (a box or Rubbermaid plastic bin will work), clean sand* (not contaminated with pests, pesticides, droppings, etc) and carrots
- Prep Carrots
- Cut off carrot tops, leaving only 1 inch of green attached to the carrot
- Wipe off any excess dirt – you do not need to clean them until ready to use
- Be sure the carrots are dry
- Prep storage container
- Place 1-2 inches of moist sand on the bottom of the container.
- Layering carrots
- lay carrots in the sand, making sure they do not touch. Top with 1 inch of moist sand, then repeat layering carrots and sand.
- If using a plastic container, drill small holes in the lid to make sure the bin has adequate ventilation. Make sure the holes are smaller than a pencil eraser (mice can fit through a hole the size of an eraser).
- Check occasionally – make sure the sand is moist and nothing else is consuming your carrots.
* Our volunteer Henry suggests storing carrots in sawdust. When using sawdust make sure it is dry – do not add moisture to it.
Store in cool (32 – 40oF, moist (90-95% humidity), dark, rodent-free place (or check carrots periodically to make sure a non-human is trying to eat your food!).
Store separately from fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas i.e. apples, pears, potatoes
Translation: root cellar or unfinished basement should work. If your basement is not humid, keep an eye on the sand and make sure it stays moist.
Shelf life: can last up to 6 months – yes, that’s most of the winter!
Other: Freezing if you know the portion of carrots you need for recipes, they can always be prepared, then frozen. i.e. my family and I are in love with carrot souffle (I usually alter the recipe slightly and use ~ ½ the sugar called for when I use fall carrots and I use lowfat yogurt instead of sour cream). So, I cooked, pureed, cooled and froze the portion of carrots needed for the recipe. I freeze them in plastic freezer ziploc bags and make sure they are frozen flat to save space. For example, I bought 10# of carrots, cooked them, pureed them, then divided the carrots in 5 portions (the recipe calls for 2# of carrots). I’m hoping that will take me through December (fingers crossed)!
Not sure what to do with the Carrot Greens, check out this Carrot Top post.