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In Barb's Garden

...storing carrots during winter
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

October 26, 2008

Our carrots are still in the garden. We lift the crisp, sweet carrots as they are needed for the table. However, soon heavy frost will make this storage method impractical. So the question is: "How are carrots best stored over winter?"

It appears the "Nantes Type" carrots are highly recommended for winter storage.

As I have mentioned; Leave the carrot crop in the ground as late as possible after frost. Harvest only what you will use in a day or two.

Before the ground freezes solid: Lift the remaining carrots with spade, or fork. Shake off soil, and snap off the green tops right where they join the carrot. Do not wash the carrots meant for winter storage.

Use nice straight healthy carrots of good size for storage and bag up the forked, broken, nicked, small, or over sized ones to put in the refrigerator for immediate use in canning, juicing, or munching.

Then using a large bucket, clean washed sand, and water to dampen it. (Note; too much water in the sand will pool and make it too soggy.) Dampen the sand in a different container and add the sand to the storage bucket as needed. First put down a layer of sand, then place carrots side by side, over the sand layer. Take care that the carrots don’t touch. Then add another layer of sand to cover the first layer of carrots. Continue pressing carrots into the sand and adding sandy layers until near the top of the bucket. Put an an extra thick layer of sand on top, cover with a loose fitted lid. Load the bucket where it is to be stored. A root cellar is ideal, a cold basement room or porch can do the job until temperatures drop below freezing. When the weather turns too cold, throw some blankets over the buckets to keep them from freezing. Or move them to a slightly warmer location. For ideal storage, carrots prefer 32° to 40° F and 90 to 95% humidity.

For a short time some of the carrot crop can be stored in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper.

Carrots can also be stored in the ground with a thick layer of mulch to prevent freezing.

To freeze and store carrots in a deep freezer: They first need to be blanched. The blanching process consists of placing a small amount of vegetables in a large amount of rapidly boiling water. (About 1 lb. of vegetables to 1 gal. of water.) Peel and dice, or slice the carrots. Place carrots in a wire basket, and immerse into boiling water for 3 min. Agitate carrots, and start timing after water returns to a boil. Drain and chill quickly in ice water. Drain, package, and freeze immediately.

Carrots can also be dried for storage, following instructions for your dehydrator.

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